Past Institutes

Shaping the American Republic to 1877

In June 2011, ninety-five teachers attended two professional development institutes organized by Humanities Texas, the University of Houston, and Texas Christian University examining significant events and themes in U.S. history from the colonial era through Reconstruction.


The institutes covered topics central to courses in U.S. history and government, such as the formation of colonial governments, the U.S. Constitution, Jacksonian Democracy, westward expansion, and the Civil War. Content was aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), with particular emphasis on newly added or revised standards.

The institutes emphasized close interaction with scholars, the examination of primary sources, and the development of effective pedagogical strategies and engaging assignments and activities. The programs were designed ultimately to enhance teachers' mastery of the subjects they teach and to improve students' performance on state assessments. Teachers received books and other instructional materials.


Faculty included Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Gordon S. Wood (Brown University); Daniel M. Feller (the University of Tennessee); Cynthia A. Kierner (George Mason University); Light T. Cummins (Austin College); T. Michael Parrish (Baylor University); Rebecca Sharpless (Texas Christian University); Mary L. Volcansek (Texas Christian University); Eric Walther (the University of Houston); and Alexander X. Byrd (Rice University).

Educational specialists from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art also served on the institutes’ faculty, providing participants with facsimiles of historic documents and works of art that support the teaching of U.S. history.

Program Resources

View videos of faculty lectures from the institute:

Our July/August 2011 newsletter included a slideshow of images from the institutes.

The institutes’ final report includes a complete roster of all faculty and participants, as well as extensive excerpts from faculty presentations.

Locations and Schedules

HoustonJune 7–10University of HoustonSchedule
Fort WorthJune 12–15Texas Christian UniversitySchedule

Sponsors and partners

Sponsors included the University of Houston, Texas Christian University, and TCU’s Center for Texas History. Program partners include the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

These institutes were made possible with major funding from the state of Texas and a We the People grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Questions about Teacher Institutes

Call 512.440.1991 or email

Fort Worth institute participants gather on the steps of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.
Light Cummins Workshop
Former State Historian of Texas Light T. Cummins (Austin College) leads a primary source workshop in Fort Worth.
Charles Flanagan Workshop
Fort Worth teachers examine the Bill of Rights with Charles Flanagan (National Archives and Records Administration).