The first year of a B.S. major, which teaches students to read and write history, is called the first semester.
It is also known as the first two semesters.
In a recent report from the history department, the B.A. history department says its first two years of a major are now considered the most important, but not the most productive.
The department says it has learned from its mistakes, including making the major more difficult and changing its curriculum to focus on Indigenous issues.
“When we were starting out, we were trying to be an independent major, we didn’t think that was possible,” said senior David Brown, director of the history program.
“We’ve come a long way since then.”
But Brown acknowledged the challenge of teaching a history major in B.T.M. is challenging.
He said the students, who range in age from 14 to 35, must be “well-rounded, not just a student of history” in order to be successful.
“They must be able to look at the whole history of the province, and not just at the past,” he said.
Brown said the first three years of the major are the most challenging.
They take the student into the world of Indigenous history and culture, including the struggles of First Nations peoples, and present it in a manner that is relevant to today’s students.
He added that the curriculum is also challenging.
Brown is not sure how many students will take the class in the next four years.
“I don’t know how many of those students will get into the class and take the first four years, so we’re working very hard to get those numbers up,” he added.
Brown hopes the students will be successful, but he admits the challenge is immense.
“It’s a very challenging curriculum,” he acknowledged.
Brown was also disappointed that the university did not offer a scholarship to cover the cost of the course.
The university did provide funding for the first year, but that funding is now ending.
“This is the first time that I’ve seen a major not go to full cost,” he noted.
Brown also thinks the first couple years of an English major should be taught in a different way.
“English history is one of the few things that is taught in this university,” he admitted.
“That means you have to be able understand what the issues are, how it was written and how it relates to the wider history of British Columbia.”
The university says the first five years of any major will be spent with students in their second and third years.
Students are expected to complete their first year in the fall of their second year, and the last year in spring of their third year.
“Students have been offered many different opportunities to take the course, including a one-year internship at the university, but none of those options are considered a priority,” said the university.
Brown believes students will see more opportunity with the next two years.
The major, he said, is “about getting the fundamentals of British Columbian history down.”