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Program in the Humanities

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

CEC News

Check out this month’s CEC News!

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June 2015 – Happy Summer Vacation

FEATURED Resources: Enjoy your summer vacation

None this month. Relax and enjoy some time off thinking about things other than school or join us at one of our summer workshops!

 News Updates

1. State Education Board poised to loosen reins on final exams

by Lynn Bonner, Originally appeared in the News & Observer on June 3, 2015.

Raleigh – The State Board of Education is responding to mass defections from statewide methods for measuring teachers’ contributions to student progress by considering alternatives for districts that want to come up with their own ideas.

Schools started keeping track of how students progressed under individual teachers in 2013 with the intent of using the information in teacher evaluations. That part of the evaluation uses student scores on long-established standardized tests, such as end-of-grade exams, for classes that have them. For other courses, students take newer state-distributed N.C. Final Exams. For art classes and the like, teachers submit samples of student work for review.

But dozens of school districts received permission to opt out of the state final exams and art evaluations. Wake, the state’s largest school district, won permission to opt out of the state final exams last month. Legislators have indicated – through a House bill – that they want education officials to drop the tests.

Districts and teachers complain that the tests don’t represent what students are taught, students don’t take the tests seriously, and administering them eats up too much classroom time.

As an alternative to the state final exams, the State Board would allow districts to develop their own plans for determining teacher growth. The plans may include tests districts develop or purchase. The local plans would need approval from the State Board of Education.

The board is set to vote on the new policy Thursday, and it would be in effect for the next school year. Opting out of the state final exams would no longer be an option.

Some district superintendents welcome coming up with their own methods, said State Superintendent June Atkinson, while others will continue to use the state exams.

“Giving the local option should be positive,” she said at a committee meeting Wednesday. “This gives the opportunity for school districts to think of other ways in determining what would be the student growth measure.”

The policy says that the growth factor calculated through test scores won’t be used in isolation “for employment decisions.” But Board Vice-Chairman A.L. Collins warned that future decisions on teacher merit pay could be based on tests that many say are flawed.

“There should be a better way to evaluate teachers than a test that has had as much criticism as these tests have had,” he said. “I just think we can do better.”

Bonner: 919-829-4821; Twitter: @Lynn_Bonner

Current Opportunities

1. 2015 Local Government Seminar
Dates & Location: July 28 & 29; Greensboro Public Safety Training Facility
Funding is generously provided by the NC City & County Management Association

Every day, local government touches the lives of North Carolinians and provides the services essential for functional communities, growing businesses, and healthy families.  It is local government that supplies water to our faucets, collects our trash, moves traffic through our downtowns, and cuts the grass in our parks and ball fields.  It is also local government that delivers care and counseling to those facing difficult times and responds with qualified personnel to life’s emergencies.

Participants in this seminar will learn first-hand the role of local government in North Carolina and then explore pedagogical strategies for teaching young people about how local government in North Carolina works.  Highlights of the Seminar will include: meeting with elected and appointed local government officials, “behind-the-scenes” field trips of various county and city departments, and MUCH MORE!!


  • Lesson plans aligned to the NC Essential Standards
  • 1.5 renewal credits
  • A FREE, single occupancy hotel room for the evening of 7/28 (for participants residing more than 100 round-trip miles from the training location)
  • Meals – lunch on 7/28;  lunch on 7/29; snacks throughout
  • One-on-one access to various elected and unelected officials and city and county staff.
  • “Special Access” field trips to various sites around the city and county.

To download the 2015 Local Government Seminar registration form, click here.

2. Talkin’ Tar Heel: Exploring the History & Diversity of North Carolina **This workshop is currently full, but applications are still being accepted for the waitlist**
Date & Location: July 15 & 16; Tryon Palace in New Bern

Funding for this event is generously provided by Russel Edmister and the Daisy Edmister Teachers Fund.

North Carolina’s history is rich with diverse people and dramatic events, and where better to spend two engaging days exploring such dynamic topics than a retreat at beautiful Tryon Palace? K-12 teachers are invited to join the Civic Education Consortium and Tryon Palace for Talkin’ Tar Heel: Exploring the History & Diversity of North Carolina. This innovative program will integrate immersive experiences at North Carolina’s most famous historic site, scholar lectures on various historical subjects related to North Carolina’s past, and pedagogical exploration of lesson plans and strategies for bringing history alive in the K-12 classroom. From learning about the colonial Regulators and how they challenged Governor Tryon himself, to exploring the myriad of ways enslaved people sought freedom throughout the state, teachers will get a snapshot of some of North Carolina’s most compelling historical events and people, all while enjoying a beautiful, waterfront view in downtown New Bern! Teachers will be treated to a private tour of Tryon Palace and a Jonkonnu performance, a traditional 19th century African American celebration that is a fusion of music and dancing. Teachers will also receive a free copy of the book, Talkin’ Tar Heel during a special session with the book’s two authors. Deepen your own knowledge of North Carolina’s diverse history as a life-long learner, explore new ideas and strategies for direct application in your classroom, dialogue with scholars and fellow teachers from around the state, and reconnect with what you love about teaching by spending two days with the Consortium at Tryon Palace!

Teachers Receive:

  • 1.2 Renewal Credits
  • Access to historical experts; experiential encounters throughout the grounds of Tryon Palace; and lesson plans, teaching ideas, and pedagogical training from the Civic Education Consortium.
  • A signed copy of Talkin’ Tar Heel: How Our Voices Tell the Story of North Carolina
  • Lunch & an late afternoon reception on Friday; breakfast  & lunch on Saturday
  • Single occupancy hotel accommodations can be requested for Wednesday night for participants residing more than 90 round-trip miles from Tryon Palace in downtown New Bern.  Additionally, participants residing more than 300 round trip miles from Tryon Palace can request a single-occupancy room for Tuesday evening as well.
    • If you do not meet the mileage requirements but have special circumstances for which you would like to request a room, you can inquire by contacting Paul Bonnici at

To access the workshop’s tentative agenda, click here.

To access the registration form, click here.

3. Beyond the Battlefield: Exploring the Role of Fear & Prejudice During World War II **This workshop is currently full, but applications are still being accepted for the waitlist**
Part of the Hidden Histories: What Your Textbook Left Out Series
Date & Location: August 6 & 7; NC Museum of History in Raleigh
Funding generously provided by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable TrustWhile World War II may have pulled the American economy out of depression, it didn’t remedy the many social problems of the time. The tensions and fears ignited by the conflicts between nations materialized in many ways across the nation and world. From the one hundred thousand Japanese men, women, and children who were removed from their homes and relocated to internment camps by the American government, to the 7,600 people who were sterilized as part of North Carolina’s state sponsored eugenics program, fear and prejudice took root and spread in many forms. Meanwhile, African Americans and American Indians fought two wars: one against the enemy, and the other against Jim Crow. Join the NC Civic Education Consortium and the NC Museum of History for its next installment of their acclaimed Hidden Histories series to explore these complicated issues and more. “Beyond the Battlefield: Exploring the Role of Fear & Prejudice During World War II” will examine the war years with the goal of gaining a more comprehensive understanding of neglected people and events that were occurring simultaneously during this tumultuous time. Participating teachers will have the unique opportunity to engage with scholars, writers and Holocaust survivors as they highlight the various ways that concern over national security, wartime rhetoric, fear, and prejudice exacerbated racial, ethnic, and class-based tensions at home and abroad.

“Beyond the Battlefield: Exploring the Role of Fear & Prejudice During World War II” will dynamically integrate:

  • Lectures from university scholars, authors & journalists – As part of the agenda, teachers will be provided the opportunity to return to the role of students themselves as they expand their content knowledge in discussions and presentations from professors, authors, and scholars from area universities.
  • “Witnessing the witnesses”- No one can speak to the role of fear, prejudice, and Anti-Semitism more than the brave survivors of the Holocaust. We will be joined by several Holocaust survivors in order to learn from their incredible stories first hand.
  • Interaction with the NC History Museum’s “A Call to Arms” exhibit –This exhibit provides an overview of North Carolina’s military heritage, including North Carolina’s role in World War II
  • Pedagogical exploration – Teachers will explore how to use various interactive strategies to engage students in social studies, as well as participate in parts of lesson plans designed by the CEC for the middle and high school classroom. Teachers will also learn about the new C3 Framework, designed specifically for helping students build critical thinking, problem solving, and participatory skills.

Deepen and diversify your own knowledge as a life-long learner, explore new ideas and strategies for direct application in your classroom and dialogue with scholars and fellow teachers from around the state at this not-to-be-missed event!


  • 1.2 Renewal Credits
  • Access to historical experts
  • Lesson plans, teaching ideas, and pedagogical training
  • Lunch on Aug. 6; breakfast & lunch on Aug. 7
  • Single occupancy hotel accommodations can be requested for Thursday night for participants residing more than 90 round-trip miles from the NC Museum of History in Raleigh.  Additionally, participants residing more than 300 round trip miles from the NC Museum of History can request a single-occupancy room for Wednesday evening as well.
    • If you do not meet the mileage requirements but have special circumstances for which you would like to request a room, you can inquire by contacting Paul Bonnici at

To download the “Beyond the Battlefield” registration, click here.

To view the tentative agenda, click here.  Please note agenda is subject to change.

4. Attend an Adventures in Ideas Summer Seminar for a Discount & Receive CEU Credit
Register now to secure a spot in a general seminar offered by the Program in the Humanities. K-12 Teachers receive a 50% discount off tuition and a $75 travel stipend as a part of the Daisy Edmister Fund. Seminars are Friday evening and Saturday morning or all-day Saturday. Receive credit for 10 contact hours of continuing education. While these programs are designed for a general audience and do not include pedagogical training or lesson plans (unlike the Consortium’s teacher trainings, which include a combination of pedagogy, curriculum exploration and scholar lectures), these seminars are still an excellent way for teachers to expand their content knowledge in various topics.

Topics and dates are:

For more information about these opportunities and to register, visit or call 919-962-1544 or email  Register today to secure a seat!

Please note: Teachers are eligible for only one $75 stipend per semester.

5. Announcing the 2015 Jane Austen Summer Program, Emma at 200!
Dates & Location: June 18-21, 2015; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

This year’s 4-day residential symposium will focus on Austen’s Emma, in honor of the novel’s two-hundredth anniversary. Participants will have the opportunity to hear expert speakers and participate in discussion groups each day, as well as join in a Regency ball, partake in an English tea, and visit special exhibits tailored to the conference. The discussions will consider the novel in its historical context as well as its many afterlives in fiction and film. The Jane Austen Summer Program (JASP) is designed to appeal to established scholars, high school teachers, graduate students, and undergraduate students—anyone with a passion for all things Austen is welcome and encouraged to attend! K-12 teachers will also want to visit the website for information on available scholarships and continuing education credits.

For more program information, to see comments and photos from previous programs, or to register, please visit our website

6. Connecting the Middle East to the Southeast
Date & Time: Tuesday, August 11, 2015, 9am-5pm

Presented by the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies

Gain a global experience without leaving the state of North Carolina! Link the Middle East and Islam to local realities! On this tour, teachers will learn about various cultural aspects of Muslim and Middle Eastern communities in the Triangle through guided discussions with community experts and Duke University Faculty.

What’s Included | Tour, site visits (transportation provided), morning coffee, lunch, and readings.

Eligibility | All K-12 teachers in North Carolina are invited to join in this study tour.

CEU Credits | Receive CEU Credits for participation in the three pre-tour readings, one-day study tour, and post-program reflection.

For more information, please visit, or download the program flyer. Please reply to Emma Harver at with any questions and to reserve your space on the tour. Please note that space is limited.


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