Mission Statement: “The Humanities Department prepares midshipmen for a career in maritime or military service by developing their knowledge of history and literature, their capacity to think critically, and their ability to communicate clearly. The Department cultivates graduates who are intellectually engaged, knowledgeable, and respectful of the diverse ideas and values that shape both the nation they serve and the world at large.”
The Department of Humanities is composed of dedicated scholars who are passionate about encouraging student communication skills, life-long learning, and respectful reflection on the complexities of the human experience—crucial abilities for young people as they move through the increasingly complex and diverse twenty-first century.
Its curriculum forms an integral part of the General Education Program at King’s Point, which is required for graduation with the accredited Bachelor of Science degree. Its courses also fulfill key US Navy commissioning requirements necessary for the 8-year service obligation in the US Navy Reserve that all graduates must complete if not commissioning as active duty military officers.
The Department strives to achieve three goals:
- Strengthen midshipmen's knowledge of historical events, literary works, diverse traditions and intellectual achievements in world culture and American civilization
- Introduce midshipmen to the history and culture of the maritime world, the maritime industry, and the U.S. Navy
- Develop college-level analytic and critical thinking skills in oral presentations, reading, research (including information literacy), and writing
It works toward achieving its mission and goals through a variety of required and elective courses, primarily in English and History, but with occasional interdisciplinary courses or ventures into journalism, film, leadership, and other topics.
The Department offers two required introductory writing-intensive English courses with small class sizes, no more than fifteen students. The first, LITR101: Composition & Literature, is a 3-credit course taken in plebe year that primarily emphasizes composition to develop writing skills through close reading and critical analysis. For those with a weak writing background, WRIT100: English Language Lab provides an additional weekly hour of remedial work in grammar and composition. A second 3-credit course, LITR201: Literature, explores various literary genres and ages, and provides additional work on composition. Marine Engineering majors also take the 2-credit WRIT110: Professional & Technical Communications course that introduces them to the sort of writing engineers are expected to do in the maritime industry and military.
The Humanities Department also offers four required history courses linked by the theme of national and maritime security. HIST100: History of Sea Power is a 3-credit course taken in the Plebe year, which acquaints midshipmen with maritime and naval history, including the role of sea power during the two world wars as well as reinforcing basic writing, critical reading and speaking skills. The 3-credit HIST200: Regional Studies course, offered in the 3rd-class year, examines a key strategic geographic region (Europe, East Asia, Latin America, etc.) significant to the economic and national security of the United States. As upperclassmen Midshipmen take two required 2-credit seminar-style courses. The first, HIST300: Seminar in United States History since 1945, is offered during the 2nd-class year and focuses on the Cold War by examining important social and political changes of that era including Civil Rights and the creation of the National Security State. During their 1st-class year Midshipmen take HIST400: Seminar in National Security Strategy & Policy, which focuses on contemporary global challenges faced by the United States and the policies formulated and tools deployed in order to meet those challenges.
In addition to the traditional on-campus courses, all midshipmen complete the 1-credit HSEA300: Humanities Sea Practical. It serves as a companion during the second “Sea Year” sailing period. Students are challenged to think about leadership, their place in the larger maritime world, on ship and on shore, and to explore their relationship with and understanding of other cultures and societies. It encourages global awareness, intellectual self-discovery; and through a series of readings and writing exercises students reflect upon their future role as maritime and military officers and leaders.
The Department also offers a number of electives to Marine Transportation majors in such topics as literature, film, Latin American and East Asian history, ethics, leadership, and maritime and military history, during their senior year. The Department also oversees one-on-one independent studies that are arranged directly between professors and midshipmen, and has supported a number of Kings Point Scholar projects.
The Humanities Department participates in campus cultural issues. It oversees the O'Gara Academic Honor Society, which recognizes the most academically accomplished midshipmen at Kings Point by offering exceptional array of distinguished speakers from the maritime industry, arts, and sciences as well as the opportunity for midshipmen to participate in a cultural enrichment program and take advantage of the fantastic opportunities available in New York City.