History and Slavic Center Win NEH Grant

By Eileen Kunkler

Scott Levi, associate professor, Department of History, and CSEES affiliate faculty, was awarded a $186,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to run a three-week Summer Institute, Central Asia in World History, for 25 K-12 teachers in July 2016. Specifically, the institute allows Summer Scholars to learn more about Central Asia — its history and its culture — and ways to incorporate additional content about the region into their teaching. Experts on Central Asia will come from around the country to give lectures, talk with Summer Scholars and work with Levi as project director to invigorate these teachers’ interest in this not well understood region, as well as giving the Summer Scholars the opportunity to attend cooking demonstrations, cultural outings to art museums and musical performances with traditional instruments.

In  Levi's words, "This NEH grant gives us the opportunity to identify 25 dedicated and enthusiastic teachers from across the country, bring them to the Ohio State campus, and give them a unique opportunity to study Central Asian history with some of the best scholars in the field. Over an intensive three-week program, teachers will develop an understanding of the many ways that Central Asian peoples have helped shape world history, and they’ll use this experience as they design new course plans for use in their own classes. Through this grant, we stand to make a positive impact on the education of tens of thousands of students across the country, and on our nation's understanding of an increasingly important geopolitical region."

CSEES will assist Levi with the administration of the institute, advertising it and recruiting teachers, handling the logistics for the guest experts, extracurricular events and participating teachers. As a federally designated Title VI Comprehensive National Resource Center by the Department of Education, one of CSEES’ absolute priorities is to support K-12 teacher training. Supporting the institute will allow CSEES to meet this priority on a national level, as teachers will come primarily from outside Ohio.

In 2012, Levi won his first grant from the NEH to organize a two-week Summer Seminar, Central Asia in World History, also for K-12 teachers. Building upon the success of this previous grant, Levi constructed his proposal for the 2016 Summer Institute to bring in a greater number of outside experts over three versus two weeks, allowing Summer Scholars to engage more deeply with the material on Central Asia. Full information on the 2016 institute and examples of the work developed by 2012 participants can be found on Central Asia in World History’s webpage.