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University of Iowa News Release


June 7, 2011

UI prepares Iowa teachers for global literacy through summer institute

The University of Iowa and the Stanley Foundation are playing important roles in preparing teachers across the state of Iowa to infuse global perspectives into their classrooms, a concept that is required by Chapter 12 of the Iowa Administrative Code. This section of the code states that Iowa school districts must incorporate global education into all areas and levels of educational programs.

UI International Programs is partnering with the Stanley Foundation to connect Iowa teachers with newly designed global literacy concepts that support the Chapter 12 mandate through the annual Summer Institute for Teachers. This professional development course brings 20 middle, junior and high school teachers from across the state for three days of training, guest speakers, group activities and workshops.

Gregory Hamot, who is leading the summer institute, said the goal was to recruit teachers from all disciplines and congressional districts in Iowa for the June 13-15 institute. Workshops and sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the International Programs' Commons, 1117 University Capitol Centre.

"Global literacy concepts are useable in every subject matter. They fit into everything from P.E. to physics," said Hamot, a UI professor in the College of Education and director of the UI Center for Human Rights in International Programs.

International Programs recently partnered with the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy, the Iowa Department of Education and the J. William and Harriet Fulbright Center to organize a state task force of educators, business professionals and other interested community members to discuss additions to the Iowa Core Curriculum's 21st century skills, which prepare students to survive and excel in the new global environment.

The task force formally recommended the addition of essential concepts and skills for global literacy to the 21st century skills. These concepts emphasize the importance of Iowa K-12 students engaging in other cultures, understanding global issues, and making connections while understanding the interdependence between cultures in a global economy.

Sandra Dop, 21st Century Skills consultant at the Iowa Department of Education, said the essential concepts and skills for global literacy will be a resource for teachers as they strive to embed global literacy throughout their K-12 curriculum.

Past summer institutes have centered on a specific theme or geographic area, such as global climate change, the U.S.-Mexico Border and immigration or the Middle East. This year's newly-designed institute will broadly address the global literacy concepts and the 21st century skills of the Iowa Core Curriculum, and it will be condensed from a week-long workshop into three days in order to be more convenient for teachers.

It will also be the first year that room and tuition will be completely free of charge for the 20 participants, allowing for the best representation of Iowa teachers as possible to attend.

Teachers were eager to take advantage of this opportunity and enrollment is at full capacity, said Karen Wachsmuth, International Programs' outreach coordinator and organizer of the institute.

Wachsmuth said the planning committee strived to make this year's institute as directly useful to teachers as possible. Workshops devoted to designing curriculum are part of the institute's schedule, allowing teachers to return to their schools with concrete teaching materials -- not just ideas.

Teachers are also encouraged upon their return to present this new knowledge of the global literacy concepts to other faculty at their respective schools.

"The Stanley Foundation and International Programs at the University of Iowa are giving teachers the opportunity to reshape their curriculum and inspire a new generation of students to live in a global world," Wachsmuth said. "We hope to continue to be a resource to Iowa teachers for their changing educational needs."

Guest speakers at this year's institute include Merry Merryfield, professor at The Ohio State University and author of several books on global education, including "Social Studies and the World: Teaching Global Perspectives"; Georgina Dodge, chief diversity officer and associate vice president at the UI; Brian Hand, professor in the UI College of Education; Dale Fisher of the UI Museum of Art; and Craig Just, adjunct associate professor in the UI College of Engineering.

For more information on the institute, visit

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Greg Hamot, UI Center for Human Rights, 319-335-5382,; Karen Wachsmuth, UI International Programs, 319-335-0345,; Writer, Katelyn McBride