campus partner(s)

National History Center






Fresh Thinking

award date


project director

Marian J. Barbara

National History Center

Grant Summary

$75,000 over 18 months. The National History Center will assemble a working group of faculty members at college and university history departments, representatives of professions in which history graduates find employment (namely journalism and law), and senior representatives of other organizations devoted to higher education to explore the relationship of the history major to the modern undergraduate liberal arts curriculum, as well as take up the questions of what history students do in their adult lives, how those trajectories relate to liberal education, and how they use the historical understanding they have acquired in college. Building on the Center's History Education Policy initiative—which is aimed at increasing the role of historians in public policy as related to history education—and drawing on the resources and recent efforts of the American Historical Association (including its extensive database of history departments), the group will undertake several initiatives: an initial strategy meeting of what information the group would like to see collected and a survey of goals, mission statements, and requirements of the history major; discussions of such topics as the relationship of coverage to methodology, the role of student research in learning history, the training of graduate students to be effective teachers, the best ways to use history to encourage civic engagement in students, and the relationship of structure to student choice in managing an undergraduate history program; interviews with stakeholders; and open forums at professional meetings of historians. The group's two principal investigators will draft the White Paper, offer it for comment by group members, and then present it at AHA's January 2008 annual meeting, as well as at subsequent meeting that will bring together a group of about 50 people (comprised of stakeholders, members of the press, legislative staff, and education advocacy organizations) who will offer advice on disseminating the paper and building on the resulting ideas.