Exploring the Past
Students have the opportunity to take courses that bring history to life in unique and engaging ways. The History faculty at CSU are continually introducing innovative elements into coursework, so students are engaged with the past in a variety of ways. For instance, students in recent History courses have created a web page for the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, created Story Maps (a spatial representation of research), re-created 1905 Denver using Minecraft, and played board games and video games in American Military History as away to discuss historical contingency and representations of History.
Dr. Adrian Howkins teaches for Semester at Sea, where his students can take classes in Modern Latin America, World Environmental History, and Food History. As part of their coursework, they will visit Lima, Peru, and Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica.
CSU offers a variety classes including Digital History, the Holocaust, the Civil War Era, Women in Ancient Greece and Rome, Medieval Europe, the History of Antarctica, World Environmental History, and the History of America's National Parks. Students can also study abroad in Israel in Dr. Lindsay's Land of Israel: Past and Present course or travel to London, the Normandy Beaches, and Paris in Dr. Gudmestad's Normandy Campaign course. You can see a full list of the Department of History's classes in the CSU Catalogue.
In recent years, Tracy Brady, Robert Jordan, and Jared Orsi have all won teaching awards from CSU or from the College of Liberal Arts and faculty use creative methods to teach History. A number of faculty members are nationally recognized leaders in the fields of Environmental History and in Public History. Some faculty members also engage with the wider community through their blogs; Sarah Payne writes for Past Perfect, Ann Little blogs at Historiann, and Robert Jordan shares his thoughts about teaching History at History Blogger.
Students playing Capture the Flag in American Military History
Real World Skills
The Department of History develops thinkers, researchers, and writers. We train students how to think critically and solve problems. Students can also pursue internships during their time at CSU, which allow them to not only gain practical on-the-job skills, but make connections with professionals. Students who graduate with a degree in History from CSU take important skills into whatever profession they choose.
A national study from 2013 surveyed business and nonprofit leaders what they wanted from potential employees. The overwhelming majority (over 90%) indicated that they wanted employees with "a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems." These skills are exactly what we teach in our History courses. Moreover, another study in the Wall Street Journal indicated that Liberal Arts majors often earn more money than their peers in the long run.
Recent graduates have gone on to careers with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Social Security Administration, the History Colorado Museum, CSU’s College of Business, Swift Communications, the National Forest Service, and Department of Defense. Graduates fromour programs are teaching in many towns in Colorado, including Denver, Fort Collins, and Berthoud. Other recent graduates have been accepted into distinguished graduate or law programs such as those at the University of Wisconsin, Stanford University, the University of Washington, UCLA, the University of California-Davis, and the University of Minnesota.
The Department of History also hosts a College to Career event each spring that connects current students with recent graduates. In 2015, seniors were able to connect with CSU Department of History graduates working in a diverse array of places, including the National Park Service, a law office, Sava SeniorCare Consulting, the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, and a local high school.
History majors also learn a variety of skills that they can apply to a variety of careers. Students in Jared Orsi's capstone course learn how to use Story Map, a digital platform that presents History in a spatial and temporal way.