is a wide-ranging discipline, its limits being only the interests and capabilities
of the individual. Whether dealing with social, political, economic, intellectual,
scientific, psychological, or diplomatic history, the concern is to find how people
lived and how they dealt with their problems. It is more an interpretive study than
a study of facts; as such, it is relevant to our own day as it provides us with
a means of measuring our own performance against that of our ancestors. In analyzing
the transformations of societies of other times, students acquire the analytical
tools for better comprehending their own social environment. In addition, the study
of history provides a vocabulary of examples of human activity, which brings greater
awareness to the study of other intellectual disciplines.
DEPARTMENTAL GOALS AND DESCRIPTION
The history department aims at more than guiding students toward learning about
the past. It also trains students to think critically, research effectively, and
write lucidly. Students learn, through classroom experience and examinations, as
well as through individual research projects, how to analyze both the form and content
of source material; how to discern historical trends and patterns; how to postulate
theses and support them with evidence; and, how to present conclusions in a compelling,
well-organized fashion. Several speaking-intensive courses also train students to
communicate effectively in public-settings.
The history program at Randolph-Macon is comprehensive enough to prepare student
for graduate study and general enough to provide a solid liberal arts background
for students seeking the bachelor's as their highest degree. Flexibility is provided
in the History Department by independent study options, J-term courses, and the
option to complete a senior project (undergraduate thesis). In addition, History
students are encouraged, but not required, to enroll for an internship or for study
The particular point of view of this department is that history can best be learned
where there is close collaboration between teacher and student. To that end, classes
are kept small, even at the introductory level, and thereby considerable personal
attention can be given to a student’s work by the professor.
CONTACT INFORMATION Professor
Mark Malvasi, Chair
P.O. Box 5005
Ashland, Virginia 23005-5505
SAMPLE OF COURSE OFFERINGS
*Courses offered through the Randolph-Macon Study Abroad Program in England at Wroxton
Senior Project & Independent Study:
The optional senior project enables students to gain experience in historical research
and writing techniques as they prepare a major research paper. Independent study
projects have spanned a wide range of topics; some have concentrated on historiography,
while others have focused on areas of research and reading.
One month programs have given students unique perspectives on history and opportunities
to study history while traveling abroad. For example, an interdisciplinary course
offered jointly with the Sociology Department enabled students to study the African
diaspora and Latin American social and environmental issues while visiting Rio de
Janeiro and several other sites in Brazil. Other courses have traveled to Ghana,
Japan, and China, allowing students to study the past while experiencing the cultures
Students interested in internships may work out special field-study programs with
department faculty members. In the recent past, history majors have completed internships
with the Valentine Museum, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Berkeley Estate
while several others have assisted at the Richmond Holocaust Museum and on the Hanover
County History Project. Click
here for a list of selected internship opportunities.
A degree in history prepares graduates for a variety of career possibilities. A
small number of students each year continue on to graduate study in history, while
others use a degree in history as preparation for law school or the seminary. Some
recent Randolph- Macon history majors have pursued careers in museum work, historic
preservation, and library work. Additional fields open to history majors include
public administration, investment banking, editing, employment with the federal
government, and teaching. See the "current
students" page for more information on career opportunities.
History majors wishing to teach at the elementary or secondary level can meet their
state certification requirements by enrolling in the appropriate education courses
David Balch: Vice President for Strategic Planning and Marketing,
United Way of Dade County, Miami, FL.
Timothy "Joey" Crawford: Social Studies Teacher, Amherst
Rose Marie Downs: Attorney, Richmond, VA.
Ann W. Graves: Professor of Special Education, San Diego
State University, San Diego, CA.
Dennis J. Hoover: Attorney, Baltimore, MD.
Timothy W. Nelson: Logistics Engineer, Newport News Shipbuilding,
Newport News, Va.
Henry Hunter Odom, Jr.: Co-owner/Sales, Suffolk Insurance
Company, Suffolk, VA.
Henry Orr Robertson, Jr.: History, Louisiana State University,
Nick Seetin: Graduate Student, Ancient History, University of Maryland.
Scott M. Stroh III: Director, George Mason's Gunston Hall,
Mason Neck, VA.
William Sudduth, III: Head of the Department of Documents & Microforms,
University of South Carolina.
Danielle Swords: Director of Marketing & Publicity,
King Promotions, Inc., NC
Mark Carter Temple: Bureau Chief for the International Research
& Exchanges Board, Bucharest, Romania.
Professor Mark Malvasi, Chair
P.O. Box 5005
Ashland, Virginia 23005-5505