All history classes require at least 15 pages of graded writing in the form of exams and papers. Various assignments require students to master basic information, analyze a variety of source materials, assess and evaluate arguments, and present their own arguments and/or analysis in clear and concise prose.
Students who have completed any HS 100-level course, “The Making of the Modern World,” should be able to:
- Understand continuity and change over time by exploring key events and developments in one region of the world over the past several centuries.
- Read a primary source from the past and understand it.
- Read a secondary source about the past and be able to discern its central tenets.
- Write essays that are analytical, that incorporate facts, and include structured arguments and counter-arguments.
- Demonstrate how people in the past saw the world differently.
- Use the past as a source of reflection on ethical issues.
Students who have completed the HS 300-level courses shall be able to:
- Master in-depth a particular historical subject or time period.
- Comprehend different historical methodologies.
- Conduct advanced-level research including library and web-based sources.
- Create, sustain, and present an argument based on that research in well-written essays.
- Discern appropriate and inappropriate sources and effectively weigh the use of evidence.
- Comprehend that historians can legitimately differ in their interpretations of the past.
History majors and honors students who have completed the HS 400-level courses shall be able to:
- Recognize the varieties of historical analysis and the existence of historiographical precedence;
- Conceptualize and develop an argument based on research and drawing on historiographical precedence;
- Conduct and complete extensive research using both primary and secondary sources with the goal of completing a 15-25 page research paper on a sophisticated topic of each student's choosing;
- Carry on an intellectual debate in a seminar format by referring to a related set of readings, offering critical appraisal of the readings, and reacting to the ideas of their fellow students; and
- Be able to state, in elegant prose, the argument of any article or book assigned to them in a history class.
These learning aims directly relate to several of the University's larger student learning aims, specifically the goals of:
- Appreciation of and grounding in the liberal arts and sciences;
- Excellence in a discipline, including understanding of the relationship between one's discipline and other disciplines; and
- Understanding the interconnectedness of all knowledge habits of intellectual curiosity, honesty, humility, and persistence.
Critical Understanding: Thinking, Reading, Analyzing
- The ability to evaluate a claim based on documentation, plausibility, and logical coherence;
- The ability to make sound judgments in complex and changing environments; and
- The ability to find and assess data about a given topic using general repositories of information, both printed and electronic.
- The ability to use speech and writing effectively, logically, gracefully, persuasively, and responsibly.
Promotion of Justice
- An appreciation of the great moral issues of our time: the sanctity of human life, poverty, racism, genocide, war and peace, religious tolerance and intolerance, the defense of human rights, and the environmental impact of human activity.
- Recognition of the inherent value and dignity of each person, and therefore an awareness of, sensitivity toward, and respect for the differences of race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, culture, sexual orientation, religion, age, and disabilities; and
- Awareness of the global context of citizenship and an informed sensitivity to the experiences of peoples outside of the United States.