Resources from the Texas Conference on Introductory History Courses

Currently, all students who pursue a bachelor's degree at a public institution in Texas are required to take six credit-hours of history. What kind of learning should an introductory history course entail in the 21st century? How can introductory history courses support student learning and success across the curriculum? The Texas Conference on Introductory History Courses, held August 28-29, 2015 at the University of Texas, Austin, was an opportunity for history faculty members from universities, two-year colleges, and high schools to articulate their goals for student learning at the college level and participate in professional development in three areas:

  1. Enriching the research basis for classroom content
  2. Exploring pedagogical practices that focus on skill-building and cultivating disciplinary habits of mind
  3. Beginning discussions on how to improve students' experience of history offerings across institutions, with an emphasis on maintaining academic rigor and aligning learning expectations

The conference agenda built on lessons and methods from the AHA Tuning project to articulate both history-specific and general liberal-learning goals for introductory history classes, taking into account the statewide learning outcomes for certain courses and the different institutional settings where they are offered.

To share these discussions beyond the conference, we've prepared various resources, including recordings of several of the presentations and discussions that took place, as well as reflections from participants.

Perspectives on History

AHA Tuning Project Holds Events around the Country
By Julia Brookins

Reflections

Texas Conference on Introductory History Courses: An AHA First!
By Julia Brookins

Approaching New Models for Texas Survey Courses: Struggles and Surprises
By Nancy E. Baker

Breakout Session: "Bringing the World into the US Survey" at the Texas Conference
By Gerald Betty

What Happens in Texas Will Not Stay in Texas: The Future of Introductory History Predicted in the Lone Star State
By Keith Erekson

Thoughts from a Two-Year Faculty Historian after the Texas Conference
By J. Kent McGaughy

Teaching History in Texas: The New Questions We Should Be Asking
By Penne Restad

A Graduate Student's Perspective of the Texas Conference
By Nicholas Roland

Recordings

Keynote Address: "Uncovering History in a History Survey Course"

Lendol Calder, Augustana College

How can college faculty use the limited time and resources we have in a single, introductory history course to provide students a deep learning experience that helps them in education and in life?


Keynote Address: "Empathy, Perspective, and Oral History in Teaching"

Emilio Zamora, University of Texas at Austin

Discussion: History in Higher Education Policy

Trinidad Gonzales, chair. Featuring Raymund Paredes, Texas Commissioner of Higher Education

Why does the Texas legislature still require college students to take history courses, and what does that mean for history faculty members?

Raymund Paredes, the Texas Commissioner of Higher Education, shared the stage with AHA Teaching Division Councilor Trinidad Gonzales (South Texas Coll.) for over an hour on August 28 at the Texas Conference on Introductory History Courses. In a frank and wide-ranging conversation about the role of history in college general education curricula and the how policy-making shapes requirements--and consequently staffing levels--for history at the college level, Paredes gave his insights and recommendations for history faculty members in the audience. He emphasized that improving students' low graduation rates for Associates and Bachelors degrees in Texas is a top priority for state higher education officials and lawmakers alike. Paredes taught in the English department at the University of California Los Angeles for more than 30 years before moving back to his native Texas. He received his PhD in American Civilization from the University of Texas at Austin.


Questions? Please contact Julia Brookins at jbrookins@historians.org.