In June 2015, Humanities Texas held a professional development institute in Fort Worth for Texas teachers covering U.S. history from the periods of exploration to revolution, with additional consideration of Texas during the Mexican national and revolutionary periods.
The institute covered topics central to the state’s eighth-grade social studies curriculum. Faculty lectures and workshops addressed European exploration and colonization of North America, the economic life of the British Colonies, the development of representative government and political institutions, the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, the situation of American Indians during the colonial and revolutionary periods, women in the Spanish borderlands, and the history of Texas during the Mexican national and revolutionary periods.
Fifty-two 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.
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alan Taylor of the University of Virginia delivered the institute keynote lecture. The faculty also featured lectures and seminars led by Gregg Cantrell, Alan Gallay, Alex Hidalgo, Bill Meier, Gene Smith and Ken Stevens, all of Texas Christian University. Other faculty included Elizabeth Alexander (Texas Wesleyan University), Light Cummins (Austin College), Woody Holton (University of South Carolina), Virginia Lunsford (U.S. Naval Academy), James Kirby Martin (University of Houston), David Narrett (UT Arlington), Jean Stuntz (West Texas A&M University), and Alan Tully (UT Austin).
The institute took place from June 15–18, 2015, at Texas Christian University. A schedule of the institute can be found here.
Program co-sponsors included Texas Christian University and TCU’s Center for Texas Studies. Program partners included the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. This institute was made possible with major funding from the State of Texas and ongoing support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.