Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Thinking of majoring in History? AHA report on career paths & earnings

The stereotypes about the supposed "dead-end" of a liberal arts degree--especially in humanities disciplines such as History, English, Philosophy, and Languages--has become deeply entrenched in the public imagination. Fortunately, the importance of these liberal arts fields are being rediscovered and are gaining renewed attention as versatile and flexible areas of study that equip students with knowledge and intellectual skills that are highly valued by employers, that result in a high degree of career satisfaction, and that provide the flexibility to adapt to change careers during a lifetime of employment. (See, for example, discussion of recent books such as The Fuzzy and the Techie and Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.)

The American Historical Association (AHA) recently published an article exploring career possibilities for history degree-holders in its magazine, Perspectives. "History is Not a Useless Major: Fighting Myths with Data" (April 2017) challenges the prevailing message that majoring in STEM disciplines is the only path to career success and examines myths about history. The article draws upon data comparing the marketability of various degrees, using census data from some 3.5 million American households, as analyzed by the American Community Survey (ACS).

History majors end up working in a wide range of career areas, as the chart below demonstrates:

"Data source: ACS 2010–14 5-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS). Includes individuals who stated they were in full-time employment, between the ages of 25 and 64, had achieved a bachelor’s degree or higher, and had either history or US history as the field of study for their bachelor’s degree." (Fig. 1 from "History Is Not a Useless Major")


Describing the career paths of History graduates, the Perspectives story notes:
History majors seem particularly well-­prepared for, and attracted to, certain careers. Nearly one in five goes into education—just over half as primary-, middle-, and high-school teachers. Another 15 percent enter management positions in business, and 11 percent go into the legal professions (most becoming lawyers)....
It’s important to note that nearly half of the history majors identified by the ACS went on to graduate school—a much higher percentage than the national average (37 percent) and higher than majors in English (45 percent) and the liberal arts (26 percent). This might be because law, management, and education require advanced study. It could also mean that students interested in careers that require graduate training see a history major as a springboard. Likely it is a combination of the two. But knowing this, history departments must understand that it is imperative that they prepare majors for graduate school and offer guidance in educational and career choices.
The Perspectives story also challenges the myth of the underemployed humanities graduate, pointing out that the flexibility of the history degree results in a wide range of earnings for degree-holders--which reflect the wide range of career choices pursued by history gradates.

In fact, there is little difference in career earnings students who graduate with degrees from disciplines in the humanities, life sciences, or social sciences and behavioral sciences (see chart below). However, it is true that the earnings from the disciplinary fields in these academic areas are lower, on average, than earnings for fields such as engineering, physical sciences, health and medical sciences, and business. Since the chart explores correlations between the undergraduate degree and lifetime earnings, it is important to note that what graduates do with their bachelor's degrees, including whether they pursue further education through graduate school or professional training, can make a big difference in terms of income. Note the variation in earnings from the lowest 25th percentile, the 50th percentile, and the highest 75th percentile. (This point about the "value added" by further education is also true for bachelor's-degree holders in most disciplinary fields.)

"Data source: American Academy of Arts and Sciences Humanities Indicators, table III-4a. Available at http://www.humanitiesindicators.org/content/indicatordoc.aspx?i=287." (source: Fig. 3 from "History Is Not a Useless Major")
The Perspectives story concludes by analyzing and contextualizing the data about the history degree:
In short, it is not that history majors are underpaid. It is that the diverse range of occupations that a history degree prepares them for includes several important, but vastly undervalued, public service careers. If the only consideration when choosing a major is whether you will be earning six figures by the age of 30, then history may not be the best field. But for students who are inspired by work in which the greatest rewards may not necessarily be financial, a history major remains an excellent option.
The ACS data shed fascinating light on some of the myths about life with a history degree. Majoring in history does not doom a graduate to a life of unemployment or under­employment. In fact, history majors go on to become much better educated than the average person, filling roles in a wider range of careers than holders of many other degrees. The worst that can be said of this situation is that many of those careers are socially undervalued. But that does not mean that a degree in history is any less valuable.

Monday, April 2, 2018

History major Taqiyah Gibbons receives AAUW scholarship to study abroad

History major Taqiyah Gibbons ('18) has received an award from the American Association of University Women's Chamberlin Grant & Loan fund, administered by the Buffalo Chapter of the AAUW. Taqiyah is a History major with minors in Public History, Pre-Law Studies, Criminal Justice, and Black Studies. She will use the award to help pay for a study abroad trip this summer.


Taqiyah Gibbons

The award from the AAUW is helping Taqiyah to realize her dream of international study:

"The American Association of University Women is an organization that I have not only supported for a long time but whose mission I closely align with. I have wanted to study abroad since my freshman year but because I come from a single parent household that idea has always seemed impossible. 

After doing my research, I decided to apply for the Chamberlin Grant through the Buffalo Chapter of AAUW. A few months and an interview later I was blessed to receive the grant, making it possible to finally study abroad. This is my final year and I wanted to end it knowing that I got the best experience out of my college career. AAUW believed in me enough to support one of my dreams and I am truly grateful that because of them this summer I will be able to leave this country for the first time and begin my journey of traveling the world."
The Chamberlin Loan program, which has been in operation since 1973, provides financial support  to underwrite educational expenses for female students, mainly in the form of low-interest loans. You can learn more about the Chamberlin Loan program and other grants offered by the AAUW's Buffalo chapter here.

Daemen's AAUW Student Organization supports and upholds the AAUW mission of expanding educational opportunities for women and narrowing the gender pay gap. The club is open to all Daemen students, who also receive a free e-membership from the AAUW because of Daemen's institutional membership in the AAUW. To join as a student member, click here and scroll down to the "Free e-Student Membership" link for AAUW College/University members. To learn more about Daemen's AAUW Student Organization, or to become a member, contact Dr. Penny Messinger, Women's Studies program director and faculty advisor for the AAUW Student Organization.

Daemen offers study-abroad opportunities all over the world. Interested in studying abroad? Contact our Global Programs office to learn more. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018



The History and Political Science Department invites all current students, faculty and alumni of the department to join us for our annual banquet for an end of the year celebration and to honor our graduating class of 2018. Our guest speaker for the evening is Jessica Zimpfer (Class of '06, History and Government). The banquet is an opportunity for current students to meet with department alumni who have achieved success in diverse careers, building upon the foundation of their liberal arts education at Daemen College. We will also honor winners of Departmental Awards including including department valedictorian, the Samuel E. Morrison award (best thesis),  Ruth Stratton scholarship, and service to the student clubs (History and Government, Pre Law Student Association, AAUW).

The banquet is free for all current students as well as department alumni. Please RSVP to Deparment Chair, Dr. Penny Messinger by April 27 at pmessing@daemen.edu. Dear Alumni - Cant make it to the banquet? We want to hear from you! Please write to us with how your degree in History and Political Science is helping you succeed in your chosen field!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Dr. Lisa Parshall's talk at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 3-27-18


Dr. Lisa Parshall, Professor of Political Science, will speak at the TR Inaugural Site on Tuesday night, sharing her research on the Presidential nominating system.

As Dr. Parshall explained, issues from the 1912 election has echoes still have resonance today:
The 1912 election saw TR declare, ‘I went before the people, and I won. Now the National Committee and a portion of the convention...are trying to cheat me out of the nomination. They can't do it.’  The same sentiment was echoed by Donald Trump in 2016. One man was denied the party's nomination, the other secured it -- and both nomination battles reshaped the Republican Party. Why did Roosevelt champion democratic nomination? Are presidential nominations truly democratic? And, should they be?
Dr. Parshall’s forthcoming book, Reforming the Presidential Nominating Process: Front-Loading's Consequences and the National Primary Solution (Routledge Press), will examine these questions in detail, while her talk on March 27th will look specifically at the role of Theodore Roosevelt and the election of 1912 in the fight to democratize the presidential nominating process.

Purchase your ticket at www.trsite.org/events


Saturday, March 17, 2018

1918-2018: Center for Polish Studies at Daemen College hosts Conference on Polish Independence



"For Your Freedom and Ours:" Polonia and the Struggle for Polish Independence

The Center for Polish Studies -- with financial aid and support from the History & Political Science Department (Daemen College), the Permanent Chair of Polish Culture at Canisius College, and the Society of Friends of Learning in Przemysl, Poland -- will host an academic conference on 21-22 September 2018. The conference will commemorate the 100th anniversary of Polish independence, with a special focus on the Polish diaspora and its role in the creation of a new Polish state in 1918.

The keynote speaker will be award-winning historian Prof. James Pula. Related events will include a tour of the special exhibition on "Camp Kosciuszko: The Polish Army at Niagara Camp, 1917-1919" at the Niagara Historical Society & Museum (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario), a guided tour of other sites associated with Camp Kosciuszko, and a performance of music by Ignacy Paderewski by the Chopin Singing Society of Buffalo. A volume of select papers will be published by the Society of Friends of Learning in Przemysl.

For full details, see the Call For Papers at H-Net.

Organizers for the conference are Prof. Andrew Wise (Daemen College) and Prof. dr. hab. Tomasz Pudlocki (Jagiellonian University). For more information, please contact Andrew Wise at awise@daemen.edu.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


The History and Political Science Department will once again sponsor the Model UN Simulation to be held during Daemen's Annual Academic Festival. This year we are exploring the territorial disputes and conflict in the South China Sea. Students representing various countries will debate solutions to the territorial disputes in the South China Sea in a simulated session of the United Nations Security Council. Students in PSC 121 - International Relations will be participating in the simulation along with members of Daemen's new Model UN Student Club.  If you are interested in participating, please contact Dr. Aakriti Tandon at atandon@daemen.edu.

Prof. Andrew Wise Delivers Public Lecture at the American Studies Center (University of Warsaw)

Prof. Andrew Wise at American Studies Center, University of Warsaw


On 8 February, Prof. Andrew Kier Wise (Professor of History/Chair, Center for Polish Studies at Daemen College) presented a lecture to students and faculty as part of the American Studies Colloquium Series. This lecture series is hosted by the American Studies Center (ASC) at the University of Warsaw. For more details, click here: http://www.asc.uw.edu.pl/colloquium_series.html

Prof. Wise's lecture -- "American Marxists: Boris and Anna Reinstein and the Socialist Movement in Buffalo, NY (1891-1917)" -- presented findings from  research for a monograph that he is writing in collaboration with Dr. Penny Messinger (Chair, History & Political Science Department). Their first publication from this research will appear this summer as a chapter in a volume (Intellectuals and the First World War) published by Jagiellonian University Press.

Prof. Wise at ASC



Students and Faculty at American Studies Colloquium 

The Center for Polish Studies at Daemen College is coordinating a faculty exchange with the American Studies Center (University of Warsaw). This emerged out of conversations between Prof. Wise and Dr. Slawomir Jozefowicz (ASC) during his time as guest lecturer at Daemen College in September 2016.

In spring 2017, Prof. Lisa Parshall (History & Political Science Department) was the first Daemen faculty member to teach at the American Studies Center on this exchange program. She also delivered a lecture as part of the American Studies Colloquium Series. For more information about Prof. Parshall's experience teaching about American democracy at ASC, please click here: http://daemencollegehistoryandpolisci.blogspot.com/2017/06/

As part of the faculty exchange program, in fall 2017 Dr. Karolina Krasuska (ASC) co-taught a course with Prof. Wise at Daemen College. She also delivered several public lectures during her stay in Buffalo.

 Dr. Karolina Krasuska at ASC


For more details about Dr. Krasuska's many activities while at Daemen College in fall 2017, please click here: http://daemencollegehistoryandpolisci.blogspot.com/2017/09/welcome-dr-karolina-krasuska.html.

This semester, Prof. Robert Morace (English Department) will teach a course on American literature at ASC, and he will also deliver a lecture as part of the American Studies Colloquium Series. In return, Daemen College will host a visiting scholar from ASC in fall 2018. Full details about the visiting scholar's itinerary while at Daemen College will be provided in a future blog.