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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 13, 2003

Belin-Blank Center Grant To Enhance American History Teaching

With the help of a $718,423 federal grant, the University of Iowa's Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development will work with other UI and state offices to enhance the teaching of American history, both in terms of content and instructional methods.

The Belin-Blank Center, part of the UI College of Education, will join with the UI Department of History, Iowa Area Education Agency 267 (which is based in Cedar Falls and serves schools in 18 counties), the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum and the Grout Museum of History and Science to promote and support the effective teaching of American history at the elementary and secondary levels. The project's goal is to increase significantly student appreciation of, and achievement in, courses related to the history of the United States.

The U.S. Department of Education grant, which runs from this month through September 2006, will support the creation of in-depth course and testing materials for history educators.

"We want all students to graduate with a class in advanced American history," Belin-Blank Center Director Nicholas Colangelo, Ph.D., said. "We also want Iowa students to graduate with a profound understanding of American history as well as a critical appreciation for this unique story."

Laurie J. Croft, Ph.D., the grant's project director and the Belin-Blank Center's administrator of professional development, said she hopes the project will be the first of many to support the advanced teaching and study of subject areas throughout the humanities, as well as in the sciences.

"Gifted education has focused a great deal on mathematics and science, but this gives us an opportunity to focus on a different content area," Laurie J. Croft, Ph.D., the grant's project director and the Belin-Blank Center's administrator of professional development. "There are gifted students who are just as excited about history as other students are about math and science."

The products and evaluations developed through the project will be made available to all schools in Iowa, with periodic updates offered through the Belin-Blank Center website.

Educators who would like more information about the project may contact the Belin-Blank Center at or 319-335-6148.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,