Dozens of local teachers are on campus this week to increase their knowledge and learn how to more effectively teach American history in the kick-off session of The Institute for Decisive Events in American History based at Mary Baldwin University. The Institute – which is designed to get teachers to explore to the major events that shaped the country – was set up by Mary Baldwin professor Kenneth Keller and public school officials with the aid of a $700,000 U.S. Department of Education grant awarded last fall.
The partnership between Mary Baldwin and schools in Augusta and Roanoke counties and Staunton and Waynesboro cities is part of the Teaching American History program, a $99 million federal grant that includes 175 school districts nationwide. Keller believes the workshops will generate ‘enthusiastic and convincing American history teachers.’
The first session, which runs through July 2 and is led by Mary Baldwin Adjunct Professor of History Katherine Brown, focuses on the Revolutionary Era including the Stamp Act, the French and Indian War, the First Continental Congress, and Yorktown. Future workshops during summers and weekends over the next three years will coordinate with significant Virginia historical sites such as Monticello, the Booker T. Washington National Monument, and the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace.
In addition to working with master teachers and Mary Baldwin faculty, local teachers will be able to earn up to three hours of graduate credit and develop Web sites on decisive events. The college recently hired Amy J. Tillerson, a Ph.D. candidate at Morgan State University in Baltimore, to lead the project and teach undergraduate history courses.