History Department: Immersive Learning

Students are more apt to commit significant time and effort to their studies if they clearly see the purpose of their assignments and can relate them to activities of consequence in the world outside the classroom. The Department of History is committed to engaging students in creative and meaningful tasks that promote the development of investigative skills, stimulate critical thinking, and enhance the ability to communicate in the written and spoken word. While a broad understanding of the significant development of the past is vital to the achievement of these goals, reading assignments and lectures should be leavened with opportunities for students to apply information learned there in creative interchanges with other members of the class, the instructor, and individuals beyond the classroom. From the time students arrive as incoming freshmen until they complete their programs as seniors or graduate students, they should be immersed in a learning environment that is both creative and demanding one that stimulates inquiry and rewards practical application of knowledge and skills learned in and beyond the university.

The history department seeks to immerse the student in the learning process by many different approaches, some of which are listed below:

  • Participation in departmentally-sponsored clubs and honor societies which offer speakers and programs that supplement classroom learning
  • Organizing field trips to nearby sites of historical significance
  • Inviting guest speakers with historical expertise in specific areas to share their knowledge with students in classes
  • Cooperation with nearby historical sites, museums, and archives to provide opportunities for students to intern in positions that provide real-world experience and allow them to apply information and skills learned in the department's programs
  • Encouragement of students to participate in intramural and interscholastic academic competitions
  • Encouraging and assisting students in producing historical papers for publication in the local press, state, regional, and national historical journals, and scholarly presses.
  • Inviting students to participate in faculty research projects
  • Encouraging students to volunteer at nearby historical sites and museums
  • Development of assignments that require students to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in activities like those undertaken by professional historians
  • Encourage students to take an active role in local historical organizations
  • Encourage students to serve as judges or assistants in the administration of the annual History Day Contest