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History

Students don't memorize dates. They learn to understand and interpret history.

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Careers and internships

Data analysis. Information literacy. Perspective-taking. Empathy. The study of history hones a wealth of skills necessary to solving contemporary problems. The new history curriculum at Augustana allows students to follow one of five Compass Points as they craft an undergraduate experience that fits their current passions, career goals, and vision for the future.

I. History communication

History communication prepares students to understand how the public engages with the past. This focus may appeal to those interested in museum studies, library science, digital history, production of documentaries, journalism, and historic preservation. 
Alumni:
Anna Tunnicliff ‘13, Archivist, Iowa Women’s Archives, University of Iowa 
Rashaun Debord ‘17, Masters Student in Public History, University of of Illinois-Springfield

II. Social justice

This concentration uses a historical lens to shed light on current inequalities, as well as understanding how individuals and groups have produced social change. This focus may appeal to those interested in human rights work, law, social services, religious work, and more.
Alumni: 
Michael Rogers ’12, Director, Office of Student Inclusion & Diversity, Augustana College
Madison Wynes ‘14, Personal Injury and Criminal Lawyer Specializing in Immigration Law and Workers’ Compensation

III. Nations and global politics

This concentration centers on complex interactions between people and systems, local concerns and global movements. This focus may appeal to those interested in law, politics, international relations, public relations, and peace studies.
Alumni:
Carolyn Sallee ’02, Senior Manager and Economic Consultant, Ernst and Young, San Francisco
Joseph Carroll ‘17, Senior Data Coordinator Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners Shared Services

IV. History education

History Education majors at Augustana don’t just learn how to teach history: they learn to teach historical thinking. Education majors combine education courses with courses in the major and a Capstone project that uses cutting-edge theories of history teaching and learning.  
Alumni:
Taylor McGinnis ’16, Social Studies Teacher, De la Salle High School, Chicago
Colette LaRiviere ’17, History teacher, Springwood Middle School, Hanover Park, Ill.

V. Information analytics

This concentration allows you to tailor your major to your goals. This focus may appeal to majors who want to become civic and workplace leaders who think critically and communicate clearly to solve problems in areas such as STEM, sales, business, health, and more. 
Alumni:
Gina Balestri ’13,  Loan Officer, First Federal Savings Bank
Emily Matuseski ’14, IT Integrator, John Deere
 

Distinctions

history trip
After analyzing historical changes in the German nation and state, Augustana students investigated Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on a 2016 trip. The gate has played an important symbolic role in culture and politics.

Augustana offers a major and minor in history, a history teaching major, and a history honors program for majors intending to pursue graduate school in history; this includes a foreign language, an additional 3-credit history course and a two-term honors project guided by a faculty member.

More than half of Augustana history majors declare a second major, most commonly anthropology, geography, political science, sociology or religion—as well as related fields such as Africana, Asian, Latin American and women’s and gender studies. Most students in the pre-law program major in history.

Through a nationally recognized curriculum designed by Augustana history faculty, Augustana students learn history not through memorization of facts and events, but by learning to understand and interpret history.

The eight full-time faculty members all have a Ph.D. and are leaders in innovative education methods, published research and international programs; one was named the 2011 Illinois Professor of the Year.

All students complete an original historical research project for their Senior Inquiry capstone, an experience that is especially rare for students of history teaching: Augustana history education students complete Senior Inquiry under the guidance of a historian and leader in the field of teaching history.

What students say

Paul Landahl '15, history and mathematics; Working for the Southwest Conservation Corps., Salida Ranger District, Salida, Colorado, with plans for graduate school in 2016

"I'm really surprised about the accuracy of the silly motivational quote "Anything worth doing isn't easy." [At Augustana], I pushed and challenged myself beyond my preconceived physical, emotional and mental capacities. I never thought I could become a Class IV whitewater raft guide, navigating the rapids of the Royal Gorge and Browns Canyon. I never thought I could successfully handle a long-distance relationship for several months. I never thought I could graduate cum laude with two tough majors with ZERO overlapping classes.... I really think I am an overall better person for
going through these tough tasks."

Sami Turner '15, history and anthropology majors, art history minor; Pursuing master's in museum studies at Western Illinois University

"I came to Augie knowing I wanted to major in history, but that was it. I had an interest in museums, but had no idea that interest would turn out to be what I actually did with my life, or would lead me to two other fields of study! I think if you'd told freshman me everything I'd be doing as a senior, I wouldn't have believed you."

Alexander Vlastnik '13, history and classical studies; Pursuing master's in history at Western Illinois University

"I was drawn to Augustana by the accessibility and friendly nature of the school. Selling points such as no teaching assistants and the ability to have a faculty advisor who worked in my area of study helped me make my decision.

My advisor in the classics department, Dr. Kramer, helped me immensely by sitting down with me and figuring out a program of study that would fit my needs, as well as helping me look for institutions for continuing my education after graduation. Dr. Calder [in history] also helped me as an advisor in working through my Senior Inquiry and helping me refine my approach to the research and writing process."

Angela Corsa '10, history, Spanish and English; Completed master's in Latin American Studies at the University of Chicago; currently a bilingual nonprofit program manager in Chicago

"My time at Augustana was invaluable. I met amazing people ... who helped me to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and shaped me as an individual. I also had experiences that I don't think I would have been privileged to have otherwise, such as studying abroad in Ecuador and doing an interdisciplinary senior project with the history and Spanish departments.

I think one of my favorite memories happened during my first year in my LSFY class with Dr. Ellis. He told us he did not want to discuss Marx because he disagreed so strongly with his theories, so he had a guest lecturer for the day and left. We sat there confused for a minute waiting, and he came back in came back into the room, stood at the podium, and annouced, "Hello. I'm Karl Marx." He taught the entire class in character. I have no doubt that this experience contributed to my final decision to become a history major"

Francis Sophia Gow

Winner of this year’s $5,000 Hasselmo Award will be a voice for human rights

For Francis Sophia Gow ’20, a first-year history course set her future in motion.

Symposium to address Swedish experiences and the Holocaust

Augustana College will host a one-day symposium,  “Dealing with the Past in the Present: Swedish Experiences of World War II and the Holocaust”  on Oct. 26.

Piano composition wins Geifman Prize

Joshua Iyer, a senior from Aurora, Ill., majoring in music composition, has won first prize in the annual student competition "Responses to the Holocaust." 

Harbour of Hope film screening

This 76-minute remarkable film is about Jewish survivors arriving from the concentration camps in Malmö, Sweden after the war. Original footage is combined with narration from the survivors themselves.