The department features an innovative and rigorous curriculum designed to train students in historical methodology, research skills, and critical thinking. It regularly offers more than 50 undergraduate courses on a wide range of topics, including new offerings in ancient Roman history, Latin American history, Native American history, and history methods.
The department connects students with regional historical societies and historic sites to provide opportunities for seminars, fieldwork experiences, and internships. History majors have completed internships at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library and Museum in Hyde Park, N.Y.; Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz; Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; and the D&H Canal Historical Society and Museum in High Falls, N.Y., among others.
Graduates of the History Department have attended prestigious law, graduate, and professional schools, ranging from Harvard to the University of Iceland. They have obtained careers in the fields of business, education, journalism, law, and government.
The History Department is known for excellence in teaching. Four current members of the department have received the Liberal Arts and Sciences Teacher of the Year Award, and Professor Hamilton Stapell also won the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
The 13 full-time members of the history faculty are active scholars who have received national and international recognition for their books, articles, and scholarly work. The department boasts professors who have published widely in U.S. history, modern European history, medieval history, Asian history, Latin American history, and ancient Roman history.
History faculty have received a number of prestigious grants and awards, including the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship (Lou Roper); induction into the New York Academy of History (Susan Lewis); Fulbright Senior Scholar Award (Michael Vargas); Dr. Nuala McGann Drescher Award (Michael Vargas and Meg O’Sullivan); the Richard Plaschka Fellows Award (Heather Morrison); and the Liberal Arts and Sciences Award for Excellence in Service (Kristine Harris).