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Program Mission & Goals

Updated: 18 October 2013

Program Mission Statement:


The Department of History seeks to help students understand the cultures and heritage of earlier generations of humankind and, as a result, comprehend the times in which we live. The discipline of history demands and develops broad perspectives, analytical skills, and the ability to communicate conclusions with clarity and style.

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 three assessment tools to measure student learning. First, to ascertain basic content knowledge, the department administers a sample PRAXIS II History exam to majors during their year of graduation. Second, in our History 420 readings course, 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.

Goal Assessment tools
1) Developing broad competency PRAXIS II History test.
2) Applying historical method to a source document Senior Seminar evaluation form filled out by each instructor after grading the final draft of each senior seminar.
3) Evaluating historical arguments History 420 Readings in History evaluation form, filled out twice by each student and by the instructor at end of course.
4) Independent research skills
Senior Seminar evaluation form filled out by each instructor after grading the final draft of each senior seminar.