Over the past year, the nationwide decline of history majors and enrollments has become one of the AHA’s foremost concerns. Now, surprising news has arrived from Yale University: after a two-decade slip in popularity, history is the top declared major among its Class of 2019.
By Nancy Quam-Wickham
Imagine a crowded room where students—shoulder to shoulder—worked frantically to complete architectural drawings. As the moment to submit their projects approached, an aide pushed a little cart (the “charrette”) through the classroom; students were required to deposit their drawings as the cart passed. Those not yet done with their work leapt into the cart, adding finishing touches to their designs as the cart passed drafting tables. The exercise was a loud, raucous, frenzied, stressful, though profoundly creative experience.
By Jonathan Lee
On August 5 and 6, the AHA held its second annual Texas Conference on Introductory History Courses at San Antonio College. The conference, which was established as a space for instructors of introductory history courses in the state to meet with each other and explore innovations surrounding teaching and learning history in informal networks, built on discussions and initiatives from its previous gathering in August 2015 at the University of Texas at Austin. The 60-plus attendees represented a diverse group of history educators from four-year, two-year, and dual-credit programs.
After three years of Tuning we have learned a lot!
If you are at a university, the April issue of Perspectives on History probably arrived together with finals or midterms. Your time is even more precious than usual, and general reading is probably not your first priority. But I would strongly encourage you to make time for the forum on the AHA’s Tuning project—even, or perhaps especially, if you are skeptical of the effort.
Comedian Joel McHale recently gave an interview where he mentioned that he had been a history major but had turned to acting because “it’s not like you can open a history shop!” While those of us whose passion for history became our profession might cringe at this, we also must acknowledge that many of our history majors do go on to professions that have nothing, on the surface, to do with history.
Nearly a dozen of the faculty members who are participating in the AHA’s Tuning project made presentations at the Workshop on Undergraduate Teaching in New Orleans.