Professor of History
Phone: (805) 565-6787
Office Location: Deane Hall 207
Only by appointment
Colonial and Revolutionary, Eastern Woodlands
Native American, Religion in America, Western Civilization
For the third time in his career, history professor Rick Pointer has received the teaching award for the Social Sciences. (May, 2014) As one colleague observes, "Dr. Pointer is a wonderful man who has been a role model for me in a variety of ways. He loves students as a historian, wanting them to love his subject. He loves them as a pastor, caring for them in every aspect of their lives. And he loves them as a Christian, desiring that they become substantial people who will bless the world."
A graduate of Houghton College, Richard Pointer earned his M.A. and Ph.D. at The Johns Hopkins University. His research on colonial New York culminated in a book, Protestant Pluralism and the New York Experience; A Study of Eighteenth-Century Religious Diversity, published by Indiana University Press. Professor Pointer's book Encounters of the Spirit: Native Americans and European Colonial Religion was published in 2007. His other publications include essays in The New England Quarterly and the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, and an award-winning article in New York History. Dr. Pointer has been elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. He has also served as the president and vice-president of the Conference on Faith and History, an organization of Christian historians, and has served as an associate editor for the Christian Scholar’s Review. Dr. Pointer has taught at Christian liberal arts colleges since 1980. He has been at Westmont since 1994, where he has principally taught American history. He has been recognized for his teaching with the Westmont Teacher of the Year Award for Social Sciences in 1997, 2003 and 2014. Dr. Pointer has recently been selected as the first recipient of the newly established Fletcher Jones Foundation Endowed Chair in Social Science. In addition to his teaching on campus, Dr. Pointer and his wife, Barbara, have been leaders of Westmont’s Europe Semester five times. The Pointers have three daughters and all three of them are Westmont alumni. Dr. Pointer served as the Provost of Westmont for a few years before returning to the classroom. Currently he is on sabbatical for the 2014-2015 school year.