Introduction to the Texas A&M Department of History and its CID Work

Who are we?

Department of History, Texas A&M University. Partner Department.

Contact person name, address, email, phone.

Harold C. Livesay Department of History

Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4236


Leadership team:

Prof. Harold C. Livesay, Clifford A. Taylor Professor in Liberal Arts and Professor of History

Prof. James A. Rosenheim, Director, Center for Research in Humanities and Professor of History

Prof. Walter Kamphoefner, Director of Graduate Studiesand Professor of History

Prof. Cynthia A. Bouton

Prof. April L. Hatfield

What do we want to accomplish in the CID?

The CID initiative came at an extraordinarily opportune time for us to examine the very concept of doctoral education in the discipline. We had already initiated a fundamental re-thinking of our existing Ph.D. program in the wake of the external Program Review. Preparation for the review as well as the reviewers' evaluation revealed a department with substantial strengths in graduate training -- and also areas that demanded attention, including a limited chronological depth and regional reach in our fields of strength that hinders effective recruitment, and a failure to attain a gender balance among faculty and students equal to our success in recruiting people of color and ethnic minorities. Moreover, the placement of so many of our Ph.D. students into institutions dissimilar from our own demands that we scrutinize the way we instruct and prepare those students. This problem is by no means unique to Texas A&M, and we believe that our efforts toward resolving it will have national implications. The CID, in short, afforded a unique occasion to assess the sources and measures of our success, to determine their viability for future challenges, and to chart a productive course into that future.

More About Our Department

Commonalities PowerPoint

Key Ideas PowerPoint

What are we doing?

In March 2004, the CID Committee presented the department head with the following observations, based on its research among faculty and graduate students, as well as information from other Partner Departments and secondary sources.

  • It makes sense to look at the program seriatim; i.e. recruitment, orientation, advising, etc., since each segment has its particular needs.
  • The department needs a full-time, permanent graduate administrative person, with the title of "Assistant to the Graduate Director" or something similar. (The American Historical Associations recent study of The Education of Historians for the Twenty-first Century cites such a position as a common characteristic of first-rank graduate programs.) This person could provide administrative continuity and consistency, perform a multitude of tasks, and perhaps teach as well.
  • Many of the obstacles to recruiting are financial (tuition, dissertation/ research fellowships, multi-year aid packages) and largely beyond our control. Fortunately we share these problems with other Texas A&M departments and there√Ę‚‚¨‚„Ęs a push to do something about them.
  • Meanwhile, we can in fact move up our admissions date, and probably should. We should ask for writing samples and personal statements, and change the catalog and website to inform applicants of this.
  • We need to have a systematic, annual orientation for new students, one that the graduate director supervises and participates in, but does not have to orchestrate. This is one of the tasks the Assistant could assume.
  • Graduate scheduling constitutes an ongoing problem. We need to schedule based on a template that reflects our advertised fields of study rather than the preferences of individual faculty members. Each semester we should offer at least one course in each of our four advertised areas of graduate study.
  • Everything we have learned in the job market tells us that students need to diversify, and should be strongly discouraged from using 685s to narrow their focus. All students should have to take seminars outside their area of concentration--American history students should take European history and vice-versa. All students should have a Comparative Borders seminar.
  • Assistant professors should have the opportunity, in rotation, to teach graduate courses, unless the department head feels that such teaching would imperil progress toward tenure, in which case he/she should tell the faculty member directly.
  • Syllabus for Seminar in Comparative Border Studies
    To encompass the graduate field in Comparative Border stories within the diversifying department's curriculum, the attached syllabus was developed.


    August 25, 2005: Offer Seminar in Comparative Border Studies in Fall 2005 Semester

    September 1, 2005: Implement Graduate Coordinator Position

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