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Carolina Oral History Teaching Fellows Program

Group reviews development materials from Fullerton oral history center

               Carolina Oral History Teaching Fellows

June 19-21, 2017 and July 26, 2017 |UNC-Chapel Hill

Meet the Summer 2017 Carolina Oral History Teaching Fellows!

Oral history interviews provide tangible access to the past, with narrators offering first-hand descriptions in their own voices of historical events, ideas, and mindsets. Bringing K-12 students into close contact with these unique auditory sources can give them a very real sense of what it was like in years past, leading to personal connections, the development of critical thinking skills, and an interest in history that is sometimes missing in middle and high school youth. With this in mind, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Southern Oral History Program(SOHP), in collaboration with Carolina K-12, is excited to announce and solicit applications for its Carolina Oral History Teaching Fellows.This unique program will provide fifteen middle and high school teachers from around the state with an intensive exploration of how to utilize oral histories in the K-12 classroom in effective, meaningful, and creative ways.  This year’s focus will be on oral histories from the Civil Rights Movement.

 While this program is designed with the middle and high school social studies teacher in mind, teachers in other disciplines (such as English/Language Arts teachers) with a demonstrated interest in integrating civil rights instruction and oral histories into their course are also eligible.

The Oral History Teaching Fellows program will kick off with a three-day seminar at UNC-Chapel Hill on June 19-21, 2017. The dynamic agenda will integrate:

  • content presentations on the Civil Rights Movement from university scholars
  • exploration of various concepts, strategies and resources for effectively utilizing oral histories in the middle and high school classroom
  • an introduction to the SOHP collection, which includes hundreds of full-length interviews with Civil Rights activists—famous and unknown—from across the South
  • training on how to utilize and edit oral history excerpts from the SOHP collection that fit particular classroom objectives
  • an overview of ready-to-implement classroom resources, such as Carolina K-12’s lesson plans and Mapping Voices of North Carolina’s Past, a digital map of the state embedded with oral history clips about desegregating schools across North Carolina.
  • discussion regarding how diverse voices from the past can reshape the way we understand and teach about civil rights today

Each Fellow will then return home to complete independent research in the SOHP collections (all transcripts and audio files are available online) with the goal of creating playlists of short clips from various civil rights interviews which will be particularly useful to classroom teachers.  Fellows will then write one creative lesson plan that utilizes their selected oral history clips.

The project will culminate when the Fellows return to UNC-Chapel Hill for a closing workshop on July 26, 2017, where they will present their work to one another, collaborating to improve and finalize their lessons and ultimately, leaving with at least 15 new activities to utilize in their classrooms. Final lessons will be hosted on the SOHP and Carolina K-12 websites.

Educators who are chosen as a UNC Oral History Teaching Fellow will receive:

  • A $550 stipend (after the completion of the lesson plan)
  • 4.0 CEUs
  • Hotel accommodations (single occupancy) for the June 19-21 and July 26 events (for teachers residing over 90 round-trip miles from Chapel Hill)
  • Meals and snacks
  • A unique mix of engagement with scholars, interactive pedagogical exploration, and collaboration with colleagues that will provide inspiration and rejuvenation for teaching itself

Please note that applicants must be able to attend all hours of both the June 19-21, 2017 and the July 26, 2017 events in order to be selected as a Fellow.

Teaching history is too often an exercise in rote memorization.  This dynamic fellowship will provide a chance for teachers to learn and collaborate on creating and implementing creative strategies to engage students in critical thinking while tying past civil rights events to contemporary issues. Don’t miss this unique opportunity for middle and high school teachers – apply today! (The deadline for applications is Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Applicants will be selected by a committee comprised of UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and staff, and will be notified by May 26, 2017 of their acceptance.)

The Carolina Oral History Teaching Fellows program is a collaboration between the Southern Oral History Program and Carolina K-12. Funding for this program is provided by the Southern Oral History Program, the North Caroliniana Society, the College of Arts & Sciences, and the Graduate School’s Bland Fellowship.



If you have any questions, please email Christie Norris at