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Illinois State University

Illinois State University (ISU) has been a model for teacher education since its founding in 1857 as Illinois State Normal University. Today, ISU prepares more teachers and administrators than any other university in Illinois. Nearly one of every eight teachers in the classrooms of Illinois public schools holds a degree from Illinois State. The University is recognized nationally as the second-largest producer of teachers among institutions belonging to the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). Each semester, more than 4,600 teacher candidates are enrolled in educational programs accredited by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Illinois State University graduate students interact with a TPS-ISU instructor during an advanced course on teaching with primary sources

Illinois State University graduate students interact with a TPS-ISU instructor during an advanced course on teaching with primary sources.

The Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program at Illinois State University (TPS-ISU) began in January 2004 as part of the pilot program, An Adventure of the American Mind. The TPS-ISU program is the only member of the TPS consortium facilitated by an academic library—Milner Library. TPS-ISU works with schools, universities, associations, and libraries to provide professional development to teachers and library information specialists so that they can use the vast collection of digitized primary sources from the Library of Congress to enrich their classroom instruction. Professional development opportunities provided by the TPS program at ISU include workshops, graduate level academic courses, and mentoring to K-12 teachers of all disciplines. TPS-ISU also reaches educators from across the state through online graduate level courses.

TPS-ISU collaborates with Milner Library on the campus of Illinois State University in a number of ways. For example, Milner’s faculty works with TPS-ISU staff to provide opportunities to work with students and teachers who visit traveling exhibitions hosted by the library. Recent exhibitions include the National Endowment for the Humanities’ exhibitions John Adams Unbound and Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln's Journey to Emancipation. After middle school and high school students explore an exhibition, TPS-ISU staff conducts primary source analysis activities with these students, using facsimiles of primary sources from the exhibition and from related Library of Congress digitized collections. This collaborative effort has been well received by teachers because primary source analysis activities extend the learning experience, build students’ critical thinking skills and helps students connect with history on a personal level. These traveling exhibitions have also afforded TPS-ISU staff the opportunity to work with museum educators from the Children’s Discovery Museum in Normal, Illinois on developing primary source-based interactive learning experiences.