In partnership with Prairie View A&M University, the National Humanities Center has launched a pilot project to support more effective teaching about the African American experience and help elevate the scholarly work of Prairie View faculty and alumni.
Conceived as a pedagogical response to persistent, race-based inequities, this three-year collaboration between the National Humanities Center and the Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice at Prairie View involves three distinct initiatives conducted each summer starting in 2022:
Codirected by members of the NHC’s education programs team and Prairie View faculty, these intensive, five-day professional development institutes for K–12 educators will explore themes of race, place, and social justice through a humanities lens. Participating teachers will be selected from a national pool of applicants, and each participant will draw on their experiences in the institute to create instructional resources to share with other educators through the National Humanities Center’s Humanities in Class Digital Library.
The first of these summer institutes, “Understanding the Long View of the African Diaspora,” will be held July 5–9, 2022 at the National Humanities Center.
Prairie View faculty will have the opportunity to be included in the National Humanities Center’s annual institutes on scholarly podcasting. This five-day virtual institute provides hands-on training for college and university faculty to translate their research, commentary, and community-sourced narratives into entertaining, powerful podcast episodes that help public audiences appreciate scholarly perspectives and gain deeper knowledge about important topics.
The next “Podcasting the Humanities” institute for faculty will take place June 27–July 1, 2022.
In the third part of its partnership with Prairie View, the NHC will allot up to ten spaces in the Center’s teaching and learning institute for graduate students to PVAMU alumni who are pursuing graduate work with a humanistic focus. Each year, this weeklong intensive training provides graduate students from around the US with guidance on how to translate their research into meaningful learning experiences in sessions led by prominent scholars, master educators, and technology experts.
This year’s “Teaching and Learning Institute” for graduate students will be held virtually, July 11–15, 2022.
“For the past several years, the National Humanities Center has worked with funders like the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the UNCF to support research being done by HBCU faculty, and we currently have up to three fellowships available each year for scholars from Historically Black institutions,” said NHC President and Director Robert D. Newman. “Our partnership with Prairie View A&M University expands on that work and allows us to provide meaningful professional development opportunities for members of the Prairie View community and to share the important work they have been doing in social justice and African American studies with educators across the country.”
“For decades the Center has proudly supported the work of numerous scholars working to enhance our understanding of the experiences and accomplishments of African Americans,” said Newman. “At this juncture in American history, it’s especially important that we have a clear-eyed view of how injustices from the past continue to shape our lives, especially the lives of people of color. And now, as always, it’s essential that we provide students with historical knowledge that is as complete and accurate as possible.”
Andy Mink, NHC vice president for education programs, notes, “This partnership with our Prairie View A&M colleagues is an excellent way to build on our work in support of teachers. Our webinars and online courses as well as our intensive institutes and seminars are designed to provide teachers the scholarly resources and skills needed to address challenging material with their students. The long struggle for freedom and justice is a subject that teachers are eager to learn more about from scholars and the work being done by our colleagues at the Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice makes them a perfect partner for this initiative.”
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