Department of History and Political Science
William Dean (1991)
B.A., 1970, Asbury College
M.A., 1975, Portland State University
Ph.D., 1985, University of Iowa
Stephen Lowe (1993)
B.A., 1988, Olivet Nazarene University
M.A., 1991, Ohio University
Ph.D., 1993, Ohio University
David Van Heemst (1993)
B.A., 1988, Dordt College
M.A., 1990, The American University
Ph.D., 1993, University of Virginia
M.P.C., 1996, Olivet Nazarene University
M.A., 1998, Olivet Nazarene University
David Claborn (2006)
B.A., 1995, University of North Texas
Ph.D.,2007, University of Massachusetts
The mission of the Department of History and Political Science at Olivet Nazarene University is (1) to provide students with a conceptual historical framework for a liberal arts education through the general education curriculum; (2) to pursue the integration of a Biblically based philosophy of history and the best of current scholarship; and (3) to ground students in these disciplines in the requisite content as well as critical-thinking and research skills.
There are three dimensions of the study of history and political science incorporated in this mission statement:
Content: First, we intend to present all Olivet students with the heritage and values of the past that define our civilization, and second, we intend to facilitate the mastery of basic historical and political data and theory, and a Christian conceptual framework in which to integrate this knowledge into a coherent worldview.
Application: Neither history nor political science is the antiquarian pursuit of esoteric facts. We intend to make the study of the past a door of understanding of the present, and a guide to responsibility for the future.
Skills: Critical thinking, accurate communication, research methods, interpretation of facts, and understanding of causation have daily application for many careers outside the narrower boundaries of academic disciplines. We intend to encourage the mastery of these skills by our majors and minors.
The study of history and political science is foundational to a liberal arts education. The curriculum and the classroom interaction have three primary components.
History and political science are the story of the human family — the options open to generations past, the choices they made, and the consequences of those decisions. It is our own story when we study Western civilization or American civilization; it is a new and fascinating story different from our own when we study Asia, Africa, or Latin America. We cannot hope to answer the big questions about our role in or our responsibilities in the world without an understanding of the story.
History and political science are also a cluster of skills. These disciplines teach students to think clearly and critically, to ask discerning and probing questions, to identify faulty reasoning and logic in ourselves and in others, to spot bias and self interest, to write clearly and concisely, and to find and evaluate data. These skills are basic to many careers, and to civilization itself.
History and political science are also the story of God at work in the world. Christianity is embedded in and revealed through the story of the human race, and that story is not only the foundation of our culture, but of our faith as well. These disciplines are an ideal context in which to explore the relationship of faith and culture, and to develop a thoughtful and comprehensive Christian worldview with which to challenge the hollow secular philosophies of our age.
Many careers are possible. Because of the skills component of the study of basic liberal arts majors such as history and political science, students find many kinds of opportunities open to them. These disciplines provide an ideal foundation for graduate studies in the humanities, social sciences, law, theology, politics, and business. Olivet has traditionally sent most of its History and Political Science majors who do not go to graduate school into four fields: Christian ministry, business, education, and government. And because of the flexibility built into the departmental curriculum, students can further tailor their course of study to address specific career goals.
The coursework in this department is arranged in four major categories. In each category, the course numbers reflect a comprehensible and natural progression through the field. Following these sequences is not mandatory, but it is wise, since history is a continuous process that we merely chop into segments for the sake of convenience. The department recommends that students take the lower-numbered courses first.