Mission of Department

The Department of History of the Kent State University is committed to the creation of an academic environment that promotes the intellectual growth, professional development, and civic engagement of its students and faculty. To that end, the Faculty of the History Department commits itself, first and foremost, to the generation of new knowledge through original research, and to the dissemination of that knowledge through scholarly publication. The History Faculty also resolves to excel in teaching at all levels of instruction. Finally, the History Faculty pledges to advance the missions of the History profession, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Kent State University, and  to engage with the various  communities-local, regional,  state, national, and global-outside the confines of this institution.

The Faculty of the Department of History, including historians on all eight campuses of Kent State University, constitutes a community of scholars whose active scholarly inquiry reaches across the boundaries of History to engage other related disciplines. Members of the History Faculty dedicate themselves to the production of knowledge that both augments existing scholarship and exerts a significant influence on the direction of their respective fields of study. The History Faculty pledges to disseminate that new knowledge not only through such traditional forms of publication as journal articles, scholarly monographs, and collections of original essays but also through such innovative media as public history exhibits, documentary films, and other digital presentations.

The Department of History's commitment to both knowledge generation and teaching excellence combine in its dedication to graduate instruction. The History Faculty especially values the direction of graduate-level original research as an extension of its own pursuit of new knowledge. By its specialized graduate instruction and direction of individual research, the History Faculty not only provides its graduate students with outstanding training in their designated fields of history but also prepares them for careers as twenty-first century historians through the program's emphasis on transnational teaching and research. This course of study develops students' skills to prepare them for careers as research scholars, as teachers, and as non-teaching public historians. The Department's Graduate Program is also dedicated to training students for a career in public history, including a special emphasis on training for archival, museum, and historical site employment.

History Faculty members approach the undergraduate teaching mission fully informed by the disciplinary knowledge of their respective fields and by a thorough understanding of pedagogical best practices. The Department believes it is essential both to convey increasingly advanced content knowledge and to develop progressively more sophisticated analytical skills as undergraduates proceed from the Kent Core to upper-division courses. Content and analysis intersect when students make an effort to understand change over time and its impact on the lives of disparate peoples through the analysis of primary source materials.

In its teaching of the Kent Core-those courses deemed essential components of an undergraduate's liberal education-History Faculty members provide students with a general survey of the history of world civilizations and of the United States. At this general level of instruction, the Department has identified three outcomes: understanding history as a process of change over time, learning to read and discuss primary sources as historical texts, and developing writing and critical thinking skills. In addition, these core courses place particular emphasis on understanding the past from the perspective of diverse groups and stress the importance of cultural contact and exchange.

In its upper-division courses, the Department of History offers all students a wide array of specialized knowledge and thorough training in a range of skills well suited to a changing employment market and an increasingly complex world. These skills include the ability to read extensively and critically; the capability to comprehend, evaluate, and analyze complex evidence, arguments, and opinions; the capacity to develop and present a carefully informed, reasoned, and crafted argument; the command of confident and clear oral communication skills, the capability to undertake independent work and manage time effectively; and the preparation of students as life-long learners. For majors in the discipline, the Department has prescribed a rigorous course of study that progresses from core courses to the sophomore "Historian's Craft" methods course to a diverse offering of upper-division lecture courses to the culminating experience of a Senior Seminar, in which students conduct their own original research.

The History Department Faculty pledges to maintain a strong relationship with its peers in the History profession to further the global production and dissemination of knowledge. The Faculty also is committed to serving the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as the larger University community through its participation on numerous committees, in a wide variety of academic forums and exchanges, and as part of several interdisciplinary programs. The Faculty pledges its engagement with the various communities within which it is privileged to live and work-the localities around our eight campuses, the Northeast Ohio region, the state, the nation, and, indeed, the global community. The History Faculty is particularly committed to serving the region, especially its underserved populations, both inside and outside the campus through a variety of outreach and extension programs.