We will help you understand the world while preparing you to change it.
Department of History & Political Science
The Department of History and Political Science gives students a solid grounding in the academic study of history, politics, law, cultures, and global relations. The department is committed to promoting student understanding of the richness and diversity of human experience across time and across the globe. We emphasize the development of critical thinking, writing, and communication skills to prepare students for a wide variety of careers, graduate and law school, and lifelong learning.
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Student, Faculty, & Alumni Spotlights
“I have always been fascinated by history, but I also profoundly appreciate learning and teaching. Becoming a social studies teacher was almost a no-brainer once I realized I could make a more significant impact on society by teaching instead of pursuing politics.”
Jade Smith ’23
As a first-generation student, Jade says she feels supported at Otterbein with the kind of feedback and skills that will help her accomplish her goals.
Paige’s research paper on U.S. government-led forced sterilization in Puerto Rico was selected for presentation at the 2021 Latin American and Latinx Studies Symposium and for publication by The Johns Hopkins Journal of Latin American Studies.
Paige Skaff ’22
Sociology and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies with minors in Political Science and Race & Ethnic Studies
Our students have opportunities for immersive overseas learning, including longer-term study abroad. We also offer short-term travel experiences – you can travel with us to Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, and more as part of our travel courses or for independent research.
History students who would like to teach middle school and high school may apply to the Education Department’s Integrated Social Studies Program. This program allows you to earn teaching licensure in four years along with your History BA.
“The faculty really helped me become a better historian and someone who was capable of going to graduate school and pursuing graduate studies. They helped me along every step of the way and prepared me for the next step in my path.”
Raven Manygoats ’19
Raven graduated from Otterbein with a B.A. in History. She is currently a doctoral History student at Rutgers University, Raven says interviewing Winona LaDuke during a campus visit was an academic highlight.
“Choosing Otterbein was the best decision I ever made. The best part of Otterbein is the community. I met so many people who were endlessly supportive in my four years. The faculty and staff were always there to push me to be the best student and person I could be. It’s because of their care and support that I was able to graduate with a double major and a minor. I will be forever grateful for the experiences I had and the people that I met at Otterbein.”
Casey Rife ’20
Casey graduated from Otterbein with a B.A. in Global Studies and a B.S. in Environmental Science with a minor in Sustainability Studies. After earning a Master of Public Administration from OSU, she is now Deputy Communications Director for the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus.
“Students love the global focus at the heart of our department’s academic programs. Our two discipline-specific majors, History and Political Science, along with our interdisciplinary programs in Global Studies, Spanish and Latin American Studies, and Legal Studies, let you follow an academic path that’s just right for you.”
Dr. Deborah Solomon
Associate Professor & Chair, History & Political Science Department
Our expansive curriculum and immersive classes promote full engagement, inside the classroom and beyond. You can conduct historical research; add a teaching licensure to your History BA; strengthen your Spanish proficiency through our partnership with Modern Languages; study abroad; intern with political campaigns, with local non-profit organizations or in the Statehouse; prepare for graduate studies or law school—the choice is yours.
Rather than being separate and isolated from the ‘real world,’ the classroom is a place to problematize and explore solutions that can lead to a more just world.
Dr. Nicholas Robinson
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Department Features & Student Opportunities
Scholarships and Student Awards
Generous alumni contributions fund departmental scholarships and awards that support classroom learning, student research, extracurricular activities, and off-campus learning opportunities.
Our students complete internships at historical societies, museums, archives, political campaigns, non-profit organizations, the Statehouse, law offices, and more. Pre-license students teach in local schools.
Students in our department can cultivate intellectual life in the humanities on the editorial staff of our journal, Aegis. Shape rich conversations about art, culture, history, and justice for a 21st-century public.
News - July 31, 2023Otterbein University is using an innovative approach to grow enrollment and revenue by “crowd sourcing” ideas from its own community and investing in the best ideas with $1 million approved by the Board of Trustees. Under the Fast Track Innovation Fund initiative, seven projects proposed by Otterbein faculty and staff in May have been funded and are already being implemented on campus. “This investment in Otterbein’s future demonstrates our trustees’ commitment to allowing every member of our community to be heard…
News - March 2, 2023While students can learn a lot about history by reading about it, they can also learn a great deal by experiencing it. That’s why Associate Professor of History Anthony DeStefanis is always thinking of creative ways to put his students in the shoes of figures from the past. Recently, DeStefanis took his HIST 4400: Riots, Reds, & Riffraff: The History of the Working Class in America class to The Point at Otterbein to learn about what the production of goods…
News - December 16, 2022By Bridget Oder ’23 Alumna Raven Manygoats ’19 says she found her passion in life thanks to her Otterbein history department professors. Not only did they teach her well, but they focused her on Native American research, something near and dear to her heart. Now, as a doctoral student in history at Rutgers University, Manygoats is building upon the research she began at Otterbein. Her main research focus is on Native American women in the Red Power Movement. “The faculty…
Programs of Study in History & Political Science
Department of History & Political Science
Towers Hall 209
1 South Grove St
Westerville, OH 43081
History and Political Science faculty work closely with faculty in Modern Languages to give students interdisciplinary academic and experiential opportunities in addition to our wide range of majors and minors, including internships, travel courses, study abroad opportunities, and more.