The Chronicle of Higher Education published data that shows UVA Wise ranks second out of 485 public colleges and universities in the nation in the percentage of undergraduates majoring in history.
To compare, UVA Wise tops nine percent while Louisiana State University is in the 1.3 percentile.
“History faculty at UVA Wise genuinely desire to engage students in their discipline, but they also seek to promote an understanding of and appreciation for the liberal arts,” Academic Dean Amelia Harris said. “While fostering crucial liberal arts skills such as critical thinking and analytical writing, they also encourage their students to develop a balanced approach to their own education. They stress the need to connect historical knowledge and scholarship to other ways of knowing and in so doing enrich the lives and capabilities of their graduates.”
History Professor Tom Costa was pleased by the high percentage.
“This is extremely gratifying to learn,” Costa said. “We think that the History major is ideal for a small liberal arts college. We try to teach students critical thinking, excellence in written and oral communication, and howto develop a historical sense.”
Costa said the department also offers opportunities for cross-disciplinary work with the courses in Philosophy, Women’s Studies, and Appalachian Studies.
Dylan Mabe, a student who is double majoring in History and English, said it was no surprise to see the College ranked high in the report.
“Halfway through my English degree, I began thinking about double majoring in History,” Mabe said. “I have always been interested in the study of history, but I did not think I could fit another major into my schedule. However, the flexibility of the history major made it more than possible.”
Mabe said the flexibility of the major was only a small portion of his decision to double major.
“Most of what motivated me were the incredibly passionate, caring, and helpful professors in the department,” he said. “They went above and beyond for me before I was even an official part of the department, and that made all the difference.”