The Department of History at Benedictine College is committed to studying the past, with the firm conviction that this knowledge helps us to live better in the present. In our classes we seek to gain a greater understanding of the people and societies that came before us by reading and analyzing the written and physical sources that they have left to us. We investigate the changes and continuities within and across different civilizations, which provides us with a sense of how the world we know today came into existence. This further extends to us the tools to act as good citizens when faced with difficult decisions, based on the lessons that the past has to teach us. Throughout our classes, students learn to evaluate evidence from the past and to seek to interpret this evidence in the context of the times and places in which it was produced. Often as historians we discuss different interpretations to find the one that does justice to our sources.
Students who seek a major or minor in History will pursue skills that will serve them well as they set out on their careers. Proudly rooted in the liberal arts tradition, the study of History does not only pursue a utilitarian set of skills. It rather seeks to engage students in critical thought. Students will need to analyze the sources from past societies, and funnel their analysis into discussion, presentation, and writing. Students will learn to disagree with one another in productive fashion to seek the best informed understanding of the past. This package of skills we offer – including effective oral and written communication – will make graduates attractive to employers in a variety of fields. Our previous graduates have pursued numerous careers, such as working in museums, law, education, and business. The knowledge of the past of other regions of the world has further informed students to serve in diplomacy, international business, the military, and missionary work.