Dr. Eric D. Moffa
Ed.D. in Education
West Virginia University
As a high school teacher, the CDCE has enabled me to bring experiential learning into my students’ lives in ways that I was not able to do on my own. Attending one CDCE program, my students experienced a reenactment of Abe
Lincoln’s most influential speeches. Former students still talk about how memorable it was for them to see history come to life that night. In another program called “Touching History,” my students got their hands on early edition books and documents that helped form the political and social ideals of the United States. Because of this encounter, these students were able to discuss citizenship virtues in ways they never had before. My own experience with CDCE programs has increased my awareness of teaching social studies for a larger aim than pure disciplinary knowledge. Put simply, I no longer see myself as just a social studies teacher, but as a citizenship educator – a role I believe to be critical for the survival of democracy. Because of the CDCE’s model for excellence in civic education, I’ve developed my school’s Constitutional Day programs and 9/11 commemorations, and I’ve become a stronger classroom teacher who incorporates experiences that will foster students’ citizenship knowledge, skills, and dispositions. The CDCE provides a service to a largely rural state, enhancing knowledge of civics and illuminating the promises of democracy for the adult public and the students in West Virginia, from elementary through college age. Because of my experiences with
Dr. Waterson and the CDCE, I’m more focused and enthusiastic about my own research agenda in citizenship education.
Dr. Carolyn Brewjo
Ph.D., West Virginia University, 2013
College of Education and Human Services
West Virginia University
I have had the opportunity to work of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship Education in the process of earning a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Social Studies Education. I have seen personal academic growth that is unparalleled in my doctoral studies thus far and I attribute it to the opportunities given to me by the Center.
Under the guidance of Dr. Robert Waterson, I had the opportunity to work on every level of a research project from creating an research instrument, to implementing it, contacting schools, completing literature reviews, analyzing the data, writing a professional paper and presenting that paper at a conference. I was able to conceptualize and instigate research projects under the guidance of the Center. This project allowed me to understand how a research project takes shape from beginning to publication. This was a critical component of my doctoral work and I was proud of my contributions to well developed paper. While we were waiting for information about the publication of the paper, I had the opportunity to present the paper at the professional conference of the Association of Teacher Educators, which met in Chicago, IL in February. This experience is critical for doctoral students and I was pleased to be able to present in such a professional gathering.
The Center also gave me the opportunity to visit schools and interview teachers to gather research data in a face-to-face environment. By building connections between the local classroom teachers and the University, I am proud to be part of a community of learners that can be strengthened to encourage teachers to be the best teachers they can be.
I also had the opportunity to work on the first presentation of the Civitas Society Award where we presented veterans of World War II with awards for services rendered to the nation and the classroom. I was able to help develop the program and the assignment. I worked with pre-service teachers on their responsibilities and aided in crafting a moving ceremony.
I greatly appreciated the ability to work on topics that are critical to social studies education in a direct manner that impacts students’ experiences in the classroom. Each of these projects was directed to increasing the awareness and need for a Civic curriculum in the classroom and hopefully will help to facilitate teacher’s practice of civic education.