The Department of History enrolls between 450 and 500 undergraduates in its major. The department’s 40–45 faculty members also teach thousands of non-majors who take History courses at all curricular levels as part of their Liberal Education degree requirements.
Faculty members agreed on the essential role writing plays in academic learning. “It is inseparable,” noted one faculty member in the survey; “doing history means writing history.” In a series of discussions subsequently facilitated by WEC Faculty Liaison Lisa Norling, the History faculty constructed, deconstructed, and ultimately polished lists of analytical concepts and skills that characterize their discipline and are relevant to the many kinds of students they teach and courses they offer. At the same time, and in a related process, the department reviewed the requirements for the History major and developed a proposal to revise the requirements to incorporate a more structured approach to writing instruction.