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Department of History, Political Science, Languages and Culture


Dr. Steven Williams, Department Chair
Douglas Hall, Room 249
PHONE: 505-454-3435
FAX: 505-454-3389

Mission of the Disciplines of History and Political Science

History and Political Science forms an academic unit serving the undergraduate and graduate student body with a wide range of courses and possibilities for study. Historical and political understanding and awareness are perceived as one of the chief attributes of a functional and involved citizen of the United States. It is the mission of this department to provide services that will contribute to this goal as well as train graduates to work in appropriate fields that require historical and political skills and knowledge.


  • Peter Linder (History)
  • Abbas Manafy (Political science)
  • Elaine Rodriquez, Ph.D. (Political Science)
  • Kristie Ross (History)
  • Steven J. Williams (History)


Historians investigate the past to understand the present, “how we came to be where we care and what we are.” The word “history” derives from the Greek word for “inquiry.” Historians, broadly speaking, are interested in the social, political, economic, and religious daily affairs of all people. Their methods range from interviewing eyewitnesses of recent events to researching old diaries and letters or public or private documents and records, to compiling computer-generated data on people and their activities. Members of the history faculty at Highlands especially encourage their students to make connections between their own lives and times and the past.

Students of history may seek careers in teaching or other professions, and many will continue for an advanced degree or enter law school. Professional applications of history include careers in public affairs, business, and the private sector where research, communication, and other liberal arts skills are valued. Some history students obtain positions in museums or archives or in historical research and preservation for private and public institutions.


Political Science

Aristotle characterized politics as the “queen of the sciences.” Political science is, in one sense, an ancient discipline and, in another sense, one of the most recently developed social sciences. The origins of the study of politics reach back to the beginning so human society, for people have always made observations about the nature of their government. It is also true that political science, as it is taught today, is a very new discipline as current scholars have attempted to move from observations about politics to scientific observations about politics. Political science, in the broadest sense, is the study of governments, governing procedures, and political processes. The political science faculty encourages students to make connections between the theoretical (or textbook) study of government/politics and how government affects their lives in contemporary times.

Students in political science may seek careers in government, NGOs (non-governmental organizations), teaching, or private industry. The political science major is an excellent preparation for law school or other academic pursuits such as graduate study. It provides pre-professional training for governmental or public sector positions involving policy-making or administration. Representative employers include government agencies at the national, state, or local levels, nonprofit organizations, corporations, and research institutions.



This department is under the College of Arts and Sciences