The History Department offers a BA degree and a minor in History.
The Department has established the following educational goals for its undergraduate students:
- Examine ways in which historians formulate arguments around evidence and identify the components of strong historical arguments.
- Offer courses that instill in all students the liberal arts skills necessary for most professions
- Emphasize research, writing, analysis, and presentation of data to prepare students seeking employment in law, business, advertising, government, nonprofit organizations, teaching and health care
- Develop student confidence in his/her intellectual abilities through discussions in the classroom and through writing assignments that include drafts
- Ensure that all our classes are rigorous and that our curriculum is presented to them in a coherent fashion
- Ensure that our students are exposed to classes that represent various cultures from around the world over a broad temporal scope.
Learning Outcomes for Students Earning the BA in History
- Ability to analyze and critique historical events in a coherent manner.
- Ability to construct logical historical arguments with evidentiary-based conclusions.
- Ability to understand diverse cultures, value systems and ideologies.
- Demonstrate factual knowledge of political, economic, social, and cultural systems individually and comparatively across geographic and temporal spheres.
- Demonstrate both written and verbal skills.
Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes
Currently, learning outcomes are assessed individually in each class, through appropriate measures stated in the course syllabi.
To demonstrate completion of the learning outcomes upon completion of the major, students must take one history seminar, HST 390. Students are expected to take this course before their last term. Three or four 390s are offered each term, with different faculty members teaching each term; common rubrics have been developed by the department to provide consistency across sections. The department strongly recommends that students take a 390 only in a field in which they have previously taken a course. If they have no previous coursework, they should see the instructor of the 390 for a list of suggested readings to complete prior to the start of the 390.
Common rubrics for this capstone course include: completion of a major research paper of 6250-7500 words (roughly 25-30 pages, excluding endnotes, appendices, footnotes, and bibliography) (Learning Outcomes 1 and 2; oral presentation of their research findings (Learning Outcomes 1 and 2); and classroom discussions based on extensive readings around the selected topic (Learning Outcomes 2 and 4).
In addition, the department issues an alumni survey to its alumni who have been out for a year. This survey asks alumni to reflect on the value of various aspects of the History curriculum, as well as about current employment. This information is compiled and shared with the department faculty. The information is used to modify courses and content, for those items which are consistently identified.