Mission and Learning Outcomes

Mission

The study of history provides a solid liberal arts education that addresses fundamental questions about the nature of humanity, of society, of past experiences, and of the present.

Student Learning Outcomes

In order to create the kind of student-centered, rigorous, and useful education for our students, the department has four main goals:

  1. Students gain a broad overview of diverse content and theory in the field of history. In order to obtain this broad overview, all majors are required to take (or bring in acceptable AP credit) for both halves of the U.S. History and World Civilization surveys. In addition, students take at least one upper division (300-level) course in U.S. History, European History, and World History. All majors also take a course entitled The Historians Craft (HIST 250) which explores the history of the study of history.
  2. Students master the skills of historical research, analysis, and writing. All of our history courses require significant research and writing projects. Students gain additional practice in these skills in History 250 and are able to display their mastery in their senior thesis (HIST 452), an original piece of historical scholarship of approximately 25 pages.
  3. Students work together cooperatively and creatively. History courses are often characterized by small group discussions, presentations, and projects. This goal is mandated on a departmental level in The Historian’s Craft and Senior Seminar classes. In those classes, students read and critique each other’s proposals and multiple drafts of papers. In addition, co-curricular opportunities for student interaction are important, particularly the activities of the History Student Association (open to all students) and Phi Alpha Theta (the history honor society).
  4. Students and faculty are actively involved in research and the public presentation of their work. We believe that students learn by not only hearing about the past, but by observing professional historians at work, and by doing historical research themselves and presenting their findings. As such, the members of the History department faculty are involved actively in their own research and involvement in professional societies. Students present their research findings in class, many of our senior theses are published on-line, and we encourage students to present their research findings at student or professional conferences.