Faculty Spotlight

Jeffrey Sikkenga
Faculty

Jeffrey Sikkenga is Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Ashbrook Scholar program at Ashland University. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in political thought, the American Founding, and American constitutional law. He is deeply interested in the relationship between politics and religion in liberal democracy and America in particular. He has published articles and reviews in journals such as Political Theory, History of Political Thought, Journal of Politics, Journal of Markets and Morality, and Religion and Liberty. He co-edited History of American Political Thought (Lexington Press, 2003), edited Transforming American Welfare (1999), and co-wrote The Free Person and the Free Economy (2002). He is currently working on a book on the natural right to freedom of religion in the political thought of John Locke and the American Founders, exploring the foundations and political implications of religious liberty as a human right.

Events

Jul
2

Join us for an address by Dr. Sarah Morgan Smith, Postgraduate Research Fellow at the James Madison Program at Princeton University, entitled Papists, Pacificsts, and Puritans: The 17th Century Religious Origins of American Independence.

Jul
9

Join us for an address by Dan Monroe, Associate Professor of History at Millikin University, entitled Understanding the Honor Culture of the Antebellum South.

Jul
16

Join us for an address by Lucas Morel, Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics and Politics and Head of the Politics Department at Washington and Lee University, entitled Frederick Douglass on Race, Liberty, and the American Creed.

Sep
1

Students who anticipate completing their degree in time for the December 2017 commencement must register for graduation with the AU Registrar's Office.

MAHG & MASTAHG Core Changes FAQ

Q. What change has been made to the core course requirements of the MAHG and MASTAHG programs?

A. The faculty of the MAHG and MASTAHG programs, with the approval of the Ashland University Faculty Senate, have made changes to the core course requirements. These changes are effective with the start of the Fall 2016 semester and will apply to all students who begin their studies in the program as of that date.

The changes to core requirements are as follows:

    •  AHG 504: Civil War and Reconstruction has been deleted from the core requirements for both MAHG and MASTAHG.
    • A new course, AHG 506: The Rise of Modern America, 1914-1945, has been added to the core in place of AHG 504.
    • AHG 690: Research Methods has been deleted as a requirement for students on the Thesis or Capstone Project tracks.

Q. Why was this change made?

A. It is common practice at all levels of education to periodically review curriculum to ensure that it still meets the goals it intends to achieve. Based on the feedback of students and the observations of the program’s faculty, we concluded that students would be best served by adding a course on twentieth century history and politics. We further concluded that two courses covering the mid-nineteenth century was excessive in light of the absence of any coverage of the period after World War I.

The deletion of AHG 690: Research Methods was also made as the result of student feedback and the observations of the program’s faculty. The curriculum of AHG 690 has been rolled into AHG 691: Thesis and AHG 692: Capstone Project.

Q. To whom do these new requirements apply?

A. The new requirements apply to:

    • All students admitted to the program for the Fall 2016 semester or thereafter.
    • Any student admitted to the program prior to Fall 2016 who does not begin his or her studies prior to the Fall 2016 semester.
    • Any student admitted for the Summer 2016 semester or earlier AND who began their studies prior to the Fall 2016 semester who opts to change to the new requirements.

Q. What does this mean for me if I began my studies prior to the Fall 2016 semester?

A. Students who began their studies PRIOR to the Fall 2016 semester will remain on their original Graduate Catalog requirements until they:

    • Graduate; OR
    • Complete all requirements for their degree other than their thesis, capstone project, or qualifying examination; OR
    • Opt to switch to the new requirements; OR
    • Are withdrawn by the university registrar for inactivity.

Q. What is an inactive student?

A. Students are considered inactive after three consecutive semesters (including the summer semester) without enrolling in a course. Once a student becomes inactive, they are withdrawn from the university.

Q. I have been inactive for more than three consecutive semesters and wish to resume my studies.  How does this change affect me?

A. To resume their studies, inactive students must contact the MAHG program office. There is no need to reapply to the university and any credit earned prior to your withdrawal that still applies to degree requirements will still be honored, however you will be held to the requirements found in the Graduate Catalog in effect at the time of readmission. Thus, credit earned for AHG 504 or AHG 690 prior to your withdrawal will be counted as elective credit rather than core credit.

Thus, inactive students who resume their studies by enrolling in at least one course this summer may remain on the old requirements; students resuming studies in the fall will be held to the new requirements.

Q. Are there any exceptions to the catalog change requirement upon resumption of studies after a withdrawal?

A. Exceptions to the withdrawal process and catalog change are possible in limited circumstances. Students who contact the MAHG program office BEFORE the end of their third semester of inactivity AND have a compelling reason for their absence may petition for an exception. There is no guarantee that an exception will be granted.

Students who were admitted prior to Fall 2016 but never actually enrolled in courses before being withdrawn for inactivity may not be exempted from the switch to the new requirements.

Q. I have completed (or will do so shortly) all of my coursework EXCEPT for my thesis or capstone project.  Am I still subject to withdrawal for inactivity?  

A. No. Students who have completed all other requirements EXCEPT for AHG 690: Research Methods and their actual thesis or capstone project will not be made to change catalogs. Students in this situation are still subject to the two-year time limit for the completion of a thesis or capstone project.

Q. Aside from the addition of AHG 506 and the deletion of AHG 504, are any other curricular changes being made to MASTAHG?

A. No.  MASTAHG remains a 36 semester credit hour program combining 12 hours of education coursework with 24 hours of American history and government coursework. The sole completion option remains a comprehensive exam. The transfer credit limit remains 9 semester hours (MAHG’s limit remains 6 hours). The time limit to completion for both programs remains 10 years from the date of the first course applied to degree requirements.

Q. If I remain under the old core requirements, may I take AHG 506 as an elective? 

A. Yes.  MAHG and MASTAHG students who began their studies prior to the Fall 2016 semester may take AHG 506 as an elective course. We expect to offer AHG 506 for the first time in the Fall 2016 semester.

These students should note that AHG 506 will only apply as an elective course. It may NOT be substituted for AHG 504 or any other existing core course.

Q. Will AHG 504 still be offered once it is no longer required?

A. Yes.  The events of the Civil War and Reconstruction era are an important part of American history. The course will remain part of the curriculum as an elective. AHG 504 will be renumbered to AHG 608 reflecting its status as an elective course going forward. Students who are required to take AHG 504 will satisfy the requirement via EITHER AHG 504 or AHG 608.

We plan to offer AHG 608 at least once per semester for the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters. Starting in Summer 2017, AHG 608 will be offered on a rotating basis in the manner of typical elective courses. Depending upon student demand, it will likely appear on the schedule every other semester.

Students who remain under the old core requirements are STRONGLY encouraged to take AHG 504 or AHG 608 at their earliest convenience. We will make sure that AHG 504 or AHG 608 is offered at least once per semester through Spring 2017. After that time, we can’t guarantee that it will be available during the semester you may need it.

Q. If I have already taken AHG 504, may I also take AHG 608?

A. No. Despite the new course number, the curriculum of AHG 608 is essentially the same as that of the old AHG 504. Students will not receive credit for taking both EXCEPT for the purpose of raising a grade of B- or lower earned in a previous attempt.

Q. May students admitted under (or who chose to switch to) the new requirements take AHG 504 or AHG 608?

A. Yes. Students who are not required to take AHG 504 as part of their core may receive elective credit for either AHG 504 or AHG 608, but not both.

Q. I was admitted prior to the Fall 2016 semester.  May I choose to switch to the new requirements?

A. Yes. Students who prefer to switch to the new requirements may do so by notifying the MAHG & MASTAHG program office in writing (email is sufficient).

Students who choose to do this should note that this means they MUST take AHG 506. If a student who has already taken AHG 504 opts to switch to the new requirements that course will be counted as an elective. It may not be substituted for AHG 506.

MAHG students who switch to the new requirements should also note that they will NOT be permitted to take AHG 690: Research Methods as a for-credit course. They MUST take an additional elective course to round out their 32 semester credit hours.

Students on track to graduate in the Summer 2016 semester may not switch to the new requirements because they do not go into effect until the start of the fall semester.

Q. If I choose to switch to the new core requirements may I switch back if I change my mind?

A. No. Catalog changes may only be made forward and may not go back to a previous edition.

Q. What does the deletion of AHG 690 mean?

A. Presently, AHG 690 is a 2 semester credit hour course. This means that the student earns 2 semester credit hours toward the 32 hours required for the MAHG degree. It also means that the student has to pay 2 semester hours of tuition for the course.

While the course and the associated tuition charge are eliminated, students who wish to write a thesis or capstone project will still attend the Research Methods orientation session to learn about the research process, the resources available from the Ashland University library, and draft their thesis or capstone project proposal.

The MAHG degree still requires 32 credit hours, thus students on the thesis or capstone tracks will now take 16 hours of elective courses instead of 14.

Q. I want to swtich to the new requirements, I have already registered and paid for AHG 690, but haven't yet completed my proposal. May I drop it and get a refund?

A. With the exception of students who have registered and paid for AHG 690 for the Spring 2016 semester, no. Students who have registered and paid for AHG 690 in semesters prior to Spring 2016 may withdraw from the course, however tuition for past semesters cannot be refunded. Students who registered for AHG 690 for the Spring 2016 semester who wish to switch to the new requirements and therefore drop AHG 690 must notify the MAHG office by email by May 1st. After that date, no refunds will be issued for spring courses.

Q. I am an existing student who has already taken AHG 504 (or will do so before the Fall 2016 semester).  I prefer to remain under the old core requirements, I plan to write a thesis or capstone project, but I would also like to take an additional elective course instead of taking AHG 690 for credit.  May I do this?

A. We understand that some students may have already completed AHG 504 but would benefit from substituting an extra elective course for AHG 690. For example, a student may have a need to take a course that is more focused on government than on history to become qualified to teach a College Credit Plus/Dual-Enrollment course.

Students who remain under the old requirements who wish to substitute an extra elective course for AHG 690 without being required to take AHG 506 may do so under the following circumstances:

    • The student should have completed AHG 504 before the Fall 2016 semester.
    • The student plans to attend the Research Methods orientation session during the Summer 2016 semester.
    • The student does not expect to graduate until the Fall 2016 semester or later.

This exception is limited to students who are deep enough into their studies that they are ready to begin work on a thesis or capstone proposal. Generally, students are advised to do this around the time will reach 20 semester hours in the program. Keep in mind that this is a guideline. Some students may be ready to begin work on their proposal prior to 20 hours.  Please contact Professor David Tucker to discuss the appropriate time to begin your proposal.