This report responds to a request from the Teagle Foundation to individual disciplines to “reassess the relationship between the goals and objectives of undergraduate concentrations in their discipline and those of liberal education.” We recognize that all disciplines and fields have something important to contribute to liberal learning. History, however, provides something distinctive. This contribution can be enhanced by a more explicit understanding of the relationship between the history major and the broader goals and processes of liberal learning, and through consideration of that relationship in discussions about the curriculum.
History as a subject stands as the domain of the major; this report is intended to help us reflect on our objectives, our educational goals. How does the study of history contribute to liberal learning as a basis for a lifelong engagement with ideas and civic culture? We begin by stressing that the goal of undergraduate history teaching is not to train undergraduate students to be historians—it is to nurture their liberal and civic capacities, in part by integrating disciplinary knowledge, methods, and principles into the broad experience of undergraduate education.