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The Department of History remains one of the cornerstone majors at Samford. The history major has remained popular despite increasing vocational pressures for students to concentrate on job training. Why? Here are a few reasons.

First, as one of the core disciplines of the liberal arts, history provides a classic mode of learning. By studying the past, including primary and secondary source research, undergraduate majors learn to think with rigor, to write with clarity and precision, to organize and assess evidence, to analyze problems and interpret complex events. Other liberal arts and science disciplines can legitimately make a similar claim: by studying them students also learn how to learn, although each accomplishes this in a different way. History's special appeal, however, comes from its distinctive subject matter, the human past.

Second, then, history is popular. It is interesting. It deals with real people and events, not abstractions. It offers a boundless variety for selecting favorite topics and pursuing personal interests. Everything has a history — nations, wars, ethnic groups, sexuality, jazz, gambling, postage stamps. History is visible everywhere in American society — theme parks, best-seller lists, cable programming, film epics, public controversy (Hiroshima exhibits, national school curriculum, Kennedy assassination). One of the best reasons to major in a subject is because you enjoy it and can continue to enjoy it after you graduate from Samford.

Third, our faculty members lead the Howard College of Arts & Sciences in the number of teaching awards won and books published. Faculty members have specialties in a variety of geographical areas, historical periods, and topical interests: American, Legal, Asia, Latin America, Great Britain, Europe, Alabama, Civil Rights, Intellectual, Reformation, Folklore, and several others. You will learn from well-rounded, dedicated scholars who are nationally and internationally known experts in their respective fields.

Finally, our faculty members take seriously the role of advisors and mentors. We work closely with students to help them achieve personal, academic, and career goals. Dr. Robinson works closely with students interested in Latin America, the New Latin American Scholars initiative, and those interested in careers in missions; Dr. Bass works closely with students interested in careers in law (he is the company historian for Balch & Bingham, one of the largest law firms in the South); Dr. Wallace works closely with those students interested in careers in the ministry and with the Fellows students. Our other faculty members are also committed mentors.

A Word About Global Studies—the departments of History and World Languages and Cultures have developed an new major, “Global Studies,” which educates students to become well-informed citizens of the world, able to step into a variety of careers, through their humanities-based Samford major emphasizing history, language, and culture. Students will receive an overview of world history and culture, yet will also be able to customize this degree by including courses to focus on a particular area of the world, such as Europe, Latin America, or Asia. Students will be required to do an immersion experience that could take a variety of forms, including foreign mission work, study abroad, or internships abroad. This experience is intended to make a different culture come alive for the student and to allow them to translate their classroom–acquired knowledge into a different culture’s setting. This is one of the strengths of the new major. Students completing the major will be prepared to work in both governmental and non-governmental organizations internationally, or for American organizations with international ties. Students completing this major will not only have breadth of knowledge about global issues and questions, they will be advised to focus on one specific area of the world for depth of knowledge as well, so that their language, history, and culture courses will help them become experts in their chosen area of the world. A specific pathway associated with this degree is religious and missions work that would be done in areas of the world students study more specifically and in which they have their immersion experience.

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