WIU History Community Outreach

Western's History Department, with 15 award-winning faculty members dedicated to enhancing the public's understanding of and appreciation for history, is active in several community outreach and public service programs, with a particular focus on enriching the teaching of history in the region's secondary schools.  WIU's History Department provides professional development opportunities for history teachers through our Annual History Conference and a variety of other outreach activities throughout the year. See the Community Outreach News for the latest news about the WIU History Department's activities! 

 Annual WIU History Conference

The  39th Annual WIU History Conference  will be held on Saturday, April 4, 2014.   Further information will be available here soon.



WIU History Conference participants


Dr. Peter Cole speaks to teachers at a "TAH" Grant workshop

"Teaching American History" Grants

Through a long-standing partnership with the Hancock-McDonough Regional Office of Education (ROE 26), WIU's History Department participated in a series of three U.S. Department of Education "Teaching American History" (TAH) grants to enhance the teaching of U.S. history in the secondary schools in a twenty-one-county region surrounding Macomb. Teachers  developed teaching strategies and resources that are then provided free to all secondary schools and Regional Offices of Education in the twenty-one county region.

The Department's TAH grant involved a series of summer travel-study trips for approximately thirty history teachers in the region, led by WIU faculty members, combined with semi-annual on-campus workshops led by WIU History faculty members, to prepare teachers for the summer trips and provide opportunities for additional teachers to enhance their understanding of the nation's history. Approximately seventy teachers from the twenty-one-county region attended each of these workshops. The teachers who travelled each summer were selected from those attending the on-campus workshops during the previous year.

In the first year of the grant, after on-campus workshops featuring presentations by Drs. Balsamo, Key, Cole, and Ed Woell, a group of twenty-seven of the history teachers who attended both workshops traveled in Summer 2009 to Memphis, New Orleans, the Mississippi Delta, and Vicksburg with Drs. Key and Balsamo. The themes of this trip were slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, southern culture, and Civil Rights. In the grant's second year, after on-campus workshops featuring presentations by Professors Virginia Jelatis, Richard Filipink, Peter Cole, and Walter Kretchik, the grant took teachers to Boston, Massachusetts and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in Summer 2010, under the leadership of Drs. Jelatis and Balsamo, to explore America's colonial and Revolutionary roots. In the third year of the grant, following on-campus workshops featuring presentations by Professors Timothy Roberts, Peter Cole, Barclay Key, and Richard Filipink, the grant took teachers to Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia and Montgovery and Birmingham, Alabama, in Summer 2011, under the leadership of Dr. Key and Dr. Larry Balsamo. The trip focused on historic Civil Rights and Civil War sites.

Teachers participating in each of these trips prepared a DVD containing a variety of teaching strategies and resources, including unit and lesson plans, based on their visits to museums and historic sites. A copy of each year's DVD was given free to every school in the twenty-one county region, for possible use in their history classrooms.

Dr. Roberts at Lincoln Exhibit Reception

Dr. Timothy Roberts Speaks at Opening of NEH Lincoln Exhibit at WIU

WIU History Department's Community Service in the News