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A (really) brief history of Tuning. In History at Long Beach State Nancy Quam-Wickham, Ph.D. Professor and Chair, History, CSULB. Tuning a History Degree. Q.U.E. Project. Tuning - AHA. “Fine Tune” program & course SLOs Fine focusing the lens on scaffolding within major

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a really brief history of tuning

A (really) brief history of Tuning

In History at Long Beach State

Nancy Quam-Wickham, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, History, CSULB

tuning a history degree
Tuning a History Degree

Q.U.E. Project

Tuning - AHA

“Fine Tune” program & course SLOs

Fine focusing the lens on scaffolding within major

Revamping the Degree Requirements

  • Clarify programmatic SLOs
  • Focus on skills development
  • Core Courses and “The Loop”

Practicing Core Curriculum Skills

College of Liberal Arts, California State University Long Beach

Department of History

The History Department has a Core Curriculum

sequence required by all majors. The first two

classes (HIST 301/302) are foundational, and are

taken early in the students’ upper-division work.

Upper-division courses then require students to

complete assignments that emphasize

these foundational skills.





The History Department’s Core Curriculum sequence facilitates student engagement with historical methods and processes. In HIST 301/302, students demonstrate mastery of specific discipline-related skills. These skills are then practiced and polished in subsequent upper-division courses. In the culminating class for the major, HIST 499: Senior Seminar, students must assemble a portfolio of their upper-division coursework to show development in the major and mastery of key skills. 


HIST 301


HIST 301 (Methodology) is required in the first semester of upper-division work and the course introduces the history major to the study and practice of history. There are four expected learning outcomes for HIST 301: Introduction, Mechanical Skills, Analytical Skills, and Presentation. The assignments in this course develop student skills: how to ask interpretive and methodological questions; how to research primary and secondary sources; how to evaluate evidence; how to footnote and use bibliographies; how to present findings and argue persuasively; and how to write a historical study.

Assessing Core Skills


Our faculty design assignments for upper-division courses to assess these core skills.

I require students to write two book reviews. The reviews allow the student to develop mechanical, organizational, writing, and analytical skills as well as to demonstrate an understanding of history as a discipline.

- Professor David Hood, HIST 313: Ancient Greece

Students read two novels by Brazilian authors. They then write an essay using the novels as a springboard to understand how cultural artifacts (like literature) shape identity; to evaluate the difference between secondary and primary sources; and to develop writing, analytical, and organizational skills.

- Professor Lise Sedrez, HIST 365: History of Brazil

Students are required to write a paper about The Vagrants by Yiyun Li. This assignment evaluates students’ ability to understand the changing role of Maoist ideology in the writing of Chinese history, the consequences of Mao’s passing for the writing of Chinese history, and the Communist Party’s search for theories to replace discredited ones.

- Professor Maggie Kuo, HIST 388: Contemporary China


Core Curriculum:

HIST 302

In their second semester of upper-division work, students take HIST 302 (History and Theory) where they learn about the varieties of historical practices. There are four expected learning outcomes for HIST 302: Introduction to the History of the Profession, Conceptual Categories of Historical Inquiry, Theory, and Historiography. This class culminates in a historiography paper, juxtaposing works from different perspectives.

Students select a topic in African American history before 1877 and collect secondary sources to trace the historiography of the topic. They then write an annotated bibliography about their sources to demonstrate how historians’ views of certain issues have changed over time.

- Professor Jane Dabel, HIST 486: African American History

Students analyze Three Mothers, Three Daughters: Palestinian Women’s Stories. They must treat the book not only as a primary source but also as a historical document. The purpose is to place the source in the larger context of historical scholarship on marriage and family, veiling/unveiling, women’s movements, and Islamism and Islamic feminism in the Middle East.

- Professor Houri Berberian, HIST 394: Middle Eastern Women


For more information

More information about our program may be obtained at:


Designed by History Department

Core Curriculum Committee

tuning aha our redesign
Tuning – AHA: Our redesign
  • Annual assessments identified problem areas:
    • Uneven alignment goals & objectives
    • Limited base of content knowledge
    • Specific deficits in procedural knowledge
      • Periodization
      • Cause and consequence
      • Evidence and interpretation
c ourse level redesign u s history survey
Course level redesign: U.S. History Survey

Aligning goals and objectives

Examples from HIST 173

Demonstrate understanding of key historical thinking skills:

chronological thinking and periodization

formulate a historical argument, find appropriate evidence (research) and express ideas with clarity and coherence.

team research project 2 seamless education
Team Research Project 2 & “Seamless Education”

Skill-building in an inquiry-driven, collaborative learning environment

what tuning has done for us
What “Tuning” has done for us
  • Clarify our goals and objectives
  • Identify problems & opportunities
  • Emphasize our strengths
  • Build innovative course/programs
  • Empower faculty
  • Invest in our students