Students question Southern’s history requirements

Dr. Larry Martin

Dr. Larry Martin

Mandi Steele

Though Missouri Southern tries to stay focused on its international mission, when it comes to history requirements, national interests rank first.

Gabe Mankin, senior mass communications major, came to Southern with two world civilization history classes behind him. He said he was annoyed to discover the credits wouldn’t transfer from his old college because they were not U.S. history classes. Mankin had to take both of the College’s required core curriculum U.S. history classes.

“Basically, all they were were overviews of what I’ve already learned in high school,” he said.

Mankin believes students go through enough American history “rigmarole” in high school, and Southern should offer and accept world history classes for core.

“If they’re going to call themselves the international college, I think it’s the only right thing to do,” he said.

“We don’t necessarily require, nor expect, every course will focus on international [studies],” said Dr. Richard Miller, head of the social science department, who believes both U.S. history courses are needed.

He said many high school students don’t put much effort into history at the high school level.

“If we have a limited exposure to present history, I think it’s critical they understand the history of our society,” Miller said.

For those who wish to study world history or civilization for their major, those classes are offered, he said.

“Before you understand the breadth of world history, I think you do need an understanding of your own,” Miller said.

Lauren Johnston, sophomore education/German major, thinks Southern should require both U.S. and world history as core.

“We have an international mission and not to require world history just seems to make our whole international mission a moot point,” she said.

Learning about America’s heritage from a world view is important, Johnston said.

“That’s our roots,” she said. “That’s where we came from.”

Dr. J. Larry Martin, vice president for academic affairs, said Missouri requires all college graduates to have had at least one course covering U.S. history.

“It’s state law,” he said.

The College used to only require one U.S. history course, but in the 1989-91 catalog the curriculum was changed to require both 1492-1877 and 1877-present history courses.

“The idea was that you’d have all of American history instead of pre-Civil War or post-Civil War,” Martin said.

Southern decided to change its history program about the same time many studies were coming out showing that many college students didn’t know much about their own country’s history, he said.

“It’s hard to be a citizen if you’re not an educated citizen, especially in a democracy,” Martin said.

Mankin transferred to Southern from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., where he said college credits cost around $1,000 per credit. Not only were his world history classes expensive, but he said they were some of the hardest courses to take at Benedictine. He doesn’t understand why such an internationally-oriented college like Southern wouldn’t accept his world