From its humble beginnings as the state’s second teachers’ college — founded in 1869 with a dozen academic departments and an inaugural class of 143 – Southern Illinois University Carbondale now ranks among Illinois’ most comprehensive public universities. The Princeton Review ranks SIUC as one of the Best Midwestern Universities and one of the Best Valued Colleges in the nation. U.S. News and World Report ranked SIUC, alongside Princeton, West Virginia and North Carolina State, as one of the top schools for graduating students with the least amount of debt. SIUC is ranked 30th in the nation for economic diversity (enrolling undergraduates with family incomes less than $40,000 per year). Students are drawn to SIUC’s academic programs and while they’re here, they fall in love with the lush, rural landscapes and welcoming hospitality. Surrounded by forests, fields, lakes and bluffs, SIUC is a regional nucleus of academic, creative and cultural endeavors. The region is an outdoor paradise for boaters, rock climbers, hikers, nature lovers, hunters and horseback riders.
The Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale began in 2002, when SIU Carbondale (SIUC) and SIU Edwardsville (SIUE) became the first Illinois partners to join the pilot program, An Adventure of the American Mind. The overarching goal of the TPS program at SIUC is to encourage in-service and pre-service teachers to produce student-centered, primary source-based inquiry learning experiences incorporating the use of effective instructional practices. Primary source-based inquiry learning experiences are designed to improve students’ ability to think critically. TPS-SIUC also seeks to enlarge the community of educators who are dedicated to the improvement of education through use of primary source-based inquiry learning experiences and to make every attempt to address the digital divide which exists between rural southern Illinois schools and urban areas in Illinois.
The TPS program at SIUC offers classes, workshops and institutes for teachers on campus through the College of Education and Human Services, which is centrally located in the lower 17 counties of southern and southeastern Illinois. School districts involved in the TPS-SIUC program represent many high-need schools demonstrating academic deficiencies; several school districts within 50 miles of the SIUC campus, and in the southernmost counties of Illinois (Alexander, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Pulaski) have serious fiscal and academic deficits.
The TPS program at SIUC has targeted in-service teachers in the service area and pre-service teachers enrolled in the Master of Arts in Teaching cohort, as well as college faculty and undergraduates in the College of Education and Human Services. Nearly three hundred in-service and pre-service teachers have participated in TPS-SIUC’s three-hour graduate level course EDUC 550: Teaching with Primary Sources. Professional development is also delivered to teachers in school districts through onsite workshops and seminars. Additionally, TPS-SIUC regularly makes presentations at state and local professional development conferences.