History has been taught at Whitworth since 1890, when Professor D. M. Davenport, a graduate of Princeton, began teaching courses mostly in church and European history. History has remained a popular course of study, and Whitworth's distinguished history faculty – among the most eminent in the area of global Christianity – teach and write the histories of such areas as Asia, Europe, Latin America, Russia, and the United States and Canada, from ancient times to the present, seeking to make its study as fascinating and rewarding in the present century as it was when Professor Davenport first introduced the study of history to Whitworth students more than two decades before the First World War.
The department of history embodies Whitworth's education of mind and heart through outstanding teaching, open and robust debate, acclaimed scholarship, mentoring, and preparing Whitworth's graduates for careers with purpose and potential. The department educates students to develop an historical consciousness that informs their moral and intellectual vision for civic and global responsibility. The faculty encourages students to develop a vision for nurturing and transforming their communities and enables students to construct intelligent perspectives based on a Christian foundation, honed by the skills and virtues developed in the study of the liberal arts. History is a discipline in which the analysis of change over time includes examining the powers and perspectives that affect the sequence of events, and appraising the different forms of evidence that historians use to make sense of them. Preparing students to weigh these sources and transform the findings into credible analysis is at the center of the department's teaching.
Professors in the Whitworth Department of History commit themselves to students in several ways. First, they prepare graduates for the complexities of life by challenging and supporting them during their college years. They are available to history students to explore important questions, whether they are academic or concerns that reach beyond the academy. Second, they provide enthusiastic teaching by eminent Christian scholars who are known both for their flair in the classroom and for their publications that reach a broader audience. Students of history have the freedom to explore questions raised by course content, political ideas and personal faith from diverse perspectives. Third, the department provides students with a major or minor course of study constructed to allow for emphasis in a particular area of interest, such as antebellum America, late-imperial Asia or Europe during the crusades. Finally, Whitworth's faculty assists students as they consider career options and move to the next step in their lives, whether that involves admission to graduate school, a teaching career, service as a public historian, or an entry into professional life. Whitworth's Department of History understands that the study of the past is among the best ways of preparing for a successful future. As Winston Churchill said: "The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see."