History of the Department

 
 

The History of Science Department was established in 1971 by the University President's Committee on the History of Science. Before that, the History of Science Program was nominally part of the Department of History, while most recommendations on major matters (e.g., new faculty appointments) were made through a special trans-disciplinary faculty Committee on the History of Science which reported directly to the President. Since its inception, the program has been closely tied to the History of Science Collections in the University Libraries, which dates from a gift of rare books by University of Oklahoma alumnus Everette L. DeGolyer. In 1954 Duane H. D. Roller became the first Curator of the Collections (then called the DeGolyer Collection) and Professor Roller presided over the growth of an undergraduate and graduate teaching program in history of science.


The OU Department's mission is three-fold: to offer instruction to undergraduates; to offer instruction and guidance for graduate students; and to contribute to research in the history of science. From its beginning in 1954, the History of Science Program at the University of Oklahoma has grown to nine faculty members appointed in the department, two additional faculty in the History of Science Collections, and two faculty in the Honors College, teaching a program of undergraduate courses and conferring master's and doctoral degrees. The Department does not offer an undergraduate major, but since 1983 students have had the opportunity to complete requirements for a Minor in the History of Science. Since 1993, the Department of the History of Science and the School of Library and Information Studies have offered a dual MA/MLS degree program. Thirty-seven Ph.D.s have been awarded since 1960 and 73 M.A.s since 1957.


In 1988 the Department became a residency site for a three-year program of Rockefeller Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Humanities, which was renewed in 1991 for another two years. From 1994 to 1999, the Department administered a program of Andrew W. Mellon Foundation postdoctoral fellowships, and from 2000 to 2003, the program again became a residency site for Rockefeller Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Humanities. In 1990, and again in 1992 and 1993, the Department hosted international symposia on the history of science; to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the History of Science Program at the University of Oklahoma, a Golden Jubilee Symposium was held in February 2000. Together with the twelve program faculty, the History of Science Program now includes 18 full-time and part-time graduate students and approximately two dozen undergraduate minors in the history of science.


See also:

The History of Science Collections:  The First 50 Years

The OU History of Science program’s 2000 Golden Jubilee

 

Left to right: Mary Jo Nye, Steven J. Livesey, David B. Kitts, Kenneth L. Taylor, Tom Smith, Duane H.D. Roller