Mercyhurst College and the Corry Area School District have been awarded a $984,920 Teaching American History grant by the United States Department of Education that will focus efforts on professional development for teachers and heighten awareness of the United States Constitution with a goal of improving student understanding of American history.
Michael Federici, Ph.D., professor of political science at Mercyhurst College, will direct this project, which is a cooperative effort by Mercyhurst, the Corry school district, Erie Maritime Museum, National Association of Scholars, Intercollegiate Studies Institute and National Humanities Institute.
“I was approached by the National Association of Scholars because they were trying to create interest in this grant program with scholars who have expertise in political science and history,” explained Federici, who was intrigued by the call.
“I’ve been complaining for years about students who arrive at college and are just not literate in American history, so I saw this as an opportunity to do something here in Erie County to address this problem.”
Teaching Excellence in American Constitutional History (TEACH) will impact nearly all the district’s middle and high school social studies teachers, and, in turn, about 1,450 Corry students. Sixth-grade through 11th-grade Corry teachers will participate in a three-year professional development program and earn Pennsylvania Act 48 credits while also gaining access to educational resources, a project Web site, a mentoring program, summer conferences at Mercyhurst and visits to three historical sites (Gettysburg, Pa., Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, Pa.). Selected conference lectures and lesson plans will be published as a book and on a compact disk for use as a resource for teaching American history.
In addition, a scholar will give a public lecture each spring to bolster community interest and create public support for teaching traditional American history as a separate academic discipline.