As the chair of the Department of History & Politics, I would like to welcome you as a prospective student to Catawba College! On behalf of the department's historians and political scientists, I appreciate you taking the time to visit our website to learn more about what the department has to offer for bright, intellectually curious students.
We believe that the department's programs offer the range of "local to global" for our students, all designed to promote Catawba's mission of uniting a liberal arts education to preparation for professional opportunities.
We encourage students to participate in history and politics at the local level, but challenge them to see global aspects and impacts of their actions through study and understanding. We do these through key opportunities for students:
- Majors: students can major in history, pre-law, American politics, public administration, or international relations for their course of study.
- Internships: students can gain practical experience at places like NC Transportation Museum, U.S. Senate campaigns, Rowan County Board of Elections, U.S. Senate Offices in Washington, D.C., the City of Salisbury, even Charlotte's WSOC-TV on the relationship between media and politics.
- Coursework and special topics: In most introductory courses, there are 25-30 students; in upper-level courses for majors, you'll be typically one of 6 to 10 students. Along with a variety of standard courses offered in the curriculum, the department regularly offers specialized topics courses, such as American Civil Wrongs & Rights, Islam, Enlightened Kite Flying—A Focus on Ben Franklin, Rome: Art & Archeology, and Terrorism.
But these goals we have established, through the focus that we have adopted for the department, are best seen in the outcomes we have achieved by our department's alumni, such as those who have gone to graduate schools and law schools at:
- Wake Forest University
- Emory University
- UNC Chapel Hill
- George Washington University
- Harvard University's Law School
- The University of Pennsylvania
- Just in the past 2 years, we have placed students at the American University and the University of Georgia, considered in the top five programs in the nation in public affairs
- Penn State University's Law School
- Vermont Law School
- Campbell University's Law School
- The University of Delaware's Art Conservancy Program, considered one of the nation's premier graduate programs designed to educate and train conservation professionals who can carry out the examination, analysis, stabilization and treatment of art and artifacts
Our alumni represent some of the best of their fields. This year, we are currently conducting an external review of all of the major programs, and we surveyed our alumni for their impressions of how well prepared they were upon entering graduate school and their professional careers. Here's what a few of them have said:
- 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 truly enjoyed my experiences at Catawba studying history. I am glad to see the department encouraging leadership development and study abroad opportunities.
- My experience as a history major at Catawba was rewarding, relevant, and rigorous. 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.
We also asked current students for their reactions about the strengths of the program—here are some of their reactions.
- All professors are well-versed in the subject matter – easy for the student to trust the professor knowing what he is talking about.
- Very hard, but fair. Learned the philosophy of history and how to use resources.
- Forces students to think more broadly by asking students to foresee multi-level impacts of policy.
- The curriculum for the major is exactly what I want to study in school; the classes correspond to this idea of self-concerned learning. I feel like what I learn within this concentration helps me understand not only politics but how I intend to use my education in my life.
- Challenging, thought providing work
- Emphasis on thinking outside of own culture and norms.
- Prepares you for a broad spectrum of Government.
We believe we prepare students for the best of their promise—that's our purpose as the Department of History & Politics. I hope that you will consider joining these dynamic programs within a liberal arts setting to prepare you for the challenges of graduate education and professional careers. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and I wish all students the best in their academic pursuits.
Historically and politically yours,
Dr. J. Michael Bitzer
Associate Professor of Politics & History
2011-12 Swink Professor of Excellence in Teaching
Chair, Department of History & Politics