November 28, 2012
Teaching and Learning History: Teagle Foundation to Support a New AHA Initiative
By Julia Brookins
What are the best practices for teaching history to undergrads? How can history departments better work with teaching and learning centers at their institutions? What does a graduate student in history need to know about the latest pedagogical theories, practices, and debates?
The American Historical Association, with the help of a grant from the Teagle Foundation, hopes to address these questions over the course of the next two years. Assembling a team of leading experts in history teaching and historical thinking, the AHA will explore ways to more effectively integrate the scholarship on teaching and learning into graduate history education.
The project will start with a look at the required pedagogy course for history doctoral students at the University of California, Berkeley. An advisory panel with expertise in the scholarship of teaching and learning will assist the Berkeley history faculty in focusing their course on giving graduate students a deeper understanding of how undergraduates learn history, and instilling an openness to developing their full potential as teachers through engagement with scholarship on teaching and learning history.
The project will continue with the AHA Teaching Division developing activities for our 2014 and 2015 annual meetings in Washington, D.C. and New York with the help of an expert advisory panel. We aim to create and implement a coherent and concentrated series of annual meeting sessions—presentations and hands-on workshops—that demonstrate the utility and benefits of teaching and learning research for graduate training, and subsequently for undergraduate teaching. These sessions will be geared toward directors of graduate study and future faculty, with at least one joint session.
The advisory team members for this initiative will include Lendol Calder (Augustana College), Keith Erekson (Univ. of Texas El Paso), David Jaffee (Bard Graduate Center), Mills Kelly (George Mason Univ.), David Pace (Indiana Univ.), Leah Shopkow (Indiana Univ.), Sam Wineburg (Stanford Univ.), and Laura Westhoff (Univ. of Missouri-St. Louis). At Berkeley, faculty member Maureen Miller, who serves as vice-chair for graduate affairs and head graduate advisor, will coordinate the history department’s part in the grant work.
The Teagle Foundation provides leadership for liberal education, mobilizing the intellectual and financial resources that are necessary if today’s students are to have access to a challenging and transformative liberal education. The foundation’s commitment to such education includes its grantmaking to institutions of higher education across the country, its long-established scholarship program for the children of employees of ExxonMobil, and its work helping economically disadvantaged young people in New York City—where the Foundation is based—gain admission to college and succeed once there.
Source: AHA Today Blog
The University of Texas at El Paso turns 100 years old in 2014 and will mark the occasion with an epic celebration.
Keith Erekson’s job is to make sure the party goes off without a hitch. Although wrapping a century of history into a yearlong celebration is daunting, he may be the perfect person to get people excited about the university’s history.
Erekson’s an assistant professor of history at UTEP, but he isn’t strictly interested in history; he studies what makes people passionate about history and helps teachers teach history in a more interesting way.
Perhaps it stems from having had bad history teachers in high school, but Erekson, 36, began his career in the automotive industry in Brazil. He went to the South American country as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In the 1990s, he worked for Johnson Controls in Brazil, building seats for GM, Ford and Toyota, but left in search of purpose.
“It was boom times, but I had a moment – I actually remember the day – when I woke up and I thought, ‘You know, there are 1,237 more seats in the world because of me. Who cares?’” Erekson says.
So he decided to try history. He earned a master’s degree in history from Brigham Young University, loved it and went on to earn a doctorate in history from Indiana University.
Erekson, who is married with four daughters, joined the UTEP faculty in 2008 and is the founder and director of the university’s Center for History Teaching and Learning.
In 2011, he received the University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.
Erekson is the author of “Everybody’s History: Indiana’s Lincoln Inquiry and the Quest to Reclaim a President’s Past,” and editor of “Politics and the History Curriculum: The Struggle over Standards in Texas and the Nation.”
Erekson sat down with El Paso Inc. and talked about why the big celebration is so personal to so many people, what Abraham Lincoln and Pancho Villa have in common, and what he sees in UTEP’s future.
Politics and the History Curriculum
The Struggle over Standards in Texas and the Nation
Edited By Keith A. Erekson
“What’s the matter with Texas? Outsiders too often dismiss it as an overgrown and ignorant child, shrouded in right-wing politics and fundamentalist religion. But that view is itself a gross caricature, as this close study of history and myth-making in Texas demonstrates. Rooting their story firmly in the social and political history of the Lone Star State, Keith A. Erekson and his colleagues bust a few big myths themselves. Read this book if you want to understand why Texans continue to contest their shared past, and why the rest of us should stop condescending to them.” - Jonathan Zimmerman, professor of Education and History, New York University
“In these behind-the-scene essays, history educators and all citizens interested in history education will find chilling accounts of how the conservative Christian right played power politics to ensure that young Texans learn a largely white-washed U.S. history while remaining uneducated about world history. The essays in this important book give voice to teachers and history professors who were steamrollered by the Texas Board of Education.” - Gary Nash, Professor Emeritus, Department of History, UCLA; Director, National Center for History in the Schools
The politicians and pastors who revised the Texas social studies standards made national and international headlines. However, much of that coverage was sensational and squeezed the process into a narrow ‘culture war’ storyline. Politics and the History Curriculum sets the debate over the Texas standards within a broader context by exploring the tangled and powerful mixture of politics, religion, media, and education. This volume provides a clear analysis of what happened and why, along with sensible recommendations for teachers and policy makers
ISBN: 978-1-137-00893-0 || $85.00 hc || Available June 2012
BOOK ALERT from the UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS PRESS
By Keith A. Erekson
A volume in the series Public History in Historical Perspective
$26.95 paperback, 264 pages, 12 black-and-white illus., ISBN 978-1-55849-915-7
Review copy policy: The University of Massachusetts Press will provide complimentary review copies to members of the media (including journals, newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and online media) who intend to review the book. Review copies can be obtained by contacting our Promotion Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reviewers in the UK can obtain copies via our European distributor, Eurospan, by contacting email@example.com.
Dr. Keith A. Erekson has been appointed by the president of The University of Texas at El Paso, Dr. Diana S. Natalicio, to oversee planning for the celebration of the University’s centennial in 2014. Erekson will coordinate both the study of the institution’s history and the planning of commemorative events and programming.
A new report authored by Erekson and published by the Texas Faculty Collaborative for Social Studies created a small firestorm in the media, claiming state and national headlines during the same week in November 2011 that Americans voted in the general election, Rick Perry said “oops” in a Republican primary debate, Penn State fired Joe Paterno, and Herman Cain and Justin Bieber responded to critical allegations. After a liberal political activist organization wrote a press release that tacitly distorted the nature of the report, the story spread like wildfire through liberal media outlets until it escalated into a “damning,” “slamming,” and “ripping” attack by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry. Thankfully, more sensible journalists soon waded in to remind the public that the report provides numerous clear recommendations for addressing two daunting challenges facing K-16 history educators in the state of Texas–dozens of overlapping educational standards and a crisis in K-12 college preparation. [Click here to learn more]
Arts and Humanities in Higher Education has published Erekson’s “From Archive to Awards Ceremony: An Approach for Engaging Students in Historical Research.” The article presents a model–derived from his book Everybody’s History–for teaching advanced students to how to conduct historical research by guiding them from primary source work in the archives through a public presentation. AHHE is an international peer reviewed journal that publishes articles, reviews, and scholarly comment relating to the arts and humanities in higher education.
“Former FFTF Fellow Keith Erekson Receives Prestigious ‘Outstanding Teaching Award’ from the University of Texas” [Read article]
Today the Board of Regents of the University of Texas system presented its prestigious Outstanding Teaching Award to Keith A. Erekson. His teaching performance over three years was rigorously examined by students, campus leaders, and external judges. He received a bronze medallion, a certificate, and cash prize--sharing $1.8 million with 72 faculty members from the across the UT system.
The Journal of American History has published Erekson’s “Putting History Teaching ‘In its Place.’” The article uses the example of the “Lincoln Inquiry” to urge history teachers to remember the importance of places–the archives and the presenter’s podium–in teaching students to do history. The Journal of American History is the leading scholarly publication and the journal of record in American history.