Located in the Hellems Arts & Sciences Building on the University of Colorado, Boulder Campus, the Department of History includes over thirty full-time faculty representing a variety of specializations in the history of the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. The Department of History typically attracts approximately 450 undergraduate majors every year and provides graduate programs in American, Asian, and European history.
Perhaps now more than ever we feel that a thorough knowledge of history is vital for advancing civic discourse and political awareness in our society. In addition, business leaders have expressed that the study of history and the liberal arts have traditionally prepared students to think, to consider evidence, and to express themselves clearly. These critical thinking skills are increasingly in short supply and in high demand.
Recently, in October 2013, a Fortune 500 CEO encouraged students to seek training in the liberal arts in order to “analyze information, be it from people or a spreadsheet, and make reasoned and critical decisions.” The study of history facilitates the development of these very skills and is therefore both a practical skill and an interesting focus for undergraduate students. However, we do not merely ask students to evaluate evidence; we ask students to explore new ways of examining long-standing problems. By asking our students to explain not only how the past happened but also the more complex problem of why it happened as it did, we promote innovative approaches to complex problems. As a CEO from Australia explained, by focusing on the study of “complexity and ambiguity,” the liberal arts teach creative problem solving skills.
We welcome prospective students who wish to learn more about the broad-ranging skills that the discipline of history conveys to inquiring minds. By helping students not only to understand the past but also to develop critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills, we prepare students for entry into an increasingly complicated society that demands the abilities to think and to adapt.