CSU Establishes the Ivey Center for the Cultural Approach to History

COLUMBUS, Ga. – With a grant of $316,025 from the Ivey Foundation, Columbus State University is establishing the Ivey Center for the Cultural Approach to History in its College of Education and Health Professions.

The center opens the first day of the fall term of the 2013-2014 academic year. It will serve as resource center for pre-service and in-service teachers to promote the Cultural Approach to History, which transforms history from static, rote memorization into an active and more engaging exploration by applying anthropological methods to the study of history. 

Its vision is to serve the region as the resource center for the Cultural Approach to History, where teachers of social studies and humanities-related subjects can enhance their professional skills, network with other teachers, and contribute to shaping the Cultural Approach to History curriculum.

“Having the Ivey Center at Columbus State University gives us the opportunity to share this methodology for teaching history with our local and regional teachers,” said Barbara Buckner, dean of CSU’s College of Education and Health Professions. “The Cultural Approach can make learning history interesting because teachers apply anthropological methods to the teaching of history. 

“Instead of thinking about history as a set of years with wars students are taught what was happening in society at the time, the economics, aesthetics and religious aspects of life. It makes history more real.”

The uniqueness of the Ivey Center is that it is entirely online. Directed by Victor Salazar, it employs the latest in curriculum development by way of video and audio podcasts, easy-to-use digital presentations and other interactive resources. They are all geared to state and national performance standards and make it seamless to integrate technology into the social studies classroom. Teachers can download these resources from the website, http://culturalapproach.org/, free of charge.

In addition, by providing direct, indirect, and responsive support to teachers, the Ivey Center will not only introduce teachers to the innovative methods of the Cultural Approach to History, but will also help sustain teachers in the use of these methods. The center also provides support for teachers in the form of teacher networking, seminars, and outreach.

Oliver Turner Ivey, Professor Emeritus at Auburn University, developed the Cultural Approach to History in response to concerns expressed by educators and administration in Montgomery, Ala., school system. Through the collaborative efforts of Ivey, Andrew Weaver of Auburn University, and 26 teachers, the seventh grade social studies curriculum in Montgomery schools was overhauled and the Cultural Approach to History was created and adopted.