April 4th, 2012
EDUC 300 Research Proposal
Research Question: When and why were new departments/program created over time at Trinity College?
Significance: Researching the connection between what and when departments/programs are added and what was happening at the time of addition, it is very evident that Trinity’s department/program additions reflect student demand and events current at the time. Trinity has implemented women’s studies, aerospace, gay and lesbian, and African studies programs amongst many others. Each of these programs was put into place for a reason.
Over time, departments/programs are added to schools. This happens for a variety of reasons such as student demand or current events. Throughout Trinity’s history, many departments/programs have been added, and for both of these reasons. For example, African studies was added to the school because of student activism in the form of the famous “lock in,” and Aerospace studies was added during America’s “Space Race” with the Soviet Union. The addition of departments/programs is relevant because it reflects the changing times. It reflects what students now find important and what is happening in history. Therefore, department/program additions reflect the campus’s as well as the state or country’s political climate.
Research Strategy: To research the answer to my research question, I had to research three things: what departments/programs were created, when those departments/programs were created, and what caused the creation of those departments/programs.
In order to find what and when departments were created, I looked through several editions of Trinity’s bulletin. Searching through the bulletins chronologically, from oldest to newest, I searched through the “Course Offerings” section of each bulletin and noted each department or program addition in comparison to the preceding bulletin. I was then able to see in which year (roughly, as I did not have access to every bulletin) departments/programs were added and what the departments/programs were. For example, the 2000-2001 bulletin showed that Gay and Lesbian Studies was a part of the Trinity offerings, but this program was not shown in the 1990-1991 bulletin. This was noted.
After looking through eight bulletins, noting each department/program addition for each, I was able to research the third question: what caused the creation of those departments/programs? To do this, I searched on Google a topic related to the department/program and, if necessary, time period in which the department was added. For example, from 1960 to 1970, the “Air Space” department turned into the “Aerospace” department. So I searched for “space exploration” in Google. After clicking on a Wikipedia page, I remembered the “Space Race” between the USA and Russia. I then searched this topic and found a credible article from the History Channel’s website. I now had a source which I could use to explain the reasoning behind the creation of the aerospace program at Trinity. I followed this process for each of the important department/programs that were created and listed in Trinity’s bulletins.
In addition to this method, I used a database provided to us on the Ed Reform website in order to find articles of relevance for any extra information. On the Ed Reform website under “Resources & Guidelines” I clicked “Trinity Online Resources in Ed” and then “Education full text.” Then in the research bars I entered key words. I wanted to find more information about how the Cold War altered curriculum in schools. I searched “cold war” AND “curriculum” which led me to a relevant article which I can use. My next steps to finding more relevant information is to search through Trinity’s Tripod archives on http://library.trincoll.edu/tripod.htm to find if any student action led to the addition of departments/programs and going to the Watkinson library to find more bulletins and more student-action information.
Bibliography and Explanations:
Carlson, Dennis. “The Cold War in the Curriculum.” Educational Leadership 42 (05 1985).
- This is the article I found in the database mentioned above. This article can possibly give me more information on how schools changed their curriculum during the Cold War as Trinity seemingly did at the time.
Head, Tom. “The American Gay Rights Movement – A Short History.” About.com – Civil Liberties, 2012. http://civilliberty.about.com/od/gendersexuality/tp/History-Gay-Rights-Movement.htm.
- Gay and Lesbian Studies was added between 1991 and 2000, so this source will give me insight as to why this program was added at this specific point in time. I will also look in the Tripod archives to see if there was any student activism which called for the addition of this department. This is a credible source as Tom Head has written 24 books, most of which are about civil rights and related topics.
Kennedy, David M., Lizabeth Cohen, and Thomas A. Bailey. The American Pageant. 13th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006.
- This is a textbook I have from high school. It has clear and concise explanations of events in history and will give me great insight as to what was happening at the time these departments/programs were added.
National Academy of Engineering. “Airplane Timeline – Greatest Engineering Achievements of the Twentieth Century.” Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century, 2012. http://www.greatachievements.org/?id=3728.
- “Air Space” was added as a department between 1949 and 1953. This site has information about the use of aircrafts at the time which will help me infer why the program was put into place at this point in time.
“The Space Race.” The History Channel Website, 2012. http://www.history.com/topics/space-race.
- (Explained above.)
“Trinity College Hartford, Connecticut Bulletin”, 1930-2001
- (Explained above.)
One thought on “Addition of Departments/Programs to Trinity throughout History”
Danyelle, you have great source material here and a keen eye for interesting developments, but I recommend that you reframe your research question into something more like the following (revise as you wish, of course):
Which new departments/programs were created at Trinity from 1930 to today, and to what extent did they reflect major historical changes outside of the college?
The advantage of this revised question is that it pins down the time frame, but also pushes for deeper interpretation about the causes behind changes.
If feasible, it would be equally interesting to point out which departments/programs were NOT created at Trinity, but did arise at other liberal arts colleges during the same period.
Regarding source materials, you already have access to a selected set of Trinity Bulletins, so be sure to see the full set to pin down changes to specific years. Also consult Peter and Anne Knapp, Trinity College in the Twentieth Century for background about some curricular changes, as well as Tripod (1960+ online, depending on the quality of its search engine; bound paper versions in Watkinson for earlier years, probably). Also introduce yourself and your revised RQ and prior source work to Peter Knapp by making an appt (x2269).
You also will need secondary sources on curricular change in higher education beyond Trinity, to help put these broader movements into context. A textbook is a fine place to start, but isn’t sufficient. I recommend looking at WorldCat and/or America: History & Life databases for scholarly articles on curricular change in higher education (esp liberal arts colleges) during twentieth century. You can even use JStor to search for articles inside the “History of Education Quarterly” journal. Let me know if you get stuck.
Comments are closed.