AHA History Tuning Update: “History Discipline Core” Now Available

The American Historical Association’s Tuning Project has released the “History Discipline Core,” the result of a collaborative effort by participants to “describe the skills, knowledge and habits of mind that students develop in history courses and degrees.” Anne Hyde, professor at Colorado College and member of the AHA’s Teaching Division, writes in her introduction:

We articulate the ways history supports an educated workforce and citizenry and demonstrate that its value goes far beyond narrow professional training. Because we believe that any discussion of teaching and learning history must be faculty driven, we’ve used the expertise of history faculty from nearly 70 different institutions to draft, debate, and revise our ideas. Grounded in the excellent work already done by the AHA and scholars of teaching and learning, we developed this set of core competencies and examples of specific ways students might demonstrate their competence.

We offer this document as a reference point to stimulate conversations within history departments and other relevant units of colleges and universities. We assume it will be revised, taken apart, added to or winnowed down to reflect the distinct character of each institution and its students. We hope to initiate a process in which history faculties lay out their own distinctive goals and outcomes for courses, majors, and degrees, and then “tune” such descriptions by asking their own students, alumni, local employers and civic leaders to join in a conversation about what history degrees provide. Our aim is to begin a collaboration with a wide set of stakeholders about the essential nature of history in higher education and the breadth of skills and knowledge that history students bring to the table.

The Discipline Core articulates a vision of what history is, what history students can do (a.k.a. core competencies), and how history students can demonstrate historical skills and perspectives (a.k.a. learning outcomes). For more information about the Tuning Project, please visit the AHA website where readers can find an article by AHA Director James Grossman on the advantages of the tuning project, and a description of the scope of the project. Recent press coverage about Tuning was featured on the AHA’s blog. The September issue of Perspectives on History will include further news items about Tuning and a discussion about the project in the News and Letters to the Editor sections.

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