Thursday, December 29, 2016

I say this with all the love and patience I have left....



George Washington University Drops U.S. History Requirement — for History Majors!

//n 2016, GW implemented a new funding formula, allocating money to the various departments based on the number of students enrolled in that major's classes. Each school receives $301 for every student in a class, incentivizing majors like history to offer classes that will be popular.

Indeed, enrollment in history has dropped since 2011, when there were 153 history majors. Only 72 undergraduate students majored in history in 2015, while 83 did so in 2016, the Hatchet reported.

Some of the updates make sense — while it is good to require students to study a foreign language, it might not be necessary for history. The electronic capstone might be less rigorous than a traditional thesis, but it would make sense to allow students to build a website focused on their concentration of history, for instance.

Dropping the U.S. or European history requirement is different in kind, and much less excusable. The new requirements still mandate at least one introductory course, of which American history, world history, and European civilization are options — as well as "Approaches to Women's History." Nevertheless, this introductory requirement may be fulfilled by scoring a 4 or a 5 on the Advanced Placement exams for U.S., European, or world history.

In addition to this one required introductory course (which may be satisfied by women's studies), the major requires an introductory seminar, eight to ten upper-level history courses, and a thesis or capstone project. Before the changes, students had to take two courses focused on Europe and North America. Now, they can avoid them altogether.

"I think an important change in the history major has been to make our major actually reflect the field of history the way that historians study it now," Denver Brunsman, an associate professor of history and director of undergraduate services for the department, told the Hatchet. "In the past — and I think our old standards reflected this — it was very common to have students take a class in American history, in European history and maybe, just maybe, something else, another part of the world."

While a focus on other countries is laudable, it is important for students to understand their historical and intellectual heritage. If the history department were to become stiflingly closed to studying other regions of the world, that would indeed be a problem. But requiring a general knowledge of America's roots (and those include Europe's history) is natural and should be expected, especially of history majors.

Rather, this move seems to fit with the trend of rejecting the study of Western heritage as somehow oppressive and close-minded. Indeed, students at Yale University recently petitioned for the removal of a class because studying "Major English Poets" would create "a culture that is especially hostile to students of color." Stanford University students rejected a petition for a Western heritage course in April. The University of Wisconsin-Stout even removed historical paintings because they might traumatize students.

In July, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) issued a report showing that less than one-third of highly ranked colleges and universities in America actually require students pursuing a degree in history to take a single course in American history. Only 23 undergraduate history programs at 75 colleges and universities in the study required a U.S. history course.//

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please, Peter, its not only a lack of love and patience, its a wholesale takeover by hatred. By the suit, alter the suit, wear the suit.

Which one of your sale-publisized biases supports lack of love and patience and possession by hatred?

Who links to me?