• Strong Education. Strong Outcomes.Strong Education. Strong Outcomes.Strong Education. Strong Outcomes.

    Strong Education. Strong Outcomes.
    Strong Education. Strong Outcomes.
    Strong Education. Strong Outcomes.

    The W is making an impact across Mississippi.
    See how we stack up by the numbers.
    Read More
  • Library Grand OpeningLibrary Grand OpeningLibrary Grand Opening

    Library Grand Opening
    Library Grand Opening
    Library Grand Opening

    The grand opening for the John Clayton Fant Memorial Library at Mississippi University for Women is set for Friday, Oct. 20 at 10 a.m.
    Read More
  • Welty Writers' SymposiumWelty Writers' SymposiumWelty Writers' Symposium

    Welty Writers' Symposium
    Welty Writers' Symposium
    Welty Writers' Symposium

    The 28th annual writers' symposium examines Tales and Truths Around the South, inspired by Welty's "The Hitch-Hikers". October 19-21.
    Read More
  • Welty GalaWelty GalaWelty Gala

    Welty Gala
    Welty Gala
    Welty Gala

    This year's gala features CNN analyst and author Jeffry Toobin.
    October 20th, 7:00pm at Trotter Convention Center.
    All proceeds support scholarships at The W.
    Read More
  • Making College AffordableMaking College AffordableMaking College Affordable

    Making College Affordable
    Making College Affordable
    Making College Affordable

    Cost shouldn't be a barrier to a quality education.
    At The W, it won't be.
    Read More
  • Find Your MajorFind Your MajorFind Your Major

    Find Your Major
    Find Your Major
    Find Your Major

    Small classes and the attention you deserve.
    Discover the more than 50 academic programs The W has to offer.
    Read More
  • Graduate StudiesGraduate StudiesGraduate Studies

    Graduate Studies
    Graduate Studies
    Graduate Studies

    Take your next step in the Long Blue Line.
    The W offers 15 graduate programs to help you advance your career.
    Read More
  • 5th Year in a Row!5th Year in a Row!5th Year in a Row!

    5th Year in a Row!
    5th Year in a Row!
    5th Year in a Row!

    The W has been named one of the best colleges in the nation to work for,
    according to a survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

Dr. Erin Kempker & Dr. Amber HandyCOLUMBUS, Miss. -- The Department of History, Political Science, and Geography has launched a new history major with concentration in public history at Mississippi University for Women.

 

The new concentration reflects a growing interest in public history nationwide as well as among W students, according to Dr. Amber Handy, assistant professor of history. It will be the only undergraduate public history degree program for undergraduate students in the state of Mississippi, she said.

Only a small percentage of history majors go on to be historians, according to research; many become lawyers, businesspersons, politicians and even entertainers.

In studying history, students gain a variety of work-related skills, from effective writing to research techniques to critical analysis. With a history degree and public history concentration, they have job opportunities that range from archival management to historic preservation to working museum exhibits and in national parks.

Handy said, "Having a vibrant public history offering will advance the interests of all history majors, as national research indicates that an undergraduate curriculum that includes public history increases student interest in coursework.

"Ultimately, students who engage in `hands-on research' are more likely to graduate and with a higher GPA than students who did not engage in research. Incorporating public history into the curriculum will allow history faculty to better combine research and public engagement, giving students the opportunity to experience what it is to `do' history."

The history faculty began discussing this proposal in the spring of 2012. While developing the program, history faculty sought out best practices from national organizations and models from other undergraduate public history programs around the country. The new major concentration exceeds the minimum standards provided by the National Council on Public History and will provide students with a strong history background as well as public history training and hands-on experiences.

A researcher at heart, Ashley Cardenas a history major interested in public history enjoys handling things that are considered to be old, especially personal objects such as letters or photographs.

"Handling a letter written 200 years ago is so much more interesting to me than trying to instruct a class on an event that has already been researched and written about by many historians and fans," she said.

"Additionally, I want to aid fellow researchers in their quest toward finding their family tree, the history of their town, or of a historical landmark. Essentially, I am interested in public history because I want to be there for the beginning of the research process and help guide people to their desired information, instead of simply retelling facts other people have already discovered."

Dr. Erin Kempker, assistant professor of history, said, "Every single thing that we have designed is supposed to be a deeply interpretive research experience. They are engaging in some serious research but it is directed toward the wider public as opposed to being directed toward creation of a paper."

Courses for the new concentration will be taught by existing W faculty as well as local public historians and archivists. Derek Webb, The W's archivist, will be teaching a course for the new concentration, and W alumna Mona Vance, who has a degree in public history and is the archivist for the local library, will teach a course in the spring.

Kempker added, "We certainly hope we introduce them to the profession and what is available for historians outside of academia—introduce them to those key jobs and professional tracks they can get into with advanced study if they choose."

For details about the program, please contact Dr. Brian Anderson, chair of the Department of History, Political Science, and Geography, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or www.muw.edu/hpg.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 20, 2013
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
(662) 329-7124
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Upcoming Events

  • 1