In June 2016, Humanities Texas partnered with The University of Texas at San Antonio to hold a professional development institute in San Antonio 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.
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 Jesús F. de la Teja (Texas State University), Alex Hidalgo (Texas Christian University), Woody Holton (University of South Carolina), Virginia Lunsford (U.S. Naval Academy), Cynthia Kierner (George Mason University), James Kirby Martin (University of Houston), Bill Meier (Texas Christian University), David Narrett (UT Arlington), Gene Smith (TCU), Ken Stevens (TCU), Alan Tully (UT Austin), and Steven Boyd, Patrick Kelly, and Omar Valerio-Jimenez of UTSA.
The institute took place from June 12–15, 2016, at The University of Texas at San Antonio. A schedule of the institute can be found here.
Program partners included the McNay Museum of Art and the Institute of Texan Cultures. The institute was made possible with major funding from the State of Texas, with ongoing support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The institute’s keynote lecture was supported in part with a generous grant from the Pulitzer Centennial Campfires Initiative.