Tuning the History Discipline in the United States
The American Historical Association is coordinating a nationwide, faculty-led project to articulate the disciplinary core of historical study and to define what a student should understand and be able to do at the completion of a history degree program.
The updated map at right shows institutions where faculty historians have been involved in the project. The blue locations were part of the first wave of AHA participants, beginning in 2012. The red locations joined the project in January 2015, as part of the second phase of implementation.
This project has brought together accomplished history faculty historians from a range of 2- and 4-year institutions across the country to define the core disciplinary elements of historical study and the goals of the undergraduate history major. Faculty participants have been working together to develop common language that communicates to a broad audience the significance and value of a history degree. We encourage you to read the current version of the discipline core, competencies, and student learning outcomes, available here. To learn about the history of the Tuning project and how the process works, read more.
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Events in Tuning
As part of the AHA's ongoing efforts to support discussions of history curricula across institutions and educational levels, we are working with participants in the Tuning project to organize events around the country. Please join fellow historians at one of the following sites:
- August 5-6, 2016 - Second Annual Texas Conference on Introductory History Courses (San Antonio, TX)
- March 31, 2016 - Webinar with Steven Mintz on Teaching Innovative Introductory History Courses (ONLINE)
- Jan. 8, 2016 - AHA Workshop on Undergraduate Teaching: Assignments Charrette for Introductory Courses (Atlanta, Georgia)
- Oct. 10, 2015 - Bay Area History Tuning Conference (Hayward, CA)
- Oct. 9, 2015 - Southern California History Tuning Conference (Long Beach, CA)
- Oct. 8, 2015 - Southeast History Tuning Conference (Tallahassee, FL)
- Aug. 28-29, 2015 - Texas Conference on Introductory History Courses (Austin, TX)
2013 Tuning Core Document
The AHA’s Tuning project's Discipline Core is a statement of the central habits of mind, skills, and understanding that students achieve when they major in history. The document reflects the iterative nature of the tuning process. The faculty director of the project, Anne F. Hyde (Colorado Coll.), incorporated feedback that the AHA received after the first version was published. We hope that the new version can again serve as the basis for conversations among history faculty, and between faculty and students, alumni, public historians, parents, administrators, employers, and others about the value of studying history in particular.
2016 Session on Tuning History in General Education
The 2016 "Tuning History in General Education Courses" session considered some of the big questions that the AHA Tuning project has raised about the history major and directed them instead to General Education and entry-level courses for non-majors. Whether we teach at the K-12, community college, or four year level, as history educators we face a common question: What is our purpose in history education? What do we want students to gain from the study of history? Chaired by Lendol Calder (Augustana Coll.), the session featured speakers Daniel J. McInerney (Utah State Univ.), Sarah Elizabeth Shurts (Bergen Community Coll.), and Louis Rodriquez (Kutztown Univ.).
Meet the Tuners
Anne Hyde, AHA Teaching Division, Colorado College, chair
Patricia Limerick, AHA Teaching Division, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, ex officio
John Bezis-Selfa, Wheaton College, Mass.
Elizabeth Lehfeldt, Cleveland State University
Gregory Nobles, Georgia Institute of Technology
Kevin Reilly, Raritan Valley Community College
Stefan Tanaka, Univ. of California San Diego
Faculty participants from history departments around the country have reviewed aspects of their home-department curricula. AHA is now able to offer examples of revised curricular materials from a broad range of institutions: rubrics, assignments, statements of course outcomes and degree requirements, survey questions for history majors or alumni, and other types of materials. If you're looking for ideas for your own department, check these out!