Southeastern Louisiana University
Southeastern Louisiana University (Southeastern) began as a grass-roots movement by the people of Hammond and the surrounding area who recognized the need for an institution of higher education in order to advance the educational, economic, and cultural development of southeast Louisiana. What began as a junior college, supported by local taxes, has developed into a major university serving approximately 15,000 students. Southeastern consists of five colleges with 26 academic departments offering a total of 78 degree programs. The mission of Southeastern Louisiana University is “to lead the educational, economic, and cultural development of the southeast region of the state.” The University promotes student success and retention as well as intellectual and personal growth through a variety of academic, social, vocational, and wellness programs. Global perspectives are broadened through programs that offer the opportunity to work and study abroad. Together, Southeastern and the community provide an array of cultural activities that complete the total educational experience.
The Library of Congress’ Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program at Southeastern Louisiana University was initiated in the spring of 2008. Since then, the program has involved teacher candidates, K-12 teachers, faculty members, librarians, historians, and media specialists in promoting a real sense of history, as well as higher order thinking, critical thinking, and analysis skills, through the use of primary sources in the classroom and library. Program participants get involved through professional development workshops, presentations, and summer institutes. The TPS program at Southeastern Louisiana University has the unique advantage of being located within fifty miles of the historic city of New Orleans. The program utilizes the wealth of primary sources available in New Orleans, for example, by taking its summer institute participants on a field trip to the city, and has established collaborations with the Louisiana State Library, the Louisiana State Museum, and the Beauregard-Keyes House. In addition to tours, guest speakers from these cultural institutions and a local historian give presentations and online demonstrations to provide TPS-Southeastern Louisiana University summer institute participants with historical background. After participating in such events, teacher candidates and in-service teachers combine this local history with primary sources from the Library of Congress Web site to plan and teach inquiry lessons in their K-12 classrooms.
The summer institutes immerse participants in three days of workshops on teaching with both actual and digitized primary sources, participating in primary source-based activities, and writing inquiry lesson plans. After returning to their classes in the fall, the teachers incorporate their new knowledge into their lessons. Near the end of the semester, they return to Southeastern’s campus where they present their lessons. This is truly the high point of the institutes!