Over the last 6 months, the University of North Dakota has been working to release an updated and upgraded website. As part of this process, every department has been asked to reconsider its web site. The Department of History's website is, frankly, horrible, but, at the same time, it is clear that the website functioned successfully as the main point of contact for prospective graduate students. In some sense, the site is horribly broken, but it still gets the job done.
The challenge now is to re-design the content and the organization of the department's website without undermining its basic functionality.
First, we've been experimenting with some new text for the home page. This is where we are at present (nothing is finer than a text created by a committee!):
From the earliest days of the University of North Dakota, history faculty have played an important part in preparing students to be engaged citizens of their communities, the state, and the world. Today the department remains committed to teaching the past and developing in our students the reading, writing, and critical thinking skills necessary to take their place in an increasingly global world. Each faculty member is an active researcher in their respective fields, and brings fresh perspectives on different cultures and ideas into the classes they teach.
The department offers the B.A., M.A., Ph.D. as well as a D.A. program. These programs are supported by a diverse faculty whose active research interests span every period in American history as well as in West Africa, the Atlantic world, Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern European history. Faculty approach these periods with from diverse perspectives ranging from biography to the study of military, diplomatic, social and intellectual history and an emphasis on race, gender, and women as categories of historical analysis. Faculty and student research draw upon textual analysis, the study of material culture, quantitative and data driven methods, and oral history to bring the past alive.
The department supports both undergraduate and graduate student engagement in the discipline through a strong regional archive with collections of national significance, the largest library between Minneapolis and Seattle, the history honor society Phi Alpha Theta, several annual lectures, and editorship of the Oral History Review.
We also hope to include pages devoted the faculty bios and a page with plain text descriptions of our undergraduate and graduate programs.