Thursday, April 3, 2014

URCA symposium

Quite a few history and political science majors gave presentations in the College of Arts and Sciences 2014 Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium this week: Lindsey Richey (on James Madison and British Commercial Policy in the Making of the U.S. Constitution, 1783-89), Kelsey Golec (The History and Development of the Ohio Juvenile Justice System), Zachary Hoffman (Frederick Douglass and the Ideals of Manhood),  Joseph Griffith (the 'Almost Chosen People': Lincoln's Use of Scripture and Biblical Allusions in the Gettysburg Address & the Second Inaugural), and Johanna Mateo (Latin America: The Impact of Spanish Colonial Rule). That gives a pretty good idea of the variety of interests that students pursue in the department.  Congratulations to all you participants and the organizers of the symposium.  For more information and even some photos, see here.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Would You Hire Socrates?

This op-ed by Scott Samuelson in the Wall Street Journal gets it right on the value of studying the liberal arts.  Studying the humanities does pay, but "thinking of the value of the humanities predominately in terms of earnings and employment is to miss the point. America should strive to be a society of free people deeply engaged in "the pursuit of happiness," not simply one of decently compensated and well-behaved employees."

Here is the whole article: 

The myth that studying the humanities doesn't pay was recently exploded by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.

Their study, released in January, analyzed Census Bureau data on the education and occupation of about three million U.S. residents. It found that "at peak earnings ages (56-60 years) workers who majored as undergraduates in the humanities or social sciences earn annually on average about $2,000 more than those who majored as undergraduates in professional or pre-professional fields."

Their study showed that the overwhelming majority of employers are desperate to hire graduates who have "a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems." These are the very skills that we associate with the study of the humanities

As someone who teaches philosophy at a community college, I'm grateful for such efforts to defend the liberal arts from the current assaults against them. But I have my doubts that selling philosophy as a path to future riches is going to be effective. How many parents are going to pay for their kids to take Ethical Theory so that they can perform better at Goldman Sachs? I've yet to have a student read Aristotle's "Metaphysics" and exclaim, "This is really going to pay dividends at IBM!"

Friday, March 28, 2014

The New Edition of Forum is Out

The 2014 edition of "The Forum Book Review" is out.  Edited by Tommy Pochedly and Zac Hoffman, it has reviews of ten books, all written by AU students.  Lots of good stuff.  Among the books reviewed: David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, by Malcolm Gladwell, Quo Vadis, by Henryk Sienkiewicz, The Law: The Classic Blueprint for a Free Society, by Frederic Bastiat, Coolidge, by Amity Shlaes, and We Got Him! A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein, by Lt. Col. Steven Russell.   Here is the nice cover (though the picture doesn't do it justice):

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


That's how long it took history major Drew Windle to win the DII national indoor title in the 800 meter run last weekend in Winston-Salem, NC (he was also part of the distance medley that won a national championship for AU).  His best time for the year, 1:46:52, makes him #2 in the NCAA rankings for the 800, the fastest American runner and the only DII athlete among the fastest 19 men in the country. Pretty darn fast for an historian; actually, could we say that Drew is the fastest history major in history?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Event: How Should the United States Act Towards Iran?

On March 20, 2014, Dr. Michael Rubin from the America Enterprise Institute will debate the question, How Should the United States Act Towards Iran?, with Dr. Rene Paddags from the department of history & political science. The event will take place at 7:00pm in the Ashbrook Center.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

As You Like It

Last semester some faculty and students went to see Shakespeare's play Richard III at the Great Lakes Theater in Cleveland. It was such a good performance that we thought we'd try it again this semester. This time around the play is Shakespeare's As You Like It.  We have reserved tickets on Saturday, April 12, at 1:30 PM.  There is also a half hour pre-play talk at 12:30 we can attend if we want to.
Students who want to go must contact Dr. Edith Foster by next Thursday (March 20) with $13 for their tickets; professors should do the same, but their cost is $20 per ticket. 
The deadline is firm, since Dr. Foster will have to confirm and pay for the tickets on the 21st.