Are You Applying for a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities?

If so, you have about a month to submit your application.  The deadline is April 30, 2015.

With that in mind, Chris Cameron of the African-American Intellectual History blog has provided some useful advice.  Here is a small taste:

In terms of who should write for you, it is fine to have a letter from your doctoral advisor as long as her or his expertise also covers the topic of your new project. You should have full professors or people very well known in their fields writing for you, and both of your letters should not be from people too close to you. So if your advisor is writing, don’t have someone else from your dissertation committee or a colleague at your own institution write you a letter. You also want to avoid letters from your grad school friends, unless that friend has gone on to be a full professor, endowed chair, or someone very well-known and respected in their field. If they are still a junior faculty member or recently tenured, ask someone else.

Read the entire post here.

"Not All Online Courses Are MOOCs"

So concludes David Austin Walsh of the History News Network in his promotional piece for Matt Pinsker’s new online course “Understanding Lincoln.”  Here is a taste:

Take “Understanding Lincoln,” a new online course co-sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute Dickinson College. The course, led by Lincoln scholar Matthew Pinsker, will offer a hybrid approach – a smaller seminar section with a hundred-student enrollment cap, direct access to Professor Pinkser and Gilder Lehrman staff, and the opportunity to interact with other students in digital forums.

For-credit students will pay $450 and receive three graduate credits at Dickinson, which can be used as transfer credit at other institutions.

For those interested in enrichment, a free section featuring lectures and readings will also be available, along with a certificate of completion for those who finish the course.

Course registration is currently open, and closes on Friday, July 19 at 11:59 Eastern. “Understanding Lincoln will run from July 22 to November 19.

The class is primarily designed for K-12 educators to enhance their knowledge of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. The Gilder Lehrman website emphasizes that the course will focus on teaching Lincoln “within the guidelines of the Common Core State Standards.”

Pinsker said that the course is the culmination of the House Divided project, an online effort to create resources for K-12 teachers on the Civil War era. He has partnered with Gilder Lehrman for several years on the initiative, and an online course was the next logical step.

A pilot course for a closed group last year met with great success. One participant wrote in a testimonial that the class “introduced me to scholarship…and links that will not only test me as a teacher, but will make me grow as an educator.”

A major component of the upcoming “Understanding Lincoln” class will be what Pinsker calls “class-sourcing.”
“The course won’t just be about transmitting information to students,” he said. “It will be about students building something with teachers.”

Read more here.

Still Room in Summer Seminar on Religion and the American Founding

On June 17 and 19 I will be leading a summer seminar for school teachers entitled “Religion and the American Founding.”  The seminar is sponsored by the Messiah College Center for Public Humanities and its “Teacher as Scholars” program.  Teachers at levels will receive Pennsylvania Act 48 professional development credit or a certificate of participation that can be used for professional development in another state.

I am really looking forward to these two days.  The seminar is filling up, but I am told that there are still a few seats available.

You can learn more about the seminar and the Teachers as Scholars program, including how to register, here.

I hope to see you in June!

American Historical Association Is Addressing the Needs of Pre-Collegiate History Teachers

I love this idea.  The AHA is developing a new membership status to encourage more secondary teachers to join the ranks of the organization.  As someone who has spent a lot of time with history teachers and future history teachers as a history professor, former AP exam grader (seven years), and a workshop historian with Gilder-Lehrman and Messiah College’s “Teacher as Scholars” program (in addition to my own short stint as an AP U.S. History teacher), I can attest to two things:

1.  History teachers are starving for professional development opportunities.

2.  Academic historians can learn A LOT from history teachers about how to teach.  Some of my most rewarding experiences as a historian came while spending a week sitting at a table in a overly air-conditioned Trinity University gym grading AP exams with teachers.  We need to rub shoulders, share conversation, and learn from the expertise that K-12 teachers bring to the profession.

Read all about the new AHA program here.  Some of the benefits they are considering include:

  • Discounted membership fees for secondary educators (as compared to Individual Membership rates)
  • Travel scholarships to attend the annual meeting
  • Increased number of panels for secondary educators at our annual meeting, including special breakout sessions to discuss how the historical content from the panels can be applied in the classroom
  • Sponsored networking events at the annual meeting
  • Featured articles in AHA outlets that provide reviews of books and textbooks, historiographical debates, and pedagogical news and information
  • Access to online resources, curriculum units, and webinars that highlight the latest historical scholarship
  • Access to online discussion groups that address current pedagogical and content-related issues
  • Facilitated partnerships between secondary educators and university-level faculty to develop resource materials

Spring 2013 Professional Development for Teachers

From Lara Harmon at

  • Civil War Trust:
    Offers two-day regional institutes and one four-day national institute. Institutes require a refundable registration deposit. Registration begins February 2013 for the national institute.
  • C-SPAN Classroom:
    Offers a four-week fellowship for middle and high school teachers. Participants will develop teaching materials using C-SPAN’s resources. Fellows receive a $7,000 award. Registration ends Feb. 8, 2013.
  • Dirksen Congressional Center:
    Offers a week-long workshop on teaching about Congress for middle and high school teachers. Requires a nonrefundable $135 registration fee. Check the website in January 2013 for the workshop agenda.
  • Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History:
    Offers week-long seminars for full-time K–12 teachers. Seminars take place at locations across the U.S. and treat topics from the era of George Washington to 9/11. Requires a nonrefundable $25 registration fee; participants can also register to receive graduate credit. Applications are due by Feb. 15, 2013.
  • Library of Congress:
    Offers summer teacher institutes. Applications for the 2013 institutes are not yet open; check again in December.
  • National Archives and Records Administration:
    Offers “Primarily Teaching” workshops for upper elementary- through college-level educators. Workshops introduce teachers to the holdings of the Archives and techniques for using them with students. Requires $100 nonrefundable fee, with graduate credit available for an additional fee.
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum:
    Offers the Clarice Smith National Teacher Institutes, week-long institutes for 6–12 teachers featuring strategies for connecting art, language arts, and social studies. Requires $200 nonrefundable fee, with graduate credit available for an additional fee; $500 scholarships available. Applications are due by Apr. 1, 2013.
  • Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture: Together with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, offers a free online conference, “Oh Freedom!,” on teaching African American civil rights history with art. The conference will take place on Feb. 6, 2013; register on the website to participate.

Visiting History

Are you a history teacher or school administrator who wants to take your history department faculty on the road this summer?  If the answer it yes, has put together a very informative website called “Visiting History: A Professional Development Guide.  It includes helpful tips on planning your trip, creating a useful learning experience, and connecting your historical trip to the classroom

And while you’re at it, why not consider inviting a historian to come along.  If I ever get my idea for a center on American history and a civil society off the ground, I would like to recruit historians who are willing to work with school teachers both inside and outside the classroom.  Stay tuned.

Summer Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers has a nice list of summer opportunities for history teachers:

  • Civil War Trust:
    Offers two-day regional institutes and one four-day national institute. Institutes require a refundable registration deposit. Registration begins February 2012 for the national institute.
  • George Washington’s Mount Vernon:
    Offers one-week summer residential teachers’ institutes at Mount Vernon. Institutes are free, but only open to certain states each year. Applications will open in January or February.
  • Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History:
    Offers one-week summer seminars throughout the country, on topics from early America to the present day. Successful applicants receive stipends. The application deadline is February 15, 2012.
  • National Archives and Records Administration:
    Offers one-week “Primarily Teaching” workshops in several locations nationally. Workshops focus on learning to use primary sources as part of classroom curriculum. Details on the 2012 workshops are not yet available—watch the URL!
  • United States Holocaust Museum:
    Offers Museum Teacher Fellowships, which include a one-week, expenses-paid summer institute in Washington, DC. Applications are due February 10, 2012.