UC Santa Cruz grad students develop new model curriculum for U.S. history

Graduate students in history at UC Santa Cruz have developed a new globalized model curriculum for college-level survey courses in U.S. history.

Under the direction of UC Santa Cruz history professor and UC Presidential Chair Edmund Burke III, four UCSC graduate students recently introduced the new curriculum through a panel titled "Globalizing the U.S. History Survey" presented at the 15th annual summer conference of the World History Association in Long Beach.

"The project provides a new lower-division curriculum for United States history that reflects cutting-edge research regarding the impact of the world on U.S. history, as well as the impact of the U.S. on the world," noted Burke, director of the Center for World History at UC Santa Cruz. "It aligns for the first time major dates in U.S. history with world historical processes."

The "Globalizing U.S. History" project is the result of the collaboration of more than a dozen UC Santa Cruz graduate students of world history over an 18-month period. It features a syllabus for each of the two parts of the U.S. history lower-division survey course, along with lecture titles and assigned readings. To encourage others to adopt this approach, there is also an instructor's syllabus that outlines each lecture, as well as a bibliography of essential readings to guide the instructor's preparation. The full curriculum will be posted on the UC Santa Cruz Center for World History web site (http://cwh.ucsc.edu/) in October.

Burke noted that the lower-division U.S. history survey course has changed little in the last half century, despite the addition of new research and new perspectives. He added that the new UC Santa Cruz model curriculum reflects the latest scholarship in world and U.S. history and might also be useful for teachers at the high school level.

"The UCSC model curriculum, as it is refined, should prove attractive to many colleges and secondary schools seeking to broaden the conceptual scope of their existing U.S. history survey by linking it to world history," said Burke. "The course may also prove of interest to middle and high school history faculty in California who are seeking innovative ways of addressing the California framework for history by combining U.S. and world history."