This summer, 25 primary and secondary teachers from across the country came to The University of Texas at Austin to hone their skills and gather new research at a weeklong seminar sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History – one of the leading educational foundations in the country.
Held June 23 through 29, the seminar combined the talents of top public school teachers and the university’s leading scholars of history and public policy. The goal is to bring new research and excitement about history into classrooms across the country, says Jeremi Suri, professor in the Department of History and LBJ School of Public Affairs and director of the seminar.
“This workshop is a great example of how our research and teaching on campus add enormously to the public experience for citizens in Texas and other states,” says Suri, who holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs. “This is part of our broader effort at UT to train the future leaders of our society. Our future leaders will need high-quality history education in their local schools.”
With a focus on the history of U.S. foreign policy, the seminar included readings and lectures by distinguished professors, as well as tours of archives and book collections in world-class libraries and museums. Campus tours included the LBJ Presidential Library, the Harry Ransom Center and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.
Wendy Thowdis, master teacher and coordinator for the Gilder Lehrman seminar, says this is a unique opportunity for teachers to gain practical resources and strategies to bring American history to life in the classroom.
“Late in my high school social studies teaching career, I had an opportunity to attend a Gilder Lehrman Institute teaching seminar as a participant and found that it was the first time that I was offered a rich professional development experience,” Thowdis says.
The participants, who are selected through a competitive application process, also learned how to use social media as a communication tool. Visit this Storify website, created by the LBJ School of Public Affairs, to read their Tweets, view images of the campus tours and learn more about the seminar.