Welcome to the Department of History, Social Studies and Social Sciences

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Pursuing a degree in history or social studies……

Siena Heights University believes that individual educational goals should grow out of an encounter with the values of the reflective life, the free exploration of ultimate questions, the imperative to witness one’s values to the world, the concern for justice in human relationships, and participation in communal celebration. The study of history and social studies asks students to reflect on events in the past and how they shape the present and the future, provides students with the opportunity to explore deep questions about the place of humans in the world, encourages students to consider one’s own agency in historical events, and to seek elements of justice and peace in human endeavors.

Siena Heights University “Commits itself to challenge each of its students to expand his or her abilities in the primary realms of communication (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) and in the computational area,” “Provides encounters in which its students will be asked to examine the assumptions upon which they are basing their lives,” and “Provides encounters with moral dilemmas for its students in the hope that these may lead to greater ethical sensitivity.” The study of history and social studies meets these goals by encouraging students to develop written and oral communication, critical thinking and analysis skills. All of these skills are rooted in a Liberal Arts tradition in which history and social studies students build intellect, explore identity, discover creativity, develop leadership and nurture citizenship.

Useful Links & Information

Canvas Support for Students: 1-877-703-3906
Canvas Support for Faculty: 1-833-261-5314
IT Help Desk: 517-264-7655

Siena Heights Academic Catalog Links:

Bachelor of Arts, History

Teacher Education

Resources for history students:

SHU’s Library Website

JSTOR, an online database for research in history and social studies

Chicago Manual of Style Website

How to Write a History Paper (resource link to Harvard University’s website)

Temple of Apollo, Delphi, Greece. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth LaFray)

General Information

Faculty: Dr. Julieanna Frost, Professor of History and Dr. Elizabeth LaFray, Associate Professor of History, Program Coordinator

Julieanna Frost, Ph.D. is Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at Siena Heights University. Her main areas of research include American Culture, Religious Studies, and Women’s Studies. She is the author of the books, Teaching the Pure Lutheran Gospel: The Life of Rosa YoungImages of America: AdrianThe Worthy Virgins: Mary Purnell and her City of DavidChemo Fashion Fridays: One Woman’s Breast Cancer Journey and The Green Scriptures.

Email: jfrost@sienaheights.edu

Elizabeth LaFray, PhD is an Associate Professor of History and the Coordinator of the History and Social Studies Program. She earned her PhD in History at Central Michigan University and specializes in ancient history, classics, intellectual history and ancient concepts of soul and self.  Dr. LaFray teaches a wide variety of courses at SHU including in history, geography, and the liberal arts core. Her most recent publication, “Dangerous bodies: Plato’s Laws and the ideology of female inferiority in fourth-century Athens” appears in Women and the Ideology of Political Exclusion: From Classical Antiquity to the Modern Era, Routledge: 2018.

Email: elafray@sienaheights.edu

Why study History or Social Studies? The National Perspective



History is the practice of asking questions about the past. By doing so, historians explore human societies and change over time using a variety of lenses, including social, cultural, economic, intellectual, religious, and political. Using these lenses reveals the complexity of events in the past, from human relationships to impersonal forces, and allows learners to examine causal and contingent relationships. At Siena Heights University, students can take a variety of history courses, from HIS 306: Ancient Greece and Rome, to HIS 205: Race in U.S. History. Students majoring in history can expect to complete their degree in approximately four years (attending class full time) and work directly with faculty in the History department from day one until graduation.

Social Studies is the integrated study of social sciences and humanities. It includes coursework in history, psychology, political science, anthropology, sociology, economics, philosophy and religion. At Siena Heights University, it is a content area coupled with a major in Teacher’s Education. Students pursuing this pathway work with History and Education faculty and take a variety of courses from both areas.

History and Social Studies Program Outcomes:

Students will have evidenced acquisition of critical thinking skills.

Students will have demonstrated the ability to locate pertinent historical data and effectively organized it into a coherent framework.

Students will have exhibited a practical application of selected principles of historical method.

Students will have identified relevant relationships between historical data and other fields/subfields.

The last few years, having a history degree has helped me immensely in life after college. My career path has taken me a lot of customer service and sales opportunities, which is not the first career path that comes to mind when thinking of a scholar with a history degree. People ask me about my degree and ask me if it was even valuable. To me, having a history degree means more than being able to explain famous historical figures and events. It gives me the ability to dive deeper into a problem. It gives me the ability to see what a customer has gone through in the past and see how their history shapes their present behaviors. I analyze that history and use what’s worked in the past to solve that problem. Having a history degree has given me a leg up in every job I have had because it allows me to view things from a different perspective. I would never change the degree I got despite not using it in the traditional sense, and anyone that obtains a history degree will have that same skills I possess now!

Justin Recio, B.A. History 2017