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Logo The content below is information specific to this academic department's fields of interest.

Program Mission & Goals

Updated: 20 September 2016

Program Mission Statement:
Through the study of History, students learn how to read, contextualize, and analyze a wide variety of historical documents, including primary sources (written, visual, audio, statistical) as well as scholarly articles and monographs.
 
Speaking and writing about History requires students to synthesize information in order to create unique papers, presentations, and digital media that summarize and explain their ideas.
 
History encourages the recognition and appreciation of diversity in past cultures.  It makes students “more human,” connects them with stories and people from the past in order to better understand their present and be engaged with their future.
 
Students learn and hone life-long learning skills, especially reading comprehension, writing, constructive thinking, and oral communication skills.
 
Through their coursework, multiple opportunities for student-designed research projects, and hands-on internships (both on and off campus), History majors learn how to locate, organize, evaluate, and present information in a clear and professional manner.
 
By introducing students to multiple career paths and providing targeted career-oriented workshops and visits to historical sites, archives, and museums, the History major provides students with a firm foundation for employment after graduation.
 
Through the study of the past, students learn how to connect choices and actions to ethical decision-making, a key skill in navigating the modern world.

Program Learning Goals:
1) Majors will develop a broad competency in the general themes of world and U.S. history.  This broad competency will serve as the essential backdrop for life-long learning skills for a variety of careers that require critical analysis and oral and written communication skills.

2) Majors will be able to apply critical reading and analysis skills to a variety of sources.

3) Majors will learn to “think like historians:” to identify, evaluate, and develop arguments and become content creators, with the ability to write across multiple platforms.

4) Majors will master the basic skills required to conduct independent research and to produce an original historical work.  These skills include mastering research methods, proper citation, disciplinary writing conventions, and effective use of primary sources.

Assessment Methods Used:
The History Department uses four assessment tools to measure student learning.  First, to ascertain basic content knowledge, the department administers a sample PRAXIS II History exam to senior History majors during their year of graduation.  The PRAXIS II Test is comprised of 46 multiple-choice questions on topics covered in our survey and upper-division classes (the History faculty have selected and reviewed the questions to ensure their relevance).  Second, in our History 420 readings course, taken during their junior or senior year, students complete two self-assessments of their skills (one at the beginning of the course and one at the end), and the supervising faculty member completes an assessment of their skills at the conclusion of the course.  Third, in our History 460 capstone course (senior research seminar), students complete two self-assessments of their skills (one at the beginning of the course and one at the end), and the supervising faculty member completes an assessment of their skills once the student has completed the seminar project.  Lastly, in History 300 (Historical Research Methods) students do an initial self-assessment and then an assessment at the end of the course. The assessment is of specific skills necessary for the study of history, many learned in first-year classes, but developed in History 300 and vitally necessary in 300- and 400-level courses.

Goal Assessment tools
1) Developing broad competency PRAXIS II History test for graduating majors.
2) Applying historical method to a source document

(1) Initial assessment in HIST 300.
(2) Senior Seminar (HIST 460) evaluation form filled out by each instructor after grading the final draft of each senior seminar.

3) Evaluating historical arguments

(1) Initial assessment in HIST 300.
(2) HIST 420 Readings in History evaluation form, filled out twice by each student and by the instructor at end of course.

4) Independent research skills

(1) Initial assessment in HIST 300.
(2) Senior Seminar (HIST 460) evaluation form filled out by each instructor after grading the final draft of each senior seminar