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History Mission

The history discipline fully supports the mission of the college. The study of history is central to the liberal arts curriculum, emphasizes a wide variety of intellectual skills, obliges students to identify and test their values and convictions, and advances the Catholic intellectual tradition. Furthermore, it is an important contributor to the colleges global mission and awareness of diversity through its many courses on the United States, Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

More specifically, the history discipline strives to enhance the ability of students to think critically: to learn how to read documents and texts carefully, to ask pertinent questions about evidence, and to consider issues of bias, authorship, intended audience, context and language. Such critical-thinking skills are modeled for our students in our class lectures, emphasized in our assignments and especially required in our essays. Students display their growth in critical thinking through their written work and class discussions.

Simultaneously, the discipline seeks to educate students about the histories of various parts of the world – that is, to impart knowledge about how societies have changed over time, how ideas have developed and how people have responded to changes, both positive and negative, under a variety of conditions and circumstances. Students thus gain not only an understanding of the human experience, but a sense of perspective (how things have come to be the way they are, how people have come to identify themselves the way they do) as well as a sense of historical empathy (how conditions have appeared to people in other places and times).

Most broadly, it is hoped that history students will come to understand both the world and their place in it differently – more clearly, more carefully and more completely.
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