Mission and Values

Unit Mission Statement

The Department of History advances public knowledge and understanding of the past as it informs the present and future. We offer a multidisciplinary approach that combines our global cultural heritage with long-neglected voices, uses a range of tools and perspectives, and provides the knowledge and skills necessary for informed decision making.


We provide a student-centered program that is committed to excellent teaching, scholarship, and service. Through our commitment to the liberal arts tradition, we help students develop skills of inquiry, reflection, critical analysis, dialogue, and expression. We are dedicated to inspiring all our students - be they our History and Group Social Studies majors or students we encounter in our general education courses - to pursue excellence in their chosen professions and serve the broader local, regional, national, and international communities in which they live.

As a community of scholars, we help to enlarge the state of knowledge in our field through our active engagement in intellectual and creative pursuits. We recognize that active scholarship enriches our teaching and enables to serve students, the university, and the broader community. We bring the historian's perspective to courses in the Frederik Meijer Honors College and other interdisciplinary programs; we participate actively in preparing teachers of History and Social Studies as well as preparing our majors for further study and careers in a variety of fields. We promote faculty and student participation in national and international inquiry and discourse. We are dedicated to serving the broader West Michigan community through our engagement in local and regional history forums.


We value:

Critical historical inquiry that recognizes complexity, multiple explanations of change, and the active role of humans in shaping their histories and their understanding of the past.

Diverse, innovative, and effective pedagogical strategies that enable students to gain historical knowledge and analytical skills.

A diverse and respectful learning community comprised of faculty, students and staff.

Modeling outstanding teaching as we prepare future educators.

Teaching history through conversations that are best conducted in small classes with an open-minded, respectful, and questioning spirit.

The liberal arts tradition, which encourages open-ended and open-minded inquiry, respectful dialogue, and interdisciplinary research.

General Education and embrace an active and vigorous role in the university's General Education program.

Interdisciplinary and collaborative scholarship and teaching.

Faculty scholarship, which informs excellent teaching and involve students when possible.

Student historical research-in class, in self-directed research projects, and in collaboration with faculty.

Faculty and student participation in international and cross-cultural study.

Collaboration with the broader community, both academic and non-academic.



Page last modified June 14, 2017