Another distinctive aspect of our history program is an emphasis on student participation. Our classes are small—usually 10 to 20 students—and in virtually every class there is a great deal of discussion. You also pursue original research, make oral presentations, and write papers that in some instances are read at professional meetings. The history curriculum has recently expanded to include studies in Latin American, African, Caribbean, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Islamic histories.
At Emory & Henry, we believe that history is exciting because of the variety it offers—the challenge of trying to comprehend the impact of a civilization and the insights gained from focusing on a single individual or event.
Our course offerings will provide a foundation in the broad understanding of history while focusing on specific themes, periods, regions and ideas.
The program offers a B.A. degree in history, and also includes a minor in history or a minor in history with an emphasis in African-American Studies.
Special Internship Opportunities
You may encounter history through projects ranging from internships and research papers to hands-on work with a large collection of Cherokee and Mississippian artifacts.
Students travel to the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta, or the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., and gather oral histories from throughout the Virginia Highlands for the Appalachian Oral History Project. Some students study in England, Italy, China and Brazil. Internships and directed studies are available through the Washington County Historical Society and the Holston Conference Archives here on campus. A history day for high school students also is held each spring at the college.
Students have participated in internships at Harpers Ferry National Park, Library of Virginia, Gray (Tenn.) Natural History Museum (Gray Fossil Site), Whites Mill, Museum of the Middle Appalachians, and the Library of Congress.
Southwest Virginia is rich with history. The college itself is a designated Virginia Historic Landmark, one of many in the immediate area. The cemetery near campus has 206 Civil War graves and the original construction of the college administration building served as a Confederate barracks and hospital. Other historic sites in nearby Abingdon include the Martha Washington Inn, the Cave House and Barter Theatre.
The M.A. Ed. in American History is an important opportunity for those currently teaching, and it is making good school teachers into great school teachers. The new M.Ed. program enables a college student to earn a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree and to be fully certified and endorsed in more than one branch of social studies, and all within five years.
E&H history professors believe that we should help each of our students in moving from undergraduate studies to a career or to advanced study. We help students find jobs and internships and help them in their preparations for advanced study.
Our fastest growing sector of job opportunities is in public history. More traditional careers in the ministry, public school education, and private sector business remain well traveled by our graduates. The successes of our graduates reflect the strength of Emory & Henry’s history program. The M.Ed. in American History is an important opportunity for those currently teaching, and it is making good school teachers into great school teachers. The new M.Ed. program enables a college student to earn a master’s degree and a bachelors degree and to be fully certified and endorsed in more than one branch of social studies, and all within five years.
Faculty Honors and Recognitions
- Dr. Little: National Endowment for Humanities Summer Fellowship, Harvard University
- Dr. Roper: National Endowment for Humanities Fellowship, CASE/Carnegie Professor of the Year
- Dr. Wells: General Board of Higher Education & Ministry of the United Methodist Church Award for Excellence in Teaching
- Zachary Woods Dresser,’05, M.Div., Yale University, 2008 and is currently completing Ph.D. dissertation in history, Rice University.
- Brooklyn Sawyer, ’02, attorney, Federal District Attorney’s office, Nashville, Tenn.; J.D., University of Tennessee Law School; M.A., history, East Tennessee State University.
- Jennifer Belcher, ’02, attorney, Roanoke, Va. J.D., Washington and Lee, 2005 (editor of the law review while there).
- Chris Kolakowski, ’99, director of the Perryville battlesite in Kentucky, one of the most frequently visited Civil War sites.
- Sharon Wiley, ’95, pastor, State Street United Methodist Church, Bristol, Va.; M.Div., Chandler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.
- Paige Newman, ’91, archivist, Virginia Historical Society. M.S. in library science, Catholic University of America. She helped process and catalog the letters of the R.E. Lee Family that were secreted in an Arlington bank vault.
- Morgan Griffith, ’80, attorney, majority leader of the Virginia Senate. J.D., Washington & Lee.
- Kenneth Noe, ’79, Draughon Professor of History, Auburn University; Ph.D., University of Illinois, and author of three scholarly monographs about the Civil War.
- Wally Owen, ’78, formerly with National Archives, now public history consultant with his own agency.
- Charles W. Sydnor, ’63, former president and director of major and corporate gifts, Emory & Henry College; Ph.D., Vanderbilt University; author of Soldiers of Destruction. Winner of James Harvey Robinson Award for European History.