University News

WIU to Host of Spring Teacher's Institute April 17-19

April 15, 2014

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University's Department of African American Studies, the DuSable Museum of African American History of Chicago (IL) and Illinois' Amistad Commission will co-host the 2014 Spring Teacher's Institute on the WIU campus Thursday - Saturday, April 17-19.

Illinois public school teachers for grades K-12 have been invited to attend the institute, presented by the DuSable Museum and the Illinois Amistad Commission. Attendees will earn 21 CPDUs for their continuing education, as well as a classroom "toolkit" to better incorporate the curricula.

The Spring Institute will include a variety of media, scholarly presentations, pedagogical workshops and the recently developed Illinois Amistad curricula to prepare instructors for how to implement an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to teaching about the African and African American experience. Topics examined will include enslavement and trade, the historic and contemporary vestiges of enslavement, the deep roots of Africans on American Society, African Americans and social entrepreneurship, the legacy and pioneering spirit of Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable and Illinois and the Underground Railroad.

Keynote presentations will be made by DuSable Museum of African American History President Carol Adams and award winning historian Cheryl LaRoche. Adams is a sociologist whose varied career and diverse skills have combined to make her a social engineer of international reputation. Adams has held positions including the chairman of the African American Studies Department at Loyola University, director of the Center for Inner City Studies at Northeastern Illinois University and secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services.

LaRoche is a highly sought speaker on the Underground Railroad and she is employed by the Smithsonian. Her current work focuses on free African American communities and the crucial help they provided to individuals fleeing slavery, and the terrain where those flights to freedom occurred.

WIU Department of African America Studies Chair and Professor F. Erik Brooks said he is "very pleased to have been selected as one of only two down-state sites to offer this teacher's institute."

"We welcomed the opportunity to encourage the addition of this curriculum into the schools," he said. "It is my hope that the more our young students know about the history of African Americans, the more they will be inspired to learn when they enroll in college and consider African American Studies as a course of study."

For more information on the Spring Institute, contact Brooks at (309) 298-1181 or Jomo Cheatham, project coordinator at the DuSable museum, at (773) 420-2723.

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