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About the Department

Catawba College's Department of History & Politics seeks to help students develop the knowledge, abilities, and values that are central in the study of history, politics and in liberal education to prepare them for success in later life as individuals and as members of a democratic society. In doing so, the department seeks to ensure that students:

  • embrace intellectual curiosity and growth;
  • practice citizenship, service, and civility;
  • develop respect for the intrinsic value of all human beings;
  • and engage in a process of academic reflection during their collegiate career.

Catawba's Department of History & Politics offers a wide-range of learning opportunities in U.S. and international history and politics. As either a history or politics major, you will be asked to think critically and independently, to demonstrate strong communication skills, and to accept responsibility for the development of your own educational career, under the guidance of the department's faculty.

In a RECENT SURVEY of history and political science alumni from 1995-2006, the department garnered the following high marks:

  • 97% of our alumni strongly agreed or agreed that department professors were accessible outside of class.
  • 91% of our alumni strongly agreed or agreed that department professors challenged their own ideas, the ideas of other students, and those presented in readings and other course material.
  • 97% of our alumni strongly agreed or agreed that "my professors’ expectations for the quality of student work were high. "
  • 94% of our alumni strongly agreed or agreed that their major "was helpful in teaching me to think critically—such as withholding judgment, raising questions, and examining contrary views. "
  • 91% of our alumni strongly agreed or agreed that their major "was helpful in teaching me to think analytically—such as making logical inferences and reaching correct conclusions. "
  • 91% of our alumni strongly agreed or agreed that their major "was helpful in teaching me to think creatively—such as developing new ideas or arguments through written and oral communication. "
  • 93.9% of our alumni strongly agreed or agreed that they have a positive attitude toward their major program.

Here are some written comments from our alumni as well:

"I believe that the combination of departments currently underway will provide necessary and critical additional resources to better serve current and future students. While I thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from my experiences in the political science department I have long felt that the department could accomplish and achieve even more with additional capacity. It is my hope, that in the future, this combined entity will be able to provide students an interdisciplinary understanding of today's global economy and community and through such, better prepare them for the personal and professional challenges that await them."

"I was a double major in History (Advisor-McAllister) and Political Science pre-law (Advisor-Silverburg). They are two of the best."

"I truly enjoyed my experiences at Catawba studying history. I am glad to see the department encouraging leadership development and study abroad opportunities."

"I transferred into Catawba from junior college and I was received openly by Dr. Silverburg. Over my three years at Catawba I developed the utmost respect for Dr. Silverburg and his way of instruction. He developed my way of thinking out side of the box and not being judgmental toward any side. This has paid off huge in my profession as an officer in the U. S. Army. With a very busy schedule, I still am trying to come back and thank Dr. Silverburg and the rest of the staff for preparing me present my best toward numerous situations."

"My experience as a history major at Catawba was regarding, relevant, and rigorous. In the merger, do not allow Catawba’s blend of history as a humanities and a social science be curbed or compromised. The humanities education I received at Catawba was one of the dearest aspects of my study there. Dr. McAllister, Dr. Griffith and Dr. Freeze, thank you for the high caliber instruction and inspiration you gave. I am a better teacher and continue to be a better student because of my experience in your classrooms. The history department always garners my accolades and recommendation to others."

"My educational experience at Catawba was very positive. It prepared me for further studies at a much larger institution where I pursued a Master’s degree. The professors were always ready to further discuss any topics out of class and to clarify any material. The classes taken as part of my History major often required extensive reading and writing. I later found this emphasis helped me to comfortably complete my post-graduate coursework."

"I am a second year law student and was very well prepared for law school. Professor Silverburg's exams and teaching methods required extensive preparation and analytical thinking. Professor Bitzer's classes gave me a fundamental understanding of politics and public policy. He also really developed my researching and writing skills. I believe that my education was very well-rounded being that I also got a background in International Relations, Middle Eastern politics and even Terrorism. I am also glad that my liberals’ arts education gave me insight to every subject."

For more specific information about the two academic programs, please click on one of the following: