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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 15, 2003

UI Professor Wins Grant To Put History Into Action

It's one thing to read about American history. It's another to make it.

As ambitious as it sounds, that's what University of Iowa education professor Rahima Wade wants social studies teachers and their students to accomplish through a national, federally funded program called CiviConnections: Constructing the Past, Creating the Future.

Under the three-year, $1.047 million grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (which also runs the national AmeriCorps and school-based Learn and Serve service programs), teachers across the country in grades three through 12 can apply for a limited number of grants to help them integrate local historical inquiry into their classrooms.

Wade, Ed.D., professor in the College of Education's Curriculum and Instruction Department, wrote the winning grant-proposal on behalf of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the actual grant recipient, and will serve as the project's director and evaluator. The NCSS proposal was one of just seven proposals chosen for funding in a new 2003 grant competition called "Linking History, Civics, and Service."

Wade said teachers will not just talk about history; they'll lead their students in developing solutions for social problems in their communities and then put those ideas to work.

Take the issue of homelessness, for example. The teachers and students would research the history of the problem locally, examine national data, explore contributing factors such as the Great Depression and then develop a service-learning project that seeks to address the problem. Activities might include working in a soup kitchen or crisis center, collecting winter clothing or holding a fundraiser.

"The notion here is that we all are history-makers," Wade said. "They learn about history, then become part of making it themselves."

In May 2004, 33 teams of three teachers from schools or districts will be awarded grants of $7,500. The money will cover the cost of their attendance at a workshop next summer, attendance at the NCSS annual meeting in November 2004, and support costs and funding for expenses related to their particular school projects, such as transportation or the purchase of curricular materials.

A smaller, select group of teachers will be chosen from among the first year's participants to serve as mentors for the second and third years of the grant.

When the individual projects are completed, the classes will be expected to coordinate a community-wide celebration, giving presentations in their schools, civic centers or other community venues. The projects will also be reported on in publications produced through the grant.

For more information about the CiviConnections project, visit the NCSS website at http://www.ncss.org/civiconnections/home.shtml. For information about how to apply for a grant, e-mail civiconnections@ncss.org

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007, stephen-pradarelli@uiowa.edu; Program: Rahima Wade, rahima-wade@uiowa.edu, 319-335-5118