H.S. history teachers get lesson at UW-Green Bay

2010 Summer Institute of the Wisconsin Academy for the Teaching of American HistoryAbout 45 history teachers from Northeast Wisconsin are getting an education in their field from highly regarded scholars and authors on the UW-Green Bay campus this week.

The occasion is the 2010 Summer Institute of the Wisconsin Academy for the Teaching of American History.

The visiting educators, mostly middle and high school teachers, are attending presentations on campus and enjoying guided tours of area museums and historic sites. The Institute began Sunday (July 18) in Green Bay and will conclude the following Sunday (July 25) after a field trip to the Milwaukee area.

Campus coordinator for the week’s programs is historian and UW-Green Bay Prof. David Voelker, Humanistic Studies. The project is funded through a U.S. Department of Education Teaching American History Grant of nearly $1 million over three years to CESA District 6. Voelker helped write the grant proposal. Other key participants in the grant project include Mike Derr (CESA 6), Brett Barker (UW-Marathon County), and Jeffrey Pickron (UW-Oshkosh).  The grant follows precedents set by two earlier Teaching American History grants directed by UW-Green Bay’s Andrew Kersten and Stephen Kercher (UW-O).

The summer session at UW-Green Bay kicks off the third and final year of the current project. Partners in addition to UW-Green Bay and CESA 6 are UW-Oshkosh and UW-Marathon County, on whose campuses the two previous summer institutes, in 2008 and 2009, were held. Voelker says most of this year’s teachers have participated all three years.

David Engerman-session

The teachers are hearing from acclaimed scholars including UW-Madison professor and American history specialist Jeremi Suri, who spoke at Tuesday’s plenary sessions on the “Exporting of Freedom After World War II.” Another visiting faculty member, distinguished Brandeis University lecturer David Engerman, led sessions Monday on 20th century American social movements and the origins of contemporary conservatism. Medical historian Beatrix Hoffman of Northern Illinois University lectured Sunday on “Freedom and the American Way of Health Care.”

Lisa Poupart-session

Leading breakout sessions on campus were faculty members from each of the participating institutions. Those from UW-Green Bay, and their topics:

• Lisa Poupart of Humanistic Studies and First Nations Studies, “Tribal Sovereignty Today”;
• Derek Jeffreys, Humanistic Studies, “Torture and Human Rights in the Age of Terror”;
• Caroline Boswell, Humanistic Studies, “Drinking and Popular Protest in the Revolutionary Era”;
• Vince Lowery, Humanistic Studies, “Reconstruction in South Carolina”;
• Victoria Goff, Information and Computing Science, “Journalism and the Preservation of Freedom”;
• Rebecca Meacham, Humanistic Studies, “Art and Activism in the Harlem Renaissance.”

Deb Anderson of the Cofrin Library’s Area Research Center presented on the center’s holdings, and participants were, additionally, introduced to the teaching resources of the First Nations Studies Center on campus.

Prof. Andrew Kersten, Social Change and Development, led a field trip to the National Railroad Museum and discussion of the museum’s Pullman Porter exhibit and links between the labor and civil rights movements. The week’s other visits included a trip to the Oneida Nation and its Turtle Elementary School and Cultural Heritage Center; and an optional trip to Milwaukee for presentations on civil rights history, settlement of Milwaukee, Old World influences and Jewish history.

In addition to this week’s in-depth exploration of historic topics and current teaching methods, participating teachers will attend one-day followup workshops this fall and in spring 2011 in Green Bay.

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