Making History, with History

Lindsey Walker

This semester will be the first time that students can start choosing to major in history at William Peace University — a development that is near and dear to the heart of history professor Kate Otis.
Otis started drafting a proposal for a “History and American Studies” major about a year and a half ago, she said. Last semester, she collected names of students interested in the major.
“I have been very pleased and encouraged by the level of interest from students,” Otis said. “I’ve probably had ten or twelve students tell me that they’d like to major in History and American Studies. A similar number have asked about the minor.”
That list of interested students includes Peace junior, Lindsey Walker, who would like to pursue a double major in Political Science and History.
“I’m super interested in majoring in History at Peace because I got my Associates [degree] in History at Wake Tech and I have always wanted to be a teacher,” said Walker. “I feel like it’s a good mix to go ahead and possibly teach high school or something like that.”
The new major will mean more classes in history. This semester, Otis is teaching one new class, “Drum Majors for Justice: Examining and Practicing Engaged Citizenship” (HIS 390),” which she said draws inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King.
Students will learn about historical figures and become local volunteers and activists in their own right.
“A half century ago, King called upon congregants gathered in Atlanta’s Ebeneezer Baptist Church to contemplate their ‘Drum Major Instinct’ – that human desire to lead,” Otis said. “King emphasized the importance of selfless motives among those who sought such positions.”
So how exactly will you know if the new History major is for you or not? Otis offers some questions to consider:
“Are you are creative, inquisitive, and open-minded? Do you want to discover more about this nation’s history, culture and society? Are you ready to tackle questions about the complex world in which you live? If so, you have found a home here in the History and American Studies department at WPU!”

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