The Ohio State University at Lima
Contact: Pam Joseph at (419) 995-8284
For Immediate Release July 1, 2004
CONTACT: Pam Joseph at (419) 995-8284
Ohio State partnership receives $1 million for history teacher-education program
Group will work with educators from schools surrounding regional campuses
The Ohio State University at Lima announced today that it is part of a $1 million federal grant that will fund a partnership of The Ohio State University, the Ohio Historical Society and the Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center to improve the quality of training and instruction of history teachers from 60 school districts in 12 Ohio counties.
The History in the Heartland project is funded by a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Teaching American History program. It will bring together more than 100 sixth- through 12th-grade American history teachers with faculty from Ohio State’s regional campuses at Lima, Mansfield, Marion and Newark and the Columbus campus, as well as the Ohio Historical Society and local historical societies.
“This is an important grant being awarded under the No Child Left Behind Act. Improving our students sense of history will help them to become more active in civic life,” said U.S. Representative Michael G. Oxley. “Our state is blessed with great institutions of higher learning and to have them working with our local public schools like this is just tremendous.”
Locally, participating schools are the Lima City Schools and those served by the Allen County Educational Service Center, which include Allen East, Bath, Bluffton, Delphos City, Elida, Perry, Shawnee and Spencerville.
The project will establish an ongoing professional development program to increase teachers’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of traditional American history, said Kenneth Andrien, chair of the Department of History at Ohio State. “Our motto is that if you train teachers then you have an impact on the quality of education for hundreds of students year after year.”
Participating teachers will attend four school-year seminars at the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus and summer institutes in local history and have access to a web-based resource center. They can earn up to five hours of graduate credit at no cost to the teachers or the school district. The local history sites and corresponding themes are the “Cold War” at the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum, “Histories of the West” at the Newark Earthworks, the “Country and the City” at Malabar Farms, and “American Political History” at the Warren G. Harding Home.
“Part of the mission of a land grant university is to reach out into the community,” said Allison B. Gilmore, associate professor of History and faculty liaison for the History in the Heartland program at Ohio State Lima. “This program epitomizes that kind of community service. We hope to provide an opportunity to establish contact between high school and middle school teachers with the Ohio State University faculty and foster a community of scholars.”
In 2002 the U.S. Department of Education funded a similar project, called History WORKS, with Ohio State’s Department of History, Columbus Public Schools and the Ohio Historical Society to improve history education in Columbus.
Andrien says the History in the Heartland project will adapt the techniques from the History WORKS project to include components of local history.
“History in the Heartland extends OSU’s commitment to outreach from the local urban district of the Columbus campus to the rural and urban school districts surrounding the OSU regional campuses,” he said. “Once teachers feel comfortable with the historical monuments in their area, they can take their students there and teach them about it.”
The History Teaching Institute, a part of the Department of History’s Goldberg Program for Excellence in Teaching, will oversee the program. The History Teaching Institute is a five-year-old initiative designed to improve the quality of history teaching in Ohio.
According to Jennifer Walton, director of the History Teaching Institute at Ohio State, the project’s goal is to inspire student interest in history and to contribute to greater student achievement in this area. The program has three major components to help teachers: four school-year seminars, a summer institute and a web-based resource center, which offers a variety of primary and secondary teaching materials.
Ohio State will facilitate the statewide partnership, she said.
“It is really important as the flagship university to build as many bridges as possible,” Walton said. “As historians, we also want to extend our expertise to the educators throughout the state of Ohio.”
Cynthia Ghering, head of the Department of Manuscripts and Audiovisuals for the Ohio Historical Society, said the purpose of the partnership is to “bring history to life” for the students and the teachers.
“It is very important for teachers and students to see the direct connection to history,” she said. “We’re just very excited about being able to reach these students and teachers through this grant.”
Tom Ash, superintendent for the Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center, said the center has two goals – to serve as the fiscal agent of the project and to help link the expertise of Ohio State with school districts and their staff members.
“Teachers are looking for ways to implement standards-based instruction with history and the humanities,” he said. “This gives us the opportunity to bring together the knowledge and expertise of Ohio State down to the ground level.
“We look forward to this opportunity, and hope this is the first of many successful cooperative measures,” he said.
Andrien said Ohio State is eager to begin working with history teachers throughout the state.
“Our enthusiasm for this kind of collaborative education outside the walls of the university results from our role as a land-grant university,” Andrien said. “The university has made it clear that outreach and engagement are important. We recognize it and the university fosters an environment where it is possible to do something about it.”
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