Teaching

I’ve always loved being in a classroom. Back in grad school I didn’t get a TA-ship, but I had a great experience teaching test prep for The Princeton Review. That was a great place to work on developing a teaching style that could engage high school kids who had already been in school all day, didn’t want to be there, and didn’t get a grade. Since I got my Ph.D., I’ve been teaching college-level courses, and I also do private instruction for groups who want to learn more about casino-related topics.

I am currently a part time instructor for the Department of History and the Honors College at UNLV. For History, I teach HIS 101, the US from colonization to 1877; HIS 102, the US from 1877 to today; and HIS 369, the history of casinos. For Honors, I’ve taught a number of seminars, including gambling & the media, “Faces of Las Vegas” (a thematic look at Vegas history), and non-fiction writing.

Here are a few syllabi from recent classes:

And here is the ad for HIS 369. I’m still working on the syllabus.

A few classes I want to teach but haven’t had the chance to are: the history of space exploration; cults and conspiracies in US history; the social history of jazz; and the history of professional wrestling. Someday.

If you want a sample of my lecturing style, here is me from a few years ago on C-SPAN’s “Lecture in History” series: Birth of the Las Vegas Strip. I’ve hopefully improved since then.

Just morbidly curious about what I sound like when I talk about gambling history? I’ve got a YouTube channel where most of the videos are me pitching my books. Here’s me talking about a chapter of Roll the Bones:

I teach other places, as well. I’ve been a contributing faculty member and lecturer for Cass Business School’s Strategic Marketing in Las Vegas elective for six years and have customized courses for private business groups. I’ve also given my share of guest lectures. Subjects I teach include the history of casinos globally, the history of Las Vegas, advantage play and cheating, casino crime, organized crime, current trends in Las Vegas, and probably a few other things.

My business-related seminars and courses are mostly to casino industry groups and people outside the industry who want to know more about it. I talk about many topics (see below) and my understanding is rooted in an appreciation for the history of casinos. I like to share that with people at all levels of expertise in the industry; there is no reason that customers should know more about the history of the business than career professionals.

Seminars and courses range in duration from 30 minutes to six weeks (not continuous; even I don’t have that much to say. About 3 hours/week). Here are some recent titles:

  • “What in the World is the Casino Business?”
  • “Gambling History for Casino Professionals”
  • “Hand to Hand Risk Management”
  • “Inside the Minds of Table Games Managers”
  • “An Introduction to the Casino Industry”
  • “History and Development of Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports Technology, Policy, and Law”
  • “How Jay Sarno’s Wild Life Changed Las Vegas”
  • “Kefauver’s Impact on Las Vegas”
  • “Getting the Mob Out: How Changes in Nevada Law Helped Push Organized Crime Out of Nevada Gaming”
  • “Rollers High and Low: The History of Gambling and Las Vegas”

For something less specialized, I give two presentations most frequently to visiting convention groups. Seven Things You Should Know About Casinos is a good introduction to Vegas that answers some frequently-asked questions. It’s ideal for general convention groups meeting in Las Vegas and is a good, light breakfast or lunch keynote. How Bugsy Blew It: Leadership Lessons from a Las Vegas Legend frames the life (and death) of Bugsy Siegel, builder of the Flamingo casino, as a cautionary tale for leaders inside and outside the boardroom. It is good for groups seeking a management/leadership talk.

I would love to talk with your group, and I am probably cheaper than people who do this full time (and at least 80% as entertaining and informative). Contact me if you are interested in discussing the possibilities.