Friday, January 16, 2015

The Earnings Potential of History Majors

Last December, Perspective on History, the newsmagazine of the American Historical Association, published an interesting article on a study of the earnings potential of history majors. As you can see from the graphic, the study provides enlightening information about the gender gap, long-term prospects, and the impact of graduate degrees. Go here to read it!

Monday, January 12, 2015

St Bonaventure Cemetery Map Unveiled

Roll the drums!  Pull back the curtain!

As documented on elsewhere on this blog, starting last spring students enrolled in History 419:  Digital History and Archival Practices began the process of creating an interactive map of the St. Bonaventure Cemetery.  Dennis and I were introducing GIS into the history curriculum.  Mistakes were made.  False starts?  Yes.  However, these provided valuable learning opportunities and they could all be fixed.  Jason has been working in the archives with Dennis to get the map ready, so here it is.  

St. Bonaventure Cemetery Map

This will be a ongoing process.  Students taking History 419 can plan on continuing working with GIS and the cemetery records.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tuning into the Digital Age

One discussion thread at the recent AHA meeting was the how should the history major adapt to the digital age.  Increasingly I've preferred "Information Age" rather than digital age or computer age because, for me, it evokes other pivotal transitions such as the industrial revolution.  W. Caleb McDaniel's piece "The History Major in the Digital Age" offers a nice discussion of why historians need to grapple with the digital age in the classroom and beyond.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Deep Mapping

"Stadiumville and deep maps" is a story from the Public History Commons on the use of digital technologies, archival materials and GIS for a deep mapping project.

Tuning into History as PreMed?

I'm back from the American Historical Association (AHA) Meeting in New York City where Dr. Marinari and I participated in a series of Tuning Workshops.  The Tuning Project focuses defining the core characteristic of history and what a person taking a history class, or majoring in history, should know and should be able to do.  In other words, what is the value of history?  There will be much more on that to come (including many opportunities to pun).  We covered a lot of ground in three days and six or seven meetings and workshops.

One participant made the point that history is a good premed program.  Sounds unorthodox?  To a certain extent it is, but there are studies suggesting that it has its virtues.  Think about that visit to a doctor's office.  What does the doctor do?  You outline a problem (my xxx hurts).  The doctors asks questions such as when did it start hurting, has the pain changed, did something change it, etc.  He or she then consults the paper or digital record to flesh out the narrative that explains the problem.   In other words, he or she determines your medical history.  Sure, you won't be treated with history (I hope), but historical thinking is a critical part of the process.  What does professor Google tell us about history and premed?  Here are two stories.

Liberal Arts v. Premed Degrees for Med School Applications

So your doctor majored in history?

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Importance of the Humanities

The Washington Post just published an opinion piece on the importance of valuing the humanities during a time when everyone is emphasizing STEM fields. It's titled: "We’re way too obsessed with pushing science and math on our kids." Click here to read it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Murray Scholar Joseph Pinter on his Award

Rick Reilly spoke for the entire audience during his speech at Santa Anita Racetrack.

“Being the next Jim Murray?” Reilly, of ESPN, asked. “That’s like saying, ‘Tiger –– meet my sister. Shaq –– you shoot the technical. Donald Sterling is hosting the Kwanzaa party.’

“You can’t just replace Jim Murray.”

Reilly accepted the Great Ones Award from the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation (JMMF), and brought the room to laughter with his opening line at the JMMF dinner in October.


While Reilly’s remarks were slightly off color –– he’s never been one to shy away from those –– they are completely true. No one can call himself or herself the next Jim Murray.

Murray’s style of writing, with humor, sarcasm and wit, will be tough for any columnist to replicate.

He was the voice of his readers, the speaker for the community.

Fortunately though, every year a handful of journalism students from across the country can call themselves the next class of Murray Scholars.

This year, that included myself. It took days to actually set in that I had won one of the five scholarships. I thought the chances of my essay being selected over students from bigger journalism schools were too slim to even consider.

I wrote my column on Bill Swan, chairman of the board of trustees during the 2003 basketball scandal. I was certain the judges would choose a different entry.

I was wrong.