Campus: CSU, Long Beach -- April 24, 2001

Cal State Long Beach History Professor Receives $140,000 NEH Grant for Tech Project

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded Cal State Long Beach History Professor Donald Schwartz a two-year, $140,000 through its "Schools for the New Millennium" program.

Titled "Using Technology to Teach Immigration, Migration and Acculturation," Schwartz' two-year project at Long Beach Unified School District's Hoover Middle School will provide in-service training and professional development for history and social science educators beginning in September 2001.

The grant, one of only 12 presented nationwide, will support CSULB faculty with an expertise in oral history as they train Hoover teachers in how to use oral history techniques. The program will fund 15 three-hour workshops dealing with issues of migration and immigration as they relate to various ethnic groups represented at Hoover.

Schwartz, a Seal Beach resident who joined the university in 1987, said the goal of the project is to teach the history of migration and immigration to students who would, in turn, interview their parents and write personal histories of their families. The narratives would then be posted on the Worldwide Web and made available to students throughout the LBUSD.

"We'll take the best of these narratives and put them in a brochure for use in an adult literacy program," said Schwartz, who also serves as social science coordinator. "The parents of these students will take adult literacy classes about their own experiences."

The grant was co-written by Schwartz, the project director, as well as Linda Mehlbrech, a part-time lecturer in the CSULB Teacher Education Department and social science consultant for the LBUSD, and Francine Curtis, a LBUSD educator.

Schwartz believes that one reason the NEH recognized him with this, his fifth NEH grant, is his long history with the LBUSD. CSULB's History Department has conducted NEH summer institutes for secondary school teachers in 1989, 1992 and twice in 1994.

Another reason the NEH was attracted to the project, Schwartz explained, is Hoover's receipt of a major grant that funded laptop computers for its faculty and Internet connections. "We weren't asking for money to buy hardware. All that was already in place," he said. "We think this program is a very comfortable fit with Hoover. I think it is exactly what the NEH had in mind when they planned to raise academic performance through technology."

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