Teaching American History Lecture To Focus On Childhood On The Far Western Frontier

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    The Summer 2004 Teaching American History Institute at Baylor included a trip to the Bob Bullock State History Museum in Austin.
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    Fellows with the Summer 2004 Teaching American History Institute spent part of their summer taking specialized classes at Baylor's Mayborn Museum Complex.
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    Elliot West
April 14, 2005

by Lori Scott Fogleman

A distinguished professor and writer on the history of the American West will lecture at Baylor University as a guest of the Teaching American History Lecture Series, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Dr. Elliott West, Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Arkansas, will speak on "Growing Up with the Country: Childhood on the Far Western Frontier" from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 21, in the Jim Kronzer Appellate Advocacy Classroom and Courtroom at Baylor Law School.

A reception will follow for all Teaching American History Fellows (2004 and 2005) in the community room at the Mayborn Museum Complex.

The lecture series and summer teaching institutes are two of several initiatives included in a nearly $1 million "Teaching American History" grant awarded in October 2003 to Baylor's School of Education, department of history and Region 12 Education Service Center. The three-year project supports collaborations between school districts and institutions to ensure that teachers develop the knowledge, skills and commitments necessary to teach traditional American history in exciting and engaging ways.

Baylor and its grant partners will provide high-quality professional development for history and social studies teachers in China Spring, Connally, Cranfills Gap, Crawford, Kopperl, Lorena, Mart, McGregor, Robinson, Waco, West and Westphalia school districts, impacting more than 20,000 students. Through "Crossroads in American History," districts will demonstrate how comprehensive professional development affects high-quality American history teaching, while students increase their knowledge and achievement in American history. More than 30 Central Texas teachers spent three weeks last summer immersing themselves in American history. The Summer 2005 Teaching American History Institute will run June 6-24 at the Mayborn Museum.

The tradition of teaching teachers at Baylor stretches back to the earliest days of its existence, said Dr. J. Wesley Null, assistant professor of education and project director for the Teaching American History Grant.

"This lecture by Dr. West provides us an opportunity to continue this tradition by honoring the teachers who have been selected as our 2005 Teaching American History Fellows," Null said. "The subject of West's talk about childhood on the frontier relates directly to the teaching of children and youth, to whom our Fellows dedicate their lives every day. We look forward to this opportunity to hear a lecture on a critically important topic, while at the same time honoring the teachers who will take part in Baylor's Summer 2005 Teaching American History Institute."

A native Texan, West teaches and writes on the history of the American West and frontier and on American environmental history. He received his doctorate from the University of Colorado and is the author of five books and co-author of a sixth. West's The Contested Plains (University Press of Kansas, 1998) was a main selection of the History Book Club and received several national awards, including the Francis Parkman Prize as the year's outstanding book in American history. He also has written on western saloons, Native Americans on the Great Plains, and children's lives on the frontier. West has twice received teacher of the year awards from the University of Arkansas and in 1995 was named his state's professor of the year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He is past president of the Western History Association.

For more information, contact Null at 710-6120 or Wesley_Null@baylor.edu. For more information about the Teaching American History grant, as well as a complete list of the 2005 Fellows, visit Crossroads in American History.

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