Welcome from the Chair
The Department of History at Loyola University Chicago enjoys a long tradition of distinguished scholarship and effective teaching. Here at Loyola we believe strongly that these activities are mutually reinforcing, so members of the department engaged in research around the world publish their findings in books and articles; but we also bring that knowledge to our students in the classroom and share it with the general public through lectures, exhibits, blogs, video courses and op-ed pieces.
Since 1992, Loyola historians have published more than 60 books, many of which have won significant prizes and been reviewed in the New York Times, the Times Literary Supplement, the Chicago Tribune and other national and international media. Members of the department have won highly-competitive and prestigious fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (9), the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (4), the National Humanities Center (2), the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (3), the American Council of Learned Societies (4), and the National Science Foundation. In 2007, the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index recognized Loyola’s History Department as the sixth most productive in the nation, just behind Harvard and Yale. In 2010, the National Research Council rankings placed the Loyola History Department in the top 35 of all departments in the United States. Members of the department have won or been nominated for the Sujack Award for Teaching Excellence and other Loyola teaching prizes more than 15 times; some have been nominated for national awards including the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars Faculty of the Year Award. Three members of the department have been named Loyola Faculty Members of the Year or Graduate Faculty Members of the Year.
Each semester the Department of History serves between 1,500 and 2,000 students in the Loyola Core Historical Knowledge Area and approximately 700 students in our upper division courses. In 2013, the Department registered 263 majors and 83 minors. The Department of History is committed to interdisciplinary: History faculty teach in interdisciplinary programs such as Asian Studies, African Studies and the African Diaspora, Catholic Studies, Environmental Studies, Global and International Studies, Islamic World Studies, Latin American Studies, Peace Studies, Polish Studies, Urban Studies, and Women and Gender Studies. We enroll students majoring in these and other other departments and programs as well as the Schools of Business, Communications, Education and Nursing. Our courses range across the whole span of human history and the five continents on which it has been lived, from the Vikings to Slavery and Abolition to the Sixties. In addition, students have the opportunity to apply to take the Newberry Undergraduate Seminar, which gives them fellow status and the opportunity to perform research at one of the world’s great research libraries.
In the past five years, the Department of History has developed a variety of new courses and programs to enhance the undergraduate major. Our Historical Methods course introduces history majors to more advanced forms of historical writing and better prepares them for the graduate school application process. An appealing capstone option is now available to all history majors. Student internships now number between 10 to 15 each semester, with opportunities to work and learn at local institutions ranging from the Field Museum to the Chicago Maritime Society, to the Black Metropolis Research Consortium to the Archives of the Archdiocese of Chicago to television station WTTW. Participation in the History Honors Program has tripled since its inception a few years ago, and the Department sponsors a thriving Phi Alpha Theta chapter and an Undergraduate History Club. The Department has successfully developed a workable assessment tool in the portfolio. And with the addition of specialists in African and South Asian history, we now offer courses on 25–35% of the world’s population that was previously ignored.
Students also have the opportunity to compete for the Department’s Undergraduate Essay and Blogging Contests and the Polish History Scholarship and have done consistently well in university wide competitions such as the Library Undergraduate Research Paper Award and the Ricci Scholarship competition to work at the Rome and Beijing Campuses. On average approximately 35% of history majors graduate with academic honors (lauds). The Department hosts an annual reception in May where all graduating history majors are recognized for their achievements.
The graduate program in History offers a comprehensive curriculum in United States, Public, Modern European, Transnational Urban, and Medieval and Renaissance histories, including the only doctoral program in Public History in the Chicago area, one of the first in the nation. The PhD and MA programs each currently enroll more than 50 students. In 2013, the History Department’s graduate programs attracted 137 applicants. Approximately 23 courses are offered each year at the graduate level, with an average enrollment of 11 students. In addition, individual faculty members offer numerous directed studies, dissertation seminars, internships, and practicums. Graduate students in History can compete for the McCluggage Research Paper Award. Since 2005, the History Graduate Student Organization has mounted a student-run national conference for graduate students that attracts panelists from programs from across the nation.
From 2000 to 2015, 70 students received Loyola doctoral degrees in History. Of the 70 recipients, 14 currently hold tenure-track appointments, 30 others hold full-time teaching or administrative appointments in educational institutions, and 12 others hold full-time positions in public history or cultural institutions.
Dr. Stephen Schloesser, SJ