The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce the Anne and Ryland Brown Teacher Research Fellowship. The goal of the program is to enhance knowledge and training in history and social science instruction in the commonwealth of Virginia by providing educators with an opportunity for in-depth study and the development of teaching materials in collaboration with members of the Library of Virginia’s professional staff. Over the course of the summer, Brown Fellows work with Library of Virginia staff members to pursue research on an approved topic and produce educational materials based on the results of their findings. Brown Fellows are also required to make presentations regarding their research and finished projects at educational conferences.
This year the Fellowship will focus on research and projects on the history of Virginia’s state constitutions in support of the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Virginia Constitution.
50th Anniversary of the 1971 Virginia Constitution
The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the current Virginia state constitution. This year presents a rare opportunity to reflect not only on the history and impact of all the versions of Virginia’s state constitution, but also have a deeper understanding of the social and legal events leading up to the 1971 constitution, its 50 years of service (perfect and imperfect), and how this document can help to anchor Virginia as it confronts new challenges on the local and nation stage.
This powerful document plays a critical role in our daily lives as Virginians, but the Virginia Standards of Learning addresses its significance minimally. The 50th anniversary of the 1971 Virginia Constitution is the catalyst for launching a statewide effort around putting the primary sources of the state’s constitutional past, found in the LVA collections, into the hands of teachers and educators who can empower future generations to be active participants in our democracy. Research shows that students who engage with interactive civics education are more likely to vote and be engaged in their communities. Civics education prepares students to participate more fully in a democratic society as informed citizens who understand the importance of voting and the promise and limitation of government. This is particularly important for Virginia’s increasingly diverse student population. A recent study by the Fordham Institute recommended that increased instructional time in social studies, which includes civics, increases reading comprehension and benefits most students from non-English-speaking homes.
We are looking for Fellows who are interested in developing teacher resources that examine the history of Virginia’s state constitutions and how each one has influenced the daily lives of all Virginians. The Fellows will be asked to create a set of documents to be added to the online primary resource collection Document Bank of Virginia (DBVa), the Library of Virginia’s initiative to get documents into classrooms. Using primary sources, teachers and librarians can make history relevant to students while helping them learn and understand state standards. DBVa will teach students to be critical thinkers as they analyze original documents and draw their own conclusions about Virginia’s past.
The Brown Teacher Research Fellowship includes:
- A stipend of $2,000 for each recipient
- Up to $500 reimbursement for travel to an approved conference as a presenter
Eligible candidates for the Brown Teacher Research Fellowship must:
- Be residents of Virginia
- Have a minimum of three years of teaching experience in history and/or social science
- Exhibit the use of creative and engaging teaching techniques in the classroom
- Demonstrate a commitment to the use of primary sources as a part of classroom instruction
- Be available to complete two weeks of research between June and September 2021
Applications must include:
- A résumé
- A statement of interest in 500 words or less outlining:
- reasons for applying for the Fellowship
- teaching philosophy
- what you hope to gain from the experience
- A letter of support from an immediate supervisor
- A sample lesson plan and/or narrative description demonstrating creative uses of primary sources, along with examples of student work based on the lesson, if available
For additional information, please contact Catherine Fitzgerald Wyatt, Education and Outreach manager, at email@example.com or 804-692-3999.