A College for History Only





A non-traditional and sometimes iconoclastic law school has announced plans to create a new kind of undergraduate college -- one focused on history.

The new college will offer only the junior and senior years of instruction, will operate in a no-frills manner to keep costs down, and will offer the single major of history. The American College of History and Legal Studies will start offering classes in August 2010 and has been licensed to operate in Salem, N.H. -- just seven miles from the Andover, Mass., campus of the Massachusetts School of Law. While the law school and the history college will be independent of one another in a legal sense, with their own boards, many trustees are expected to serve on both boards, and the two institutions will start with overlapping administrations.

Lawrence R. Velvel, the dean of the law school, said in an interview Friday that he saw a need to promote the study of history in a way that was affordable and might reach new groups of students. "I have been aware that this country is not only ahistorical, but because it doesn't know history and ignores history, it makes the same mistakes over and over again," he said.

Tuition is planned to start at $10,000 a year -- low in comparison to most private colleges.

Velvel said that all courses at the new history college would be taught through discussion classes, with a small core faculty and adjuncts. He said that for every 50 students, there would be one full-time faculty member in history, several adjuncts in history and several other adjuncts (and possibly an additional full-time faculty) focused on teaching writing (with an emphasis on history). He said that no decision has been made on whether to have tenure, but said that if tenure is not offered, there would be some system of contracts to provide full-time faculty members with job security.

The focus in hiring, he said, would be on generalists in history. ...


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