Introducing the Ivey Center for the Cultural Approach to History

Diagram of the Cultural Approach to History

As of July 1, 2013, the Ivey Center for the Cultural Approach to History has been established at the College of Education and Health Professions as resource center for pre-service and in-service teachers to promote the Cultural Approach to History. The vision of the Ivey Center 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.

The Ivey Center functions as a “high-tech” and “high-touch” resource hub. We at the Ivey Center understand that relevance and responsiveness are the two most compelling features of any educational paradigm and program. Therefore, we want to provide teachers with innovative teaching strategies and resources commensurate with the digital age. The Ivey Center is on the cutting edge of curriculum development; video and audio podcasts, easy to use digital presentations and other interactive resources for the classroom are all geared to state and national performance standards and make it seamless to integrate technology into the social studies classroom. 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.

The Cultural Approach to History was developed by Oliver Turner Ivey, Professor Emeritus, in response to concerns expressed by educators and administration in Montgomery, Alabama, school system. Through a joint effort between Professor Ivey, Dr. 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. The Cultural Approach to History employs anthropological methodology to transform history from the rote memorization into a holistic exploration of cultural institutions, thereby broadening student understanding of key historical concepts while increasing critical thinking. Students engage in meaningful inquiry, asking questions that drive at understanding why and how events occurred, rather than just superficial knowledge of what happened. It is with the intention of honoring this legacy and of updating and reintroducing the Cultural Approach to History to the next generation of teachers and students that the Ivey Center operates.

The Ivey Center is directed by Mr. Victor Salazar, and overseen by the Dean of COEHP.

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