UCSC Humanities Division offers new seminars for local schoolteachers

Since 2003, the UCSC Humanities Division's Teacher Scholar Program has offered a series of seminars each year to help local middle, junior, and high school teachers with curriculum enrichment. Presented in partnership with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, the Salinas Union High School District, UCSC Extension, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the program allows teachers to explore a variety of subjects in a university setting.

The seminars are led by UCSC professors and provide teachers with exposure to contemporary research in ways designed to enhance their teaching. There is no charge to teachers and a lunch is provided for the sessions, which are held on two separate days from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Associate professor of history Alice Yang Murray kicks off the 2005-06 series on September 21 with a seminar titled "Memories of World War II in the U.S. and Japan."

The program is the brainchild of history professor Gail Hershatter, director of UCSC's Institute for Humanities Research, and associate professor of literature Christopher Connery. It is modeled after a program at Harvard University based on the idea of a humanities center that would serve the broader community.

"There are about 40 of these programs located around the country," noted Rebecca Woomer, a graduate student in literature who is the program administrator for UCSC's Humanities in the Schools program. "Right now, we have the only Teacher Scholar Program in California due to various budget constraints."

Woomer added that the UCSC program gives humanities and social studies teachers the opportunity to come into contact with cutting-edge content in their fields, but lets them decide exactly how they want to translate that information into their classroom. And although the goal of the program is academic enrichment, a beneficial by-product is often lists of books and new resources for teachers and schools.

"The Teacher Scholar Program gives teachers some great details and specifics that go beyond the normal survey textbook," said Woomer. "For example, history professor Bruce Levine gave a seminar last year about new ways of looking at the Civil War. He brought in a lot of primary sources such as newspapers, political cartoons, and editorials. As a result, a social studies resource teacher in Salinas is now using these primary sources in the schools. A class, for example, will study an actual newspaper cartoon of the time as a springboard for a discussion on what the attitudes of the day were."

The 2005-06 Teacher Scholar Program seminar schedule is listed below. For more information or to register for these seminars, e-mail: teacherscholar@ucsc.edu or call (831) 459-1375.

o Memories of World War II in the U.S. and Japan

Wednesdays, September 21 and October 5

Associate professor of history, Alice Yang Murray

o Past Imperfect/Future Perfect: Adaptation in Comparative American Studies

Tuesdays, October 25 and November 15

Professor of English and American literature, Susan Gillman

o Reading the Da Vinci Code

Wednesdays, February 1 and 15

Associate professor of literature, Daniel Selden

o Colonial America

Fridays, March 3 and 17

Professor of history, Marilyn Westerkamp