Department of History
Faculty in the Department of History: Richard Warner (chair), Stephen Morillo, Aminta Pérez, Qian Pullen, Michelle Rhoades, and Tracey Salisbury.
History is the study of the past, a process that produces an ever changing view of the past, not a static picture. The History Department therefore strives to make every student his own historian, a task encompassed in the CORE GOALS of the department:
A. CONTENT: to acquire a degree of mastery of both essential factual material and conceptual, thematic and comparative knowledge in several geographical areas, diverse cultures, and different time periods in human history, with particular sensitivity to the change over time of a diverse, global society.
B. THE CRAFT OF HISTORY: to acquire the habit of the many analytical skills which historians use in recovering, researching, and writing about the past; such as, constructing important questions, making inferences from primary sources, putting sources into larger contexts, and making one’s own interpretations of the past.
C. HISTORICAL THINKING: to develop habits of thinking like an historian: e.g., an appreciation for the complexity of both change and continuity over time and in different ages, cultures, and areas of the world; an awareness of historical interpretation and historiographical schools of thought; and an understanding of how events and ideas from the past affect the present.
D. SELF-EXPRESSION: to become competent, confident, and fluent in the oral, written, and group skills necessary to speak and write about and explore historical questions.
E. SELF-DEVELOPMENT: to become an independent intellectual inquirer into the past, as well as a lifelong learner of history; and to locate oneself and one’s family, community, and cultural traditions in history.
Comprehensive Examinations: The Written Comprehensive Exam in History is a two-day exam that is designed to evaluate the students’ mastery of the core goals of the department. For one day, students discuss some aspect of history, approach to historical studies, or theories of history with respect to those areas of history the student has studied. The other day generally asks students to act as historians using a selected set of primary and secondary source texts provided ahead of time.
Requirements for a Major: Students majoring in history must complete either HIS 101 or HIS 102, both HIS 497 and 498, and six additional courses, at least two of which must be at the 300 level. Advanced (300 level) courses may include independent studies. Students are advised that their performance in 497, 498, and Comprehensive Exams will be enhanced by their familiarity with a variety of geographic, temporal, thematic, and topical areas of the field of history.
In addition, majors must maintain a portfolio of selected papers they have written for history courses (details of which are available on the History Department website or from the Department Chair). Evaluation of portfolios will be an aspect of comprehensive exams in the history major.
History majors, especially those planning to pursue graduate historical studies, are urged to gain a proficiency in a least one foreign language. Proficiency is here defined as the ability to read, without undue difficulty, historical works in the appropriate foreign language. Majors are also encouraged to gain experience with overseas cultures through immersion experiences and study abroad.
Requirements for a Minor: A minimum of five credits including either HIS 101 or HIS 102, one course at the 300 level, and three other courses of the student’s choice at the 200 or 300 level.
Secondary Licensure Program: The Department of Education Studies offers a minor in Education Studies, and an additional licensure preparation program for students interested in becoming licensed to teach at the secondary level (middle and high school grades 5-12). With a major in this department and a minor in Education Studies, students may also choose to complete the licensure preparation program by applying in the spring of the junior year. For more information about the licensure program, students are advised to meet with faculty in the Department of Education Studies. Requirements for the minor and licensure preparation program are outlined in the Department of Education Studies section of the Academic Bulletin.