Dr. Tara Mitchell Mielnik began teaching history courses at Cumberland University, first as an adjunct in 2013, and then as full-time faculty in 2017. Her areas of emphasis include Public History and 20th century American History, with specific research interests in the built environment, the homefront in World War I, and the Depression and New Deal. Courses that she offers at Cumberland include Emergence of Modern America; Environmental History; Introduction to Public History; Museum Studies; American Crime and American Sports History, among others. Dr. Mielnik began serving as Program Director in History in 2020.
Prior to coming to Cumberland, Dr. Mielnik was a historic preservation specialist with the Metropolitan Nashville Davidson County Historical Commission for fifteen years and served previously at the Tennessee Historical Commission and the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. She currently serves on the Tennessee State Review Board for the National Register of Historic Places.
Dr. Mielnik combined work in historic preservation, New Deal history, and environmental history with her book, New Deal, New Landscape: The Civilian Conservation Corps in South Carolina State Parks (University of South Carolina Press), and is a contributor in Tennessee’s Experience in World War I (University of Tennessee Press), and the Tennessee Encyclopedia.
Dr. Mielnik is a frequent invited presenter to local historical groups as well as at regional and national conferences. In her classes, she strives to connect local historic events and buildings to larger national historical themes, and to connect to history to other disciplines. She serves as the faculty advisor for Pi Gamma Mu, the social science honor society, and is active in the campus chapters of Phi Alpha Theta and Omicron Delta Kappa.