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Juan Santamarina

Associate Professor

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: History


Email: Juan Santamarina
Phone: 937-229-2834
Website: Visit Site


  • Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1995


Dr. Santamarina was hired by the University of Dayton in 1994 to teach in the University's general education program and to teach upper level courses in Latin American history and diplomatic history. In 1996, he spent the year as a visiting professor teaching Latin American history in Spanish at the University of Puerto Rico. In 1997, he returned to the University of Dayton.

His pedagogical philosophy is that good teaching involves the transformation of knowledge through a variety of means, not only through distinctive coursework but also through mentoring and advising, challenging students to critical and creative thought, and challenging students to develop precise research and analytical and communication skills. Moreover, he believes that good teaching is always informed by strong scholarship and research and is always in a perpetual state of improvement and development, and that a course is never "done" or "perfect." In essence, Dr. Santamarina feels that teaching is the process of challenging himself to stretch ever further in his intellectual training in order to better guide and direct the student to self-learning. He asserts that his job is to provide the guidance, motivation and tools for the student to learn not only the discipline but lifetime skills, to educate the whole person. In this regard, Dr. Santamarina's teaching involves many things: creative use of technology, enthusiastic, passionate, and engaging lecturing, interactive discussion, creative assignments and testing, effective use of secondary material, and effective use of primary documents, films, writing, etc.

Philosophically, Dr. Santamarina believes that research and scholarship are essential elements in his mission as a faculty member at the University. Scholarship is essential not only in advancing and integrating knowledge, but also it is essential in informing teaching and developing intellectual capacity. Moreover, he believes that scholarship, like teaching, is a lifelong endeavor, since learning can never be complete, then scholarship also can never end.

Faculty perspective

"My primary role as a faculty member at the University of Dayton is to help fulfill both the mission of the University and of the Department of History. To that end, my teaching, scholarship, and service as a historian are focused on the greater University mission of educating the whole person, in the Marianist and humanist tradition, by engaging students to understand and analyze our world and our history and by helping students master lifetime skills of analysis, thoughtful and creative criticism, and effective communication. It is my responsibility to ensure the education of the whole person through outstanding teaching informed by significant research and scholarship, effective service to the community and the profession, and thoughtful criticism of society.

As humanists we have a particularly good opportunity to engage students to understand the rich complexities of our world and to appreciate the diverse histories we share. As historians we also have the unique opportunity to teach historical concepts and processes that will contribute to a mature and thoughtful analysis of our world. As a historian of Latin America and the Caribbean, I have a tremendous responsibility to teach the history of such a large and increasingly important part of our world that is often ignored and usually poorly understood. Moreover, given the fact that demographically Hispanics are the fastest growing minority in the United States, better and more comprehensive knowledge and understanding of Latin America has become increasingly important. The better we know, appreciate, and understand each other the better world we can create. Therefore, my personal mission as a teacher closely matches the mission of the University and the department: as the department's mission statement argues, "It is through this knowledge of the past that students will develop criteria for mature judgement so necessary for their participation as citizens of a democratic society."

Research interests

  • Latin America
  • Cuba and the Caribbean
  • Business and economic history

Selected publications

"The Cuba Company and Eastern Cuba's Economic Development, 1900-1959." Essays in Business and Economic History, Spring 2001.

"The Cuba Company and the Expansion of American Business in Cuba, 1898-1915." Business History Review, Harvard Business School, Summer 2000.

"Creating Intimacy: The Cuba Company and Cuba." Revista de Cayey, University of Puerto Rico, Fall 1996.