American Revolutionary War and early Constitutional Republic featured as Summer Teachers' Workshop Topics

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American Revolutionary War and early Constitutional Republic featured as Summer Teachers' Workshop Topics

August 1, 2016

Gilcrease MuseumThe Northwestern Oklahoma State University Department of Social Sciences and Institute for Citizenship Studies, in association with a major grant from the Oklahoma Humanities Council, recently conducted a summer teachers’ workshop on the American Revolutionary War and early Constitutional republic.

The summer workshop covered the period from George III's accession to the British throne in 1760 to Thomas Jefferson's transformational presidential victory in 1801.

It brought 12 teacher-participants of diverse backgrounds and experiences to Northwestern-Alva from June 6-9. Teachers came from all corners of the state of Oklahoma, as well as participants and presenters from Kansas, Iowa, Virginia, and Idaho.

The event was designed to enhance the knowledge base of middle school and high school social science teachers regarding this formative period in early American history. Several members of the local and university communities also attended some of the workshop sessions. The expressed goal is that this shared passion and commitment to learning and teaching will better enable today’s educators to serve in the very important capacity of cultivating America’s next generation of informed and responsible citizens.

Workshop organizers included Dr. Aaron Mason, associate professor of political science, and Dr. Eric Schmaltz, professor of history, while Dr. Kay Decker serves as chair of the Department of Social Sciences and professor of sociology. Mason and Schmaltz also presented on Revolutionary era topics.

Other workshop contributors shared their insights and perspectives such as Dr. Roger Hardaway, professor of history; Dr. Shawn Holliday, associate dean of graduate studies and professor of English; Kenneth Kelsey, instructor of history; J. W. Platt, instructor emeritus of history; Dr. Jennifer Page, assistant professor of English; Dr. Justin Quinn Olmstead, assistant professor of history at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond; and John Schmaltz, professor emeritus in social sciences from North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City.

This multi-faceted workshop featured lectures, Power Point presentations, group discussions and art displays of the Revolutionary War. Other activities, included a field trip to the Helmerich Center at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, where teacher-participants enjoyed the rare privilege of viewing one of the few surviving original copies of the Declaration of Independence.

Moreover, the workshop conducted an evening “virtual tour” of George Washington’s Mount Vernon residence by holding a live Skype session with staff members of Educational Resources and Outreach with the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Workshop speakers covered a wide spectrum of subjects on the Revolutionary War and early Constitutional republic eras, ranging from politics, diplomacy, women, African-Americans, literature, economics, and global legacy to the British perspective on the war itself.

Teacher-participants received complimentary educational materials, room and board on campus, a stipend to offset travel expenses, and certification for professional development. Teacher-participants were Susan Bauchman, Lawton Central Middle School of Lawton; Justin Crook, Stilwell High School of Stilwell; Chelsea Cruse, Woodward High School of Woodward; Sara Eckhardt, Lincoln Elementary School of Alva; Janet Evans, Hobbs Middle School of Shelley, Idaho; Pamela Hamman, Shawnee Middle School of Shawnee; Phil Jernigan, Tonkawa Elementary School of Tonkawa; Jeannie Reich, Tuttle Middle School of Tuttle; Raymond Scott Stephenson, Stilwell High School of Stilwell; Diane Taylor, Horizon Intermediate School of Mustang; Jordan Taylor, Waynoka Public Schools of Waynoka; and Darrell Wilhite, Cottonwood Public Schools of Coalgate.

The workshop organizers thanked the Oklahoma Humanities Council for its generous support. Additionally, the enthusiasm and quality of the teacher-participants quite impressed the organizers. Mason and Schmaltz reported that the teacher-participants gave the workshop highly positive evaluations overall.

In summer 2012, the Department of Social Sciences and Institute for Citizenship Studies, through the financial support of the Oklahoma Humanities Council, had played host to a similarly successful teachers’ workshop on the American Civil War. The organizers said that they hope to hold another teachers’ workshop in the future, perhaps on the topic of the Cold War era (1945-1991), something in which many of the teacher-participants have expressed considerable interest.

For more information about Northwestern’s Institute for Citizenship Studies, contact (580) 327-8525 or