Harlandale ISD teachers study with distinguished scholars

Two Harlandale ISD teachers were selected to attend prestigious professional development institutes sponsored by Humanities Texas and a number of the state’s premier universities and cultural institutions this summer. 

Timothy Blake, who teaches world history at Harlandale High School, traveled to Austin to attend the history institute “Founding a New Nation.” Sarah Van Zant, a U.S. history teacher also from Harlandale High School, attended “The Two World Wars” institute in College Station.

Humanities Texas organized “Founding a New Nation” in collaboration with The University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts and the LBJ Presidential Library. The institute drew 52 Texas teachers to Austin from June 5–June 8 for three and a half days of presentations and informative seminars.

Topics covered included the American Revolution, George Washington’s military leadership and presidency, the Articles of Confederation, Native Americans and African Americans during the Revolution, medicine in early America, the development of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the rise of political parties, the role of women during the founding period, Alexander Hamilton and the development of the U.S. economic system, the establishment of the federal judiciary and American foreign policy from Washington to James Monroe.

The program faculty included Pulitzer Prize-winning historians Jack N. Rakove of Stanford University and David M. Oshinsky of New York University, along with such distinguished scholars as Zara Anishanslin of the University of Delaware, Carol Berkin of Baruch College, Albert S. Broussard of Texas A&M University, Denver Brunsman of George Washington University, Jesús F. de la Teja of Texas State University, Woody Holton of University of South Carolina, Joseph F. Kobylka of Southern Methodist University, James Kirby Martin of the University of Houston and Alan Tully of The University of Texas at Austin.

“The Two World Wars,” coordinated by Humanities Texas, Texas A&M University and the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research, attracted 50 Texas teachers to the Texas A&M University campus in College Station from June 13–June 16.

The institute focused on topics central to the history and legacy of the World Wars, including the causes and effects of the wars, the reasons for U.S. involvement, major military operations, the literature of World War I, Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points and the Treaty of Versailles, isolationism and neutrality, the role of women during the wars, the Holocaust and post-war representations of the Holocaust in photography and film, mobilization and the atomic bomb and the leadership of FDR and Harry S. Truman during World War II.

Presenting faculty at this institute included Michael Bess of Vanderbilt University, H. W. Brands of The University of Texas at Austin, Charles Flanagan of the National Archives and Records Administration and Ralph James Quincy Adams, Terry Anderson, Elizabeth Cobs, Marian Eide, Richard J. Golsan, Stefanie Harris, Arnold Krammer, Brian Linn, Jason Parker and Adam Seipp of Texas A&M University.

“I attended the institute to gain more knowledge and understanding of the two wars,” said Van Zant. “I gained valuable insight into the intricacies of the wars and I intend to use the institute resources in classroom activities.”

“Humanities Texas was pleased to cosponsor the Austin and College Station institutes,” said Executive Director Michael L. Gillette. “Giving talented teachers the opportunity to interact with their peers and leading scholars will enable them to engage students with exciting new resources and perspectives on our nation’s history.”

“Founding a New Nation” and “The Two World Wars” were made possible with support from the State of Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Humanities Texas is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its mission is to advance education through programs that improve the quality of classroom teaching, support libraries and museums and create opportunities for lifelong learning for all Texans.

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