Eastern Illinois University’s history department has made a little history of its own by being named the university’s initial First Choice Graduate Program.
The First Choice designation is given by the Graduate School to EIU departments that meet criteria that show that their programs are, indeed, worthy of being graduate students’ first choices.
The history department – which offers a master’s degree in history, as well as an accompanying historical administration option – has shown evidence of a desire to bring the finest graduate students to Eastern, said Robert Augustine, dean of the Graduate School.
“We are excited because your leadership in this area serves as a role model for others to follow,” Augustine said as he presented a plaque to Anita Shelton, chair of the history department. Joining in the presentation were William Perry, EIU president; and Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
Shelton praised the department’s “fabulous faculty” for making the designation possible.
“I know that we are now obligated to live up to and surpass these expectations, and we intend to,” Shelton said. “We have plans in the making.”
Programs that are named “First Choice” will retain that status for three years. During that time, they will be eligible for extra financial resources from the Graduate School to further strengthen their status.
Seven other graduate programs are currently under consideration for the designation.
First Choice designees must show sustained achievements in five areas:
-- strengthening the quality, diversity and internationalization of the student body by attracting candidates who have the potential for academic and professional achievement and who complete degrees and succeed as alumni;
-- fostering advanced scholarship through a depth of knowledge, critical thinking, problem solving, oral and written communication, application of technology, research/creative activity and commitment to professional ethics;
-- expanding the curriculum with rigorous advanced courses and options offered through lectures, laboratories, seminars, forums, practicum field experiences, internships, and partnerships with education, business and industry;
-- conducting research/creative activity with graduate students and faculty; and
-- developing opportunities for the discovery and application of knowledge with graduate faculty members who reflect the university's teaching and mentoring priority and who have a record of research/creative activity and professional service.