In-depth study suggests a shift in focus for the discipline

Historians in the News

History has long been among the most popular undergraduate majors — and has long been seen as playing a crucial role in how colleges provide liberal education. But is the discipline doing everything it can to promote liberal education, especially since most history majors will not become lifelong historians and since many history students are not majors?

A new report, prepared by the National History Center with support from the Teagle Foundation, suggests that while the history major is doing plenty that is right on target, changes are needed for the major to provide the most benefit for students. The study — prepared by a working group led by Stanley N. Katz of Princeton University and James Grossman of the Newberry Library — suggests a need for greater coherence in the way the major is structured, and much more of an active consideration by faculty members of their role in educating non-historians.

To do so effectively, the report says, graduate programs in history need to be reformed so that more emphasis is placed on the graduate students’ likely role in the future as a teacher, not just a researcher....

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