The history department curriculum is shaped by a commitment to developing students’ critical-thinking skills and personal expression, and to helping students cultivate a humanities’ sensibility about themselves and the world. Essential questions frame each course, and themes within each unit of study make learning a quest for understanding of historical, cultural and political problems.
Civic-mindedness is built into the curriculum. Focus of study is appreciation, knowledge and understanding of societies around the world, with an emphasis on valuing the dignity of every human being. The depth of the department’s curriculum is found in its global outlook and a world history curriculum that balances study between western civilization and non-European civilizations. Students learn why humans form civilizations and governments and what forces and politics have bolstered human freedom and which have harmed it. Students learn about the role of political parties, constitutional law, and the ways cultures shape power dynamics, especially in relation to race and gender.
Instructors teach students to consider different perspectives and tackle open-ended questions. Students actively participate in class every day and work together in teams. Controversial topics are embraced, and discussions require students to generate evidence from readings to support their claims both in class and in their writing.