What constitutes a literate education in the 21st century? What critical skills are involved in understanding and processing perspectives emerging from complex local and global landscapes? How do we cultivate and nurture an interest in critical interdisciplinary thinking that challenges and shapes us as thinkers and doers? How do the humanities prepare us for living in and thoughtfully engaging with the world?
The Humanities Department invites students to capture these questions, explore them, challenge them, analyze them, and process them through various lenses. Students are then encouraged to reshape, redefine, and/or reject these questions in favor of their own. They do this through class meetings, individual and collaborative community engagement, special projects, literary and research analyses, and exposure to and processing of stimulating interdisciplinary theory and practice.
The Humanities Department strives to inspire students to bring to the world community original perspectives, inventive strategies, and knowledge that will contribute to the intellectual and creative spirit of our collective human experience.
What jobs are available for Humanities graduates?
Some of these will require additional study at the graduate level:
- Public relations specialist
- Nonprofit director
- Grant writer
- Professional fund-raiser
- Museum specialist
- Archives management
- Federal, state, and local official
The History Program
The Heritage University History program trains students to develop the habits of mind that allow them to explore the human experience across time and space, placing the history of the Northwest within the context of global forces that shape contemporary life. Utilizing an evolving set of tools to interpret the past with clarity, rigor, and an appreciation for interpretative debate, the History program fosters a disciplined understanding of the world that demands evidence, sophisticated use of information, and a deliberative stance to explain change and continuity over time.
In keeping with the vision of Heritage University to promote cooperation across cultural boundaries and because historians always study the Other—other cultures, times, places, and people—the History program emphasizes the ability to interpret the past in context, on its own terms. Such interpretation depends on the vast documentary record of the past. Consequently, the History program encourages a critical approach to sources that includes distinguishing between different types of primary and secondary sources, harnessing multiple interpretive tools to make sense of those sources, and maintaining a set of professional ethics and standards that demand peer review, citation, and toleration for the provisional nature of knowledge.
As participants in a profoundly public pursuit, the Heritage History program prepares graduates to practice active and empathetic citizenship and to utilize effective communication to make the past accessible to multiple audiences, including secondary students. This allows them to enter into contentious discussions with empathy and a balanced understanding of multiple perspectives. These skills prepare graduates to serve as models for contemporary social dialogue, engaged citizenship, conflict resolution, and lifelong learning. Furthermore, these competencies are essential to many professions that require complex analytical skills and empathetic communication.
Upon completion of the Bachelor of Arts in History, a student will be able to:
- Build historical knowledge.
- Gather and contextualize information in order to convey both the particularity of past lives and the scale of human experience.
- Recognize how humans in the past shaped their own unique historical moments and were shaped by those moments.
- Develop a body of historical knowledge with breadth of time an place-as well as depth of detail-in order to discern context.
- Distinguish the past from our very different present.
- Develop historical methods.
- Recognize history as an interpretive account of the human past-one that historians create in the present from surviving evidence.
- Collect, sift, organize, question, synthesize, and interpret complex material.
- Practice ethical historical inquiry that makes use of and acknowledges sources from the past as well as the scholars who have interpreted that past.
- Develop empathy toward people in the context of their distinctive historical moments.
- Recognize the provisional nature of knowledge, the disciplinary preference for complexity, and the comfort with ambiguity that history requires.
- Welcome contradictory perspectives and data, which enable us to provide more accurate accounts and construct stronger arguments.
- Describe past events from multiple perspectives.
- Explain and justify multiple causes of complex events and phenomena using conflicting sources.
- Identify, summarize, appraise, and synthesize other scholars’ historical arguments.
- Apply the range of skills it takes to decode the historical record becuase of its incomplete, complex, and contradictory nature.
- Consider a variety of historical sources for credibility, position, perspective, and relevance.
- Evaluate historical arguments, explaining how they were constructed and might be improved.
- Revise analyses and narratives when new evidence requires it.
- Create historical arguments and narratives.
- Generate substantive, open-ended questions about the past and develop research strategies to answer them.
- Craft well-supported historical narratives, arguments, and reports of research findings in a variety of media for a variety of audiences.
- Use historical perspective as central to active citizenship.
- Apply historical knowledge and historical thinking to contemporary issues.
- Develop positions that reflect deliberation, cooperation, and diverse perspectives.
The Humanities Program
The Humanities Program offers courses in American Cultural Studies, Native American and indigenous studies, history, humanities, philosophy, and religion, and Foundations for Univeristy Success. Thus, the Humanities program contributes to the university by providing many of the General University Course Requirements, especially those that contribute to the general education goals in communications skills, critical thinking, multicultural awareness, ethics, and humanities. The program thereby helps students acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to become effective participants in the political and cultural life and in the leadership of their chosen communities.
In addition, the Humanities program offers Associate of Arts degrees in both Humanities and American Indian Studies.The Bachelor of Arts degree in American Indian Studies or American Cultural Studies, provide opportunities to explore the arts, language, linguistics, history and culture, through various socio-political and historical lenses. These areas of focus provide excellent support for practical careers involving multicultural skills, as well as offer a critical overview of graduate studies in fields such as linguistics, museum science, professional writing, library science, history, American studies, and ethnic studies.
- Exhibit critical thinking skills in diverse oral and written contexts
- Develop a multicultural awareness in the contexts of language, the arts, community practices, and belief traditions
- Acquire the knowledge and abilities needed to become an effective participant in the political and cultural lives of communities, assuming leadership roles in many cases
- Identify different values and world views, with an emphasis on understanding relationships among government, religion, art, and science, and among individuals, society, and the global community
- Produce critically reflective, well-supported, organized, and clearly articulated research papers using both primary and secondary sources
- Recognize the connection among values, beliefs, and cultural forms, and among humanity’s economic, social, and environmental sustainability
Degrees and Programs Offered
The Humanities program offers courses to complete the following degrees and programs:
ProgramsAssociate of ArtsBachelor of ArtsMinor
CoursesAmerican Cultural StudiesCommunicationsEnglishHistoryHumanitiesPhilosophyReligion