Rogers State University offers degree in military history
BY SARA PLUMMER World Staff Writer
Monday, October 11, 2010
10/11/10 at 5:32 AM
Find out more about
Rogers State University’s
CLAREMORE - The class had already reached the Punic Wars by late September, but the students in Rogers State University's introduction to military history course have a lot of ground left to cover if they are going to get to the Vietnam War by the end of the semester.
It's only the second time the course has been offered at RSU, and yet it has 20 students.
"That's a large enrollment for a class that's only been offered once," said Paul Hatley, the associate professor who teaches the course.
Introduction to Military History is just one of more than half a dozen new history courses offered for RSU's new undergraduate degree program in military history.
Ken Hicks, who heads the university's department of history and political science, said he wanted to find ways to promote it.
"It wasn't like we could teach American history better than other universities," Hicks said.
"I looked at all my historians, and they all had military history. I thought it would attract student interest."
RSU began offering a bachelor of arts degree in military history this semester. It's one of the few universities to offer an undergraduate degree in the subject and the only one in Oklahoma to do so.
Hicks said he had already received calls from prospective students outside Oklahoma who are interested in the degree.
"We're very excited that even before we've really started advertising that we've had such a response," he said.
Professors in the history department said the degree isn't just for those who want a military career.
"It's way broader than the military," said David Tait, an associate professor in history. He said the degree could be applicable for work in government agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency.
Hicks agreed, saying: "I really think it's a degree that could benefit anyone. It's geared broadly and has the same virtues as any liberal arts degree. You learn to write, discriminate between right and wrong, what is effective tactics and noneffective tactics."
Tait said the faculty spent about two years talking with professors in other history departments, researching courses and gathering data and feedback to structure the new degree program.
"There's something that's just interesting in military history," he said.
The Claremore campus has its own military tradition: It was the home of the Oklahoma Military Academy from 1919 to 1971.
OMA alumni have started raising money for a scholarship program for prospective military history students, Hicks said.
"They have an enormous loyalty to this school and this place," he said, and he hopes to invite some OMA alumni to speak to students in the program. "They were enormously excited about it."
One of the students taking Introduction to Military History is Andrew Williams, a junior majoring in education.
"I've come from a family with almost no military history," he said. The class has introduced him to information and techniques that were unfamiliar to him, he said. "It will broaden my base of what I'm teaching."
Caleb Wall is a senior who will soon graduate with a history degree. He's also taking Introduction to Military History, following a course on the Vietnam War.
"History has always followed military and war," said Wall, whose family has a strong military background. "This is keeping with my family tradition. If they had the degree when I started, I would have majored in it."
Original Print Headline: Study war some more
Sara Plummer 581-8465
Paul Hatley, an associate professor at Rogers State University, instructs students in his Introduction to Military History on how a spear was used in warfare. RSU recently started an undergraduate degree program in military history, the only one in the state. SUE SMITH / for the Tulsa World