History Department Mission and Desired Student Outcomes
History is a discipline; a series of practices that are historical in their basic approach and object that links our contemporary world to the past. Its practitioners subject evidence to rigorous analysis and synthesize sources to formulate coherent, logical narratives. Historians use evidence to understand the historical process and develop arguments over the meaning of the past. The historical discipline is concerned with the questions of change and continuity, the complexities of causality and contingency, and the critical role of social context and individual motivation. Our discipline requires its practitioners to meet accepted standards of professionalism over and above the technical and to adhere to stringent expectations for academic integrity and honesty.
The habits of analysis and critical thinking provided by the discipline will make graduating History Majors more competent, conscientious and effective in whatever professional activities they may pursue. Students of history may utilize these skills to pursue employment and advancement within the historical profession as well as in advanced degrees in fields such as education and law. The story of the past encompasses all of human activity: understanding its significance encourages us to be active and engaged citizens. Ultimately, history matters because it shows that the choices that we make help shape the world we create.
The specific educational outcomes that support the program objectives are to produce graduates who are able to:
- Write clear and precise English.
- Demonstrate advanced undergraduate historical research skills, including the proper use of the historical citation style, the critical use of primary and secondary sources, constructing an adequate research base, and framing a good historical question.
- Demonstrate advanced historical skills, including recognition of significance, understanding of cause and effect, awareness of continuity v. discontinuity, conversance with historiographical debate and perspective, and critical and integrative thinking.