In June 2015, Humanities Texas held a professional development institute in Austin for Texas teachers covering the American presidency and U.S. history from 1970 to 2000.
The institute covered topics central to the state’s eleventh-grade social studies curriculum. Faculty lectures and workshops addressed the presidencies of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, as well as economic issues, the women's movement, and the Persian Gulf.
Fifty-five teachers attended the institute. As in past years, the institute emphasized close interaction with scholars, the examination of primary sources, and the development of effective pedagogical strategies and engaging assignments and activities. The program was designed ultimately to enhance teachers' mastery of the subjects they teach and to improve students' performance on state assessments. Content was aligned with the secondary social studies TEKS. Teachers received books and other instructional materials.
H. W. Brands, the Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History at The University of Texas at Austin, delivered the institute’s keynote presentation on Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
The faculty also featured lectures and seminars led by Janet Davis, Donna Kornhaber, Mark A. Lawrence and Jeremi Suri, all of The University of Texas at Austin. Other faculty included James T. Patterson (Brown University), Michael Brandl (The Ohio State University), Albert S. Broussard (Texas A&M University), Jeffrey Engel (Southern Methodist University), Martin Melosi (University of Houston), Steve Murdock (Rice University), Luke A. Nichter (Texas A&M University), Chase Untermeyer (former U.S. Ambassador to Qatar), and Mark Updegrove (LBJ Library).
The institute took place from June 7–10, 2015, at the LBJ Presidential Library. A schedule of the institute can be found here.
Program co-sponsors included the LBJ Presidential Library and the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. This institute was made possible with major funding from the State of Texas and ongoing support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.