TeachingPublicHistoryRoundtable What's Gone Right? What's Gone Wrong?: Multiple Perspectives on the Successes and Failures of Teaching American History Grants

AHA Session 141
Saturday, January 8, 2011: 9:00 AM-11:00 AM
Room 102 (Hynes Convention Center)
Brad E. Austin, Salem State College
Nicholas Aieta, Westfield State College , Diane Morey, Danvers High School (Massachusetts) , Edward T. O'Donnell, College of the Holy Cross , John D. Tully, Central Connecticut State University and Doreen Uhas-Sauer, Columbus Public Schools (Ohio)

Session Abstract

This panel will draw from the considerable, and overlapping, experiences of its panelists to offer multiple perspectives on the successes and failures of Teaching American History (TAH)  grant-funded programs in the Midwest and the Northeast.  Instead of falling into the “this is what we did” trap common to many pedagogical panels, this session will use the insights of the panelists to identify successful strategies associated with their respective projects and, more importantly, to offer concrete suggestions about how others can avoid the mistakes and problems they’ve made and encountered. 

The "What's gone right? What's gone wrong?” panel has two signature strengths.  The first is the way it brings in a variety of oices to discuss almost all aspects of winning and running a Teaching American History grant program.   Dr. John Tully, the current Connecticut State University system professor of the year, will deliver the first paper, discussing the challenges he has faced in the creation of multiple complicated partnership agreements during five successful and two unsuccessful grant writing experiences in Ohio and Connecticut.  His talk will focus on successful strategies for getting partners to put the grant program’s needs over their own institutional self interest.  Next, Dr. Nick Aieta, a former high school teacher who is involved in coordinating his college’s K-5 TAH program, will concentrate his remarks on the difficulties involved in convincing certain teaching populations that they actually need more American history content knowledge and the challenges many projects face in enforcing high academic standards with populations that see themselves more as recruited customers than history graduate students.

Dr. Edward O’Donnell, an Associate Professor of History at Holy Cross, has worked with dozens of TAH groups across the country as a “content scholar,” and he will identify and explain the best (and worst) practices of grant programs trying to get outsiders’ presentations to cover the content, and follow the format, desired by the project’s coordinators.  Diane Morey, a veteran AP history teacher in Essex County, Massachusetts, will provide the teachers/students’ perspective in her talk.  A participant in three different TAH programs, Diane will be able to identify the best practices for recruiting, teaching, and helping teachers.  Finally, Doreen Uhas-Sauer, a former teacher participant in a TAH program and currently the Project Director for the Annenberg Columbus (OH) Civic Education Model, will discuss what makes “sustainability” efforts work, and fail, in a large, urban school district.

While the prepared remarks of each of the panelists will be focused and will offer views from specific perspectives, the panelists’ wide range of experiences and their collective eagerness to have an honest discussion of these grants will produce the panel’s second signature strength:  an open discussion involving the panelists and the audience.  Dr. Brad Austin, a former chairperson of the AHA’s Teaching Prize Committee and a co-author of four successful TAH applications, will chair the session and will enforce strict time limits on the panelists and will facilitate the discussion following the prepared remarks.

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