Teaching and Learning
English, Foreign Language & Social Studies
Projects and Initiatives
Current & Ongoing Projects
1. Tampa Bay Area Writing Project
Director, Dr. Pat Daniel (English)
The Tampa Bay Area Writing Project is a local site of the National Writing Project, founded in 1974, to improve writing in the schools by creating a new model for continuing education, and recognizes the expertise, knowledge and leadership potential of classroom teachers. Each summer the Tampa Bay Area Writing Project hosts an Invitational Summer Institute at the University of South Florida's Tampa campus, which meets for five weeks.
2. Holocaust Education Initiative
PI: Dr. Michael J. Berson (Social Studies)
Support provided by U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Anti-Defamation League, Yad Vashem, and Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education; 2009-Present
These collaborative partnerships have the shared goals to provide general knowledge to pre-service and in-service teachers about the events of the Holocaust; use the history of the Holocaust as a model for teacher candidates; prepare teacher candidates to teach about the Holocaust in middle and secondary (6-12) school settings; use national and state content standards in teaching about the Holocaust; and consider the ethical implications for classroom teachers in teaching about the Holocaust.
3. Teacher Quality in Civics
PI: Doug Dobson, UCF; Co-PI: Dr. Michael J. Berson (Social Studies)
Funded by the Florida Department of Education for $259,715 for Phase 1; $259,715 for Phase 2; $259,715 for Phase 3; 2010-2011
This project of the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship involves a collaboration between UCF, UF and USF. The goals of the project include: (1) To strengthen the content knowledge and skills of a cadre of civics teachers who can mentor others to effectively teach based on the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS); (2) Using online education, increase teacher awareness of NGSSS in civics and the implications of the Standards for Civics instruction and achievement; (3) Provide in-district and classroom technical assistance and coaching to encourage the adoption of effective strategies to deliver the NGSSS; and (4) Develop on-line resources that teachers can use to understand and support the implementation of the NGSSS for civics.
4. Commemorating the Hispanic Heritage of Florida
PI: Bárbara Cruz (Social Studies)
Funded by the Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean $5,000; Summer, 2011
The 500th Anniversary of the Florida landing of Spanish conquistador Ponce de León in April 2013 presents a unique “teaching moment” for educators throughout the state. The European exploration and colonization of the United States began --- not with English settlements in Virginia --- but with Spanish settlements in Florida. To commemorate this historic event, an interdisciplinary, multi-day academic conference will be held in October 2012 in Tampa. Open to both the general public as well as to Tampa Bay educators, this event promises to be informative and promote community awareness. On the last day of the conference, a K-12 teacher’s workshop will showcase this curriculum writing project where educators will learn innovative strategies for teaching content presented at the conference. Efforts are underway to secure funding for a special issue of Newspaper in Education.
Completed Projects and Activities
5. Global Schools Project
PI: Dr. Bárbara Cruz (Social Studies)
Funded by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation for $160,000; 2003-2010
This project was the result of a successful partnership among the Patel Center, the USF College of Education and the School District of Hillsborough County. Started in 2003, with a seed grant from the Globalization Research Center and then a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the Project provided professional development opportunities that enable secondary school teachers to prepare their high school students to better understand and negotiate an increasingly globalized environment. This Project promotes the development of a global and multicultural perspective, the dissemination of international knowledge, and the preparation necessary for future leaders to make astute policy decisions in a multicultural and diverse context. Curriculum development that resulted from the Project can be accessed on the Department of Secondary Education’s web page under “Global Schools Project.”
6. Teachers and Authors Together
PI: Joan Kaywell (English)
Funded by the USF Innovative Teaching Opportunity Grant for $2,000; May 2010
The goal of the project was to create a video of award-winning authors responding to the question, “Do books save lives?” Authors were then asked to respond with evidence to support their opinion.
7. Humanities in Latin American and Caribbean Studies: A Key to Past, Present, and Future
Pi: Dr. Bárbara Cruz (Social Studies)
Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities for $75,000; 2009
This project, a collaborative effort among the University of South Florida (USF) and the public school districts in the neighboring counties, provided an extended summer workshop to 20 social studies and 20 Spanish language secondary school teachers on the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida. The workshop resulted in interdisciplinary collaboration and in a series of innovative lesson plans that are available through the Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean’s web site.
8. Towards Democracy and Diversity; Increasing the Content Knowledge and Pedagogical Skills of Caribbean Social Studies Educators
PI: Bárbara Cruz
Funded by the U.S. Department of State, $340,000; 2009
Thirty-seven teachers from the Dominican Republic and Haiti, who stayed on the USF Tampa campus for 5-weeks in Summer 2009, participated in this workshop. The central focus of the workshop will be achieved by reaching the following four goals: (a) enhancement of English language skills; (b) development of teaching skills based on cutting-edge pedagogy; (c) expansion of content-area expertise, with particular focus on how various disciplines (i.e., History, Economics, Political Science, and Anthropology and Geography) produce knowledge about the practice of democracy and diversity in the United States and elsewhere; and (d) development of advocacy and leadership skills that allowed the teachers to form a cadre of educational leaders who will be able to promote educational and social reform in their home countries.
Local teachers served as peer guides and engaged in cross-cultural sharing of curricula and
instructional strategies. At the completion of the on-campus workshop, the teachers were taken on a 3-
day field trip to Washington, D.C. where they had an opportunity to visit American institutions such
as the U.S. Congress, the Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of State.
9. Project Educating Learners to Engage in Civics Today (ELECT)
PI: Dr. Michael J. Berson (Social Studies)
Funded by United States Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, $2,040,147 awarded to the Hillsborough County Public Schools in partnership with the University of South Florida College of Education; 2007-2009
This project, led by Dr. Michael Berson along with Drs. Liliana Rodriguez-Campos and Donna Elam, actively engaged minority students in civic education in order to break the pattern of voter disenfranchisement that currently exists among minority adults in Hillsborough County. To that end, culturally competent instructional strategies were infused throughout civic education professional development. Moreover, lessons in cybercitizenship were designed to address the problematic aspects of Internet use and enhance critical skills for managing the information in a digital age.
- Dr. Berson provided oversight over the grant’s K-12 Social Studies Institute, cybercitizenship instruction, resource and training development and the interactive CD-Rom and model lesson plan development.
- Under the auspices of project ELECT, Dr. Barbara Cruz led the series of Global Citizenship workshops. This series enhanced knowledge, skills, and curriculum materials to teach about global citizenship issues.
10. Support for Elementary Educators through Distance Education in Spanish (SEEDS)
PI: Tony Erben (currently at University of Tampa)
Funded by the USDOE, awarded by the FDOE for $330,000; 2001-2004
SEEDS is a title VI federal project targeting elementary teachers who want to learn Spanish, infuse Spanish into their classrooms and/or internationalize their curriculum. Over 700 online materials have been developed for professional inservice teachers on teaching foreign language in the elementary school. Coupled with videos and interviews with nationally prominent experts, SEEDS is currently used in many school districts in six states.