TTU to host summer institutes for Upper Cumberland history teachers

Tennessee Tech University is the place to be this summer for Upper Cumberland history teachers who are intent on reigniting their passion for the past.

That’s because the Cumberland Plateau Consortium Teaching American History will be hosting its first two weeklong institutes for middle and high school level history teachers, with a total of five more such events being planned over the next two years.

The consortium is a partnership between TTU’s History Department and the White County Board of Education — created with a grant for nearly $1 million from the United States Department of Education — that provides various no-cost professional development opportunities to history teachers in the region.

The summer institutes will present historical events in depth and in detail, said Michael Birdwell, TTU assistant professor of history and project director. “At each, number of different experts will present information about specific historical topics.”

The first weeklong session will begin on June 27 and focus on important events between 1800 and 1860. Presentations will include:

• “Native Americans,” by Randy Williams, historical preservation specialist for the Upper Cumberland Development District;

• “African Americans, Slavery and the Abolition Movement,” by TTU history professor Wali Kharif;

• “The Second Great Awakening,” by Kent Dollar, TTU adjunct history faculty;

• “Antebellum Culture,” by Birdwell; and

• “Women’s Roles in the Early Temperance and Abolition Movements,” by Lorri Glover, of the University of Tennessee.

The second weeklong session, which begins on July 11, will focus on historical events between 1880 and 1920. Although presentations are still being planned, some topics that have been finalized include:

• “The Social History of the 1920s and 30s,” by David Lee of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga;

• “World War I” by Birdwell;

• “The Interwar Period,” by Jeff Roberts, TTU history chairperson; and

• “The Rise of Hollywood,” by Birdwell.

Teachers from a total of 21 school districts in 11 different Upper Cumberland counties are eligible to apply for the free summer institutes.

A total of 15 candidates will be selected to attend each weeklong session, and those who participate will receive a $400 stipend, program materials, meals and boarding.

“Although the program is quite selective, there will be another series of summer institutes next year. We encourage all applicants to keep them in mind,” Birdwell said.

In addition, the program will offer mini-institutes throughout the academic year, as well as annual workshops, regional lectures, mentoring and networking opportunities and a web site that will serve as a hands-on curriculum resource.

For more information about the consortium, its summer institutes or any of its other programs, call the TTU history department at 931/372-3332.