Wilkes University


History professor at Wilkes University lectures in front of students.

Located in the heart of Wilkes-Barre's vibrant historic district, Wilkes University is a great place to study history because the past is all around you.

Dr. Wenger

Downtown Wilkes-Barre is full of historic buildings, including churches, stores, homes, and office buildings. River Commons park, located between Wilkes University and the Susquehanna River, is full of historical markers and a reminder that some of Wilkes-Barre’s founders came from New England as well as Pennsylvania.

History is also alive on the Wilkes campus: from the Victorian mansions that the university has re-used to a department rich in historical expertise that spans time periods and continents.

The city and the campus allow students to practice hands-on history, and to see and visit nearby places they have read about and discussed in classes. 

The Faculty in History at Wilkes believes that education in history enhances students’ communication and critical thinking skills and provides important context for understanding ourselves and the world around us. Although every student receives individualized advising, the department organizes its programs around four tracks:

  1. The History Major (Pre-Law/Pre-Graduate School track) prepares students for advanced study in law, history, or other related professional disciplines. There is ample room in this track for one or more minor fields or a second major of the student’s choice so that the program is easily tailored toward his or her specific interests.

  2. The History Major (Public History Concentration) prepares students for entry level work or advanced study in careers that present history to a non-academic audience. Students pursuing this concentration take selected courses in American and public history and also do hands-on-learning through internships. By adding a second major or a minor such as English, Integrated Media, Communication Studies or Business, students may shape their program to suit their own personal interests and enhance their appeal to potential employers and/or graduate school. Careers in this field include museum curator, archive manager, museum educator, cultural resources, and more.

  3. The History Major (Secondary Education track) prepares students for careers as secondary education teachers. Students electing this track will be assigned an advisor in history and one in education and will work closely with faculty in each area to meet the course of study mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students in this track can earn a History Major, Secondary Education Minor and Pennsylvania Secondary Education Certification.

  4. The History Minor consists of at least 18 credits in history including HST 101, 125, 126, and any three upper level courses offered by the Department.

  5. The Digital History Concentration allows students to follow a course of study that combines classes in History, Integrative Media and Communication Studies to learn the skills necessary to present history in a variety of media, from web sites to audio and video documentaries. 

For further information about History at Wilkes, please contact either of the co-chairs:C

John Hepp
Associate Professor of History
and co-chair of the
Division of Global History & Languages
Breiseth Hall, 110A
Telephone: (570) 408-4225
Email: john.hepp@wilkes.edu

Diane Wenger
Associate Professor of History
and co-chair of the
Division of Global History & Languages
Breiseth Hall, 110B
Telephone: (570) 408-4221
Email: diane.wenger@wilkes.edu

The faculty in History brings their world-class scholarship directly to your classroom. 

  • Dr. John Hepp is an urban historian whose first book, The Middle-Class City: Transforming Time and Space in Philadelphia, 1876-1926, was published in 2003 by the University of Pennsylvania Press. He has also co-edited a book on the papers of President Warren G. Harding.

  • Dr. Diane Wenger studies Pennsylvania and Public History. Her first book, The Country Storekeeper in Pennsylvania: Creating Networks in Early America, 1790-1807, was published by Penn State Press in 2008.

  • Dr. Jonathan Kuiken researches Britain and the energy industry. His current book project is entitled Empires of Energy: Britain, British Petroleum, Shell and the remarketing of the international oil industry 1957-1983.

  • Dr. Akira Shimizu, as a former chef, has been researching the history of foodways. He is completing a book manuscript, Regulating and Deregulating the Market: Specialty Food, Market Culture and Daily Life in the Japanese Capital, 1780-1870, that examines the historical significance of food branding. His second research project will examine the historical significance of tea and sake in Japan as well as the intersection of religion and food as seen in the practice of meat avoidance in Japanese Buddhism and indigenous Shintoism. 

Research by students in history at Wilkes University takes a variety of forms. History students team with communication studies students to create historical documentary videos. Students learn oral history skills in the classroom and participate in formal oral history projects conducted by the Wyoming Valley History Project .

As a history major, you have the opportunity to participate in an internship at archives and historical sites and museums throughout the region. If you are interested in public history rather than teaching, internships are a great way to explore these options.

Whether you choose to pursue a career in the law, teaching, public history or business, faculty members are willing to assist you in exploring options. Some career paths taken by recent graduates include:

  • Archivist for the Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami
  • Attorney
  • Accounts Manager, Amphenol Aerospace
  • Archival Consultant; Archivist, Industrial Archives and Library
  • Human Capital Strategy Consultant, ADP
  • Missile Operator, 10th Missile Squadron, US Air Force
  • Specialist in Education, Eastern State Penitentiary
  • Director of the Library, Johnson College of Technology

History faculty are dedicated to study abroad. Dr. John Hepp has led interdisciplinary study tours of London, England, and Dr. Dennis Hupchick took Wilkes study tours to Istanbul, Turkey. At Wilkes, you not only have the chance to study abroad but to do so with Wilkes faculty and fellow Wilkes students.

Listen to History Behind the Headlines, the official podcast of the WIlkes University History Program. Written and produced by the students of the History and Communication Studies programs, this podcast is dedicated to providing historical context to today's events, issues, and headlines.

Unique learning experiences both in and outside the classroom

History at WilkesSmall classes taught by full-time faculty equate to exciting and different experiences and the opportunity to learn and to grow in a variety of ways.

Students in History have helped produce historical documentaries as part of what is now the Wyoming Valley History Project.

Wilkes students have held internships throughout the region at archives and historical sites and museums. If you are interested in non-teaching careers in history (what’s known as “public history” because you are sharing history with the public), internships are a great way to explore these options.

Wilkes University - History

The History Club travels regularly to sites around the region ranging from Boston to Gettysburg to Washington. This is a great way to expand on what you learn in class and have some fun too. Wilkes is also home to a chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society.

The faculty in History is dedicated to the study of history abroad. Dr. John Hepp has led annual interdisciplinary study tours of London, England since 2006, while in 2009 Dr. Dennis Hupchick took the first Wilkes study tour to Istanbul, Turkey. At Wilkes, you not only have the chance to study abroad but do so with Wilkes faculty and fellow Wilkes students.

Find your future career in History at Wilkes

Whether you choose to pursue a career in the law or teaching or public history or business, there are faculty members willing to discuss your options and assist you in exploring those options. As a history student at Wilkes you are never simply a number in a massive class; our small class size and individualized advising means the faculty gets to know you and you them.