Author: Kevin Vanzant

A Professor Speaks Out: How ‘New Left’ Orthodoxy Is Failing a New Generation of History Students

I began teaching introductory U.S. history classes at the college level five years ago. These courses are always well-attended, as they fulfill a graduation requirement for other (presumably more worthwhile) majors. But the enrolment numbers are misleading: Across the United States, student interest in the Humanities is approaching all-time lows, with history, it seems, often faring the worst. In my classes, I frequently make the mistake of testing these trends, opening with surveys that ask students about history as a possible major. Excepting the occasional “LOL,” the answer is always no. Administrative fiat, not student choice, explains why our seats are full. Rock bottom usually carries with it some opportunity, however. As schools begin to take the justifiable and entirely predictable step of officially shuttering humanities classes (and even whole departments) in response to this decline in student interest, these introductory courses—long the bane of professors everywhere (one of the best parts of making tenure is that you no longer have to teach them)—have taken on an increased importance, as they represent our best opportunity …