News Release

Southeastern to offer graduate telecourse for social studies teachers on American presidents

Contact: Christina Chapple


     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University will offer a televised graduate course on American presidents for area social studies teachers this fall. 

     The course, “History 655: History for Teachers -- Using Biography to Teach History: The Presidents,” is being offered to qualifying teachers through Southeastern’s and the Tangipahoa Parish School System’s Teaching American History grant program. After successfully completing an initial three-year grant phase, the program recently was again funded by the U.S. Department of Education through a $900,000 grant to Southeastern and the Tangipahoa Parish School Board.

     The TAH grant serves elementary, middle, and high school social studies teachers in Region II – the parishes of East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana, and the cities of Bogalusa, Baker, and Zachary.

     Qualifying Region II teachers will receive free tuition, a $200 stipend, three hours of graduate credit that may apply toward Southeastern’s Master of Arts in History degree, and 45 continuing learning units (CLUs) required to maintain highly qualified status), said Bill Robison, head of Southeastern’s Department of History and Political Science and the TAH program academic coordinator.

     Instruction for the History 655 classes will be provided by the Department of History and Political Science and will be broadcast on the university’s cable access channel, the Southeastern Channel, on Wednesdays, Aug. 22-Nov. 28, from 5-6 p.m. The course also will be available by streaming video from the university’s website,

     Robison said the course will focus on “15 presidents whom scholars rank among the greatest” -- George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Ronald Reagan.

     History Instructor Charles Elliott will host the class, which each week will feature a Southeastern faculty member as guest scholar, including Keith Finley, Roman Heleniak, Samuel Hyde, Michael Kurtz, Harry Laver, Peter Petrakis, Benjamin Price, Randy Sanders, and Ronald Traylor.

     “We want to help teachers use the abundant resources available on our presidents,” Robison said. “Both scholarly studies and practical experience show that one of the best ways to get students interested in history is to personalize it through biography. Once students are hooked, it is easier to interest them in other useful approaches to history.”

     Robison said the TAH grant, which runs from 2007 to 2010, will explore a different theme each year through Saturday workshops and field trips, summer institutes, and travel classes to presidential libraries. A different History 655 graduate class will be offered each semester. 

     “For the first year of the grant, our theme is ‘Leadership in American History,’” said Robison. “After focusing on presidents and political leadership in the fall, we will study generals and military leadership in spring 2008.”

     He said the second year’s theme will be “Liberty and Diversity in American History,” focusing on founders and interpreters of the U.S. Constitution in fall 2008 and minority leaders in spring 2009, while the third year cover “Discovery and Creativity in American History,” with creators and discoverers as the topic in fall 2009 and artists in spring 2010.

     “Each version of History 655 will feature lectures, reading assignments, written work, and lesson plans drawing upon classic and recent biographies of American notables and appropriate related materials,” Robison said. “The class also will familiarize teachers with state benchmarks and grade level expectations and assist them to not only meet but exceed those standards.”

     Teachers interested in registering for History 655 should contact TAH Project Director Ann Trappey at or 985-748-2443.  For more information on the class and other TAH grant activities, contact Robison at or 985-549-2109.

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