Mission Statement

The study of history as an academic discipline requires rigorous inquiry and systematic interpretation of evidence. Historians attempt to analyze the events of the past, both to gain more understanding of human nature, in any place and at any time, and to explain the distinctive dynamics of particular societies, usually in regional and chronological contexts. In learning about the study of history, students need exposure to historiography and practice in evaluating a variety of interpretations of events and processes. Accordingly, history courses at the college level require substantial reading, reflection, and writing. Historians have a professional duty to encourage historical critical thinking among students and within the general public.

The History Faculty of the San Diego Mesa College Department of Social Sciences are in accord that their mission is wholly compatible with the general professional mission of all historians. The History Faculty understand these major responsibilities to be:

(1) The offering of high-quality instruction to all students;

(2) The advancement of student learning;

(3) Engagement in appropriate scholarly activity; and,

(4) The rendering of effective professional service.

Accordingly, both to assure a high level of teaching effectiveness, professional growth, and service to the college and community, and to advance student learning outcomes, the History Faculty endorse the following resolutions relating to the enumerated categories:

(1) Hiring: To recommend for tenure-track appointment only the best qualified persons, while remaining committed to diversifying our ranks, consistent with College and District policies;

(2) Facilities: To insist that the College and District honor their responsibility to provide high-quality facilities for teaching, meeting with students, preparing for classes, and conducting research.

(3) Curriculum: To develop, improve, and maintain course offerings that prepare students:

(A) For majors in history and related fields;
(B) To fulfill District, transfer, and general education breadth requirements mandating completion of multicultural, American Institutions, and State and Local Government courses; and
(C) To pursue opportunities for teacher continuing education [see College and District Mission Statements and College Student Learning Outcomes];

(4) Instruction: To pursue teaching excellence and to facilitate student success in fulfilling college, department, and history program learning outcomes by:

(A) Maintaining currency in the literature of the discipline;
(B) Incorporating standard and new pedagogical techniques, as appropriate;
(C) Assigning a college-level text, or its equivalent, in survey-level courses at least;
(D) Utilizing primary sources and appropriate monographic or other secondary sources (in addition to the text);
(E) Requiring that all students be evaluated on the basis of essay examinations, minimally equivalent to an 80-minute in-class examination, or a 5-page take-home essay;
(F) Weighting the majority of the students' course grade on written and, as appropriate, oral assignments;
(G) Maintaining uniformly high standards in the evaluation of student work and the determination of grades;
(H) Creating an appropriate professional environment for individual and small-group student consultations during office hours;
(I) Continuous advocacy that adjunct faculty members receive professional compensation and/or FLEX credit for serving students through holding office hours;
(J) Holding class, convening office hours, and attending meetings punctually, except in case of excused absence;
(K) Observing professional decorum in relations with students, colleagues, and classified staff, both in the classroom and across the campus;
(L) Upholding class enrollment caps, as set by the School Dean, in consultation with the Department Chair [See Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), Art. 7.6.];

(5) Scholarship and teaching: To engage in scholarship, which includes not only original research, but also the integration and application of knowledge, and the transformation of knowledge through teaching;

(6) Learning and idea dissemination: To continue learning and exchange of information utilizing all available assistance in scholarly activity and maintenance of good professional relations among faculty members within the Department and with faculty in other departments and institutions, such assistance including:

(A) The continued scheduling of tenured/tenure-track History faculty to teach no more than four days per week during a regular semester, whenever possible, and within the provisions of the CBA, Article VII;
(B) On-going access to available services, supplies, and equipment to the extent that such assistance does not jeopardize the classroom instructional program;

(7) Collegial relations and decorum: To observe standards of professionalism in collegial relations—consistent both with a "community of scholars" atmosphere that incorporates all tenured, tenure-track, adjunct faculty, and students, and with the American Historical Association's Statement on Standards and Professional Conduct (2008)—including, but not limited to, upholding equity in scheduling, funding access, committee service, and information dissemination;

(8) Dissemination of intellectual work: To share the results of scholarship with the widest possible audience, through publication, paper presentation, workshop and panel participation, and other forms of communication;

(9) Resource advocacy: To work with and through School, College, District, AFT Guild, and educational advocacy groups, and with state political representatives to increase and secure the resources necessary to enhance and sustain the Department in its mission;

(10) History advocacy: To participate in efforts by individuals, departments, and professional organizations devoted to the furtherance of history as a discipline and to the improvement of instruction and scholarship in history.

Original: November 1997
Revision1: October 2004
Revision 2: May 2009