AP U.S. History Academy

Teachers attending this Academy will engage with faculty from Rice and other universities in an in-depth discussion of topics and documents commonly taught in AP U.S. History. Teachers will also explore the connections between AP and college-level courses and examine new research in the field, with special attention paid to the most recent changes to the AP U.S. History curriculum. Readings and documents will be provided during class.

Lovett Hall with sunshine and clouds

Explore the connections between AP and college-level courses and examine new research in the field, with special attention paid to the most recent changes to the AP U.S. History curriculum. Readings and documents will be provided during class.



Section Instructor Format Schedule start date
CCR42248 Jim Smith, S. Wright Kennedy, Steven Shetzer, Blake Ellis, Theresa Jach, John McKee Barr, Joseph Mark Scalia, Lisa Mundey, John B. Boles On-campus 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Instructor: Jim Smith

Lead Consultant

Jim Smith has taught high school history and humanities for over 30 years in New Mexico. He has 25 years experience teaching AP U.S. History and 19 years experience training AP U.S. History teachers. Mr. Smith is the author of four books: “Ideas That Shape a Nation: A Survey of Historical Ideas Important to the Development of the United States,” “Catherine’s Son: The Story of a Boy Who Became an Outlaw” and “Skipper Hall: The Life and Religious Philosophy of a Methodist Minister in New Mexico.” He has also authored articles and reviews published by The Journal of Southern History, Phi Delta Kappan, AP Central, Historical Times and several other publications. Mr. Smith taught as an adjunct professor of history at New Mexico State University, where he developed a class titled “Teaching History.” In 2014 he taught a MOOC for Rice University titled “The Art of Teaching History” that reached over 6700 students in 148 nations. He has received the James Madison Senior Fellowship, the Christa McAuliffe Fellowship and has twice been awarded the William Robertson Coe Fellowship. He has earned two masters degrees (history and government) from New Mexico State University and has completed graduate and post-graduate work at American University and Stanford University. Mr. Smith has been recognized as the Gilder-Lehrman U.S. History Teacher of the Year, the New Mexico Teacher of the Year, and finalist for the National Teachers Hall of Fame.

S. Wright Kennedy is a doctoral candidate in the History Department at Rice University. His primary areas of interest are spatial history and nineteenth-century U.S. health and economics. While earning a master’s degree in geography, he specialized in geographic information sciences and spatial analysis. His master’s thesis used historical geographic information systems (HGIS) to uncover the spatial origins and spreading patterns of the 1878 yellow fever epidemic in Memphis, Tennessee.  From 2012 to 2015 he served as the project manager for the imagineRio project (http://imaginerio.org) at Rice University. Currently, he is studying New Orleans in the Gilded Age (1877-1915). The New Orleans Mortality Project (http://nola.spatialhistory.org) uses HGIS to examine the impact of health, environment, and socioeconomics on urban and community development.

Dr. Steven Shetzer has been an educator for the past 13 years. He started as a Social Studies teacher at Westbury High School in the Houston Independent School District. In 2011, Dr. Shetzer made the transition to administration and became a Magnet Coordinator/Assistant Principal at Roberts Elementary. In 2012 he was selected to be the Principal of Kolter Elementary School, where he served for four years. This past year he was named the Principal at Pershing Middle School, the second largest middle school in the Houston Independent School District. Dr. Shetzer has also taught a graduate level course in classroom management at the University of Houston.

Dr. Blake Ellis is an associate professor of history at Lone Star College-CyFair, where he teaches courses in US and Texas history. A 20th century historian by training, he earned his Ph.D. from Rice University and holds master’s degrees from Baylor University and Rice University. He is passionate about teaching, diversity on campus, higher education access, and community involvement. He currently serves as the faculty advisor for Phi Theta Kappa, chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council, chair of the Learning Communities Committee, and a faculty member in the The Honors College. Dr. Ellis is a two-time recipient of National Endowment for the Humanities awards, winner of Rice University’s Stockbridge Vaughan prize, a 2014 and 2016 Phi Theta Kappa Faculty Scholar, winner of the Robert McGehee Equality Award, a Paragon Award winner, a 2015 recipient of Lone Star College’s Distinguished Faculty Award, winner of the Lone Star College Writing Award, a John and Suanne Roueche Award recipient, and a 2016 Faculty Excellence Award winner.

Dr. Theresa Jach received her Ph.D in History from the University of Houston and now works as a Professor of History at Houston Community College. She has worked as a visiting lecturer in Latin American history for the University of Houston Clear Lake, and is the author of books on Richmond, Texas and the Huntsville Penitentiary. Her current book, published in the spring of 2017, is Incarcerated Women, a History of Struggles, Oppression, and Resistance in American Prisons.

Dr. John McKee Barr is a professor of history at Lone Star College-Kingwood. He joined their faculty in 2008 and has since won their “Faculty Excellence Award” for outstanding teaching and twice won their “Innovator of the Year” prize for implementing new ideas for teaching across the college. Previous to his appointment at Lone Star, Dr. Barr taught history in middle school for six years and was a high school AP U.S. history teacher for eighteen years at Kingwood High School in north Houston, Texas. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Houston in 2010 and currently teaches a variety of courses at Lone Star-Kingwood, including the survey of U.S. History, “Political Novels,” “The Emancipators: Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, and the “Making of the Modern World.” Dr. Barr is the author of Loathing Lincoln: An American Tradition from the Civil War to the Present.

Joseph Mark Scalia teaches AP and dual-credit classes at Kingwood High School and has twice been selected as campus teacher of the year for Humble ISD. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and has completed post graduate work at the University of Maryland and the University of Virginia. He has taught classes at Louisiana Tech, Barry University of Naples, Florida, and Lone Star College-Kingwood. He is currently a member of the United States Institute Speaker’s Bureau and serves on the U.S. Naval Institute Editorial Board. He has published articles in The Journal of Mississippi History and Louisiana History and is the author of a book titled Germany’s Last Mission to Japan: The Failed Voyage of U-234, a book that was nominated in 2001 for a Bancroft Award, a Virginia Literary Award, and a Pulitzer Prize. He is currently working on a history of the Confederate cruiser CSS Stonewall.

Dr. Lisa Mundey received her master and doctoral degrees in American and US military history from Kansas State University and is currently an Associate Professor at the University of St. Thomas, serving as Chair of the Department of History. Before coming to St. Thomas she spent one year teaching at the nation’s oldest private military academy, Norwich University in Vermont, and worked as a federal historian for the US Army Center of Military History at Ft. McNair in Washington, DC. Dr. Mundey has done extensive research on modern American military history, particularly the military’s relationship with the American people. She is the author of the book American Militarism and Anti-Militarism in Popular Media, 1945-1970 from McFarland Publishers. She has also published numerous articles in her field of expertise including “The United States Army in Afghanistan: Operation Enduring Freedom, March 2002-April 2005” and “The Civilianization of a Nuclear Weapons Effect Test: Operation ARGUS.” Dr. Mundey’s expertise on US operations in Afghanistan led to her inclusion on ABC-Clio’s editorial advisory board for its Encyclopedia of Middle East Wars: A Social, Political, and Military History (2010).

John B. Boles, Ph.D., is the William Pettus Hobby Professor of History at Rice University, the editor emeritus of the Journal of Southern History and the author of numerous books. He has directed more than 50 doctoral students in southern history at Rice. The Association of Rice Alumni has awarded him the Meritorious Service Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award and its gold medal. He has also received the Graduate Student Association Teaching Award, the Presidential Mentoring Award and the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching, which he has been honored with twice. Dr. Boles holds a bachelor’s degree from Rice University and a doctorate from the University of Virginia, where he was a Thomas Jefferson Foundation Fellow and a Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellow. His new book, “Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty,” was published in April 2017 and is a comprehensive biography of the third president.

Term: Spring/Summer 2017

Start Date: June 27, 2017

End Date: June 30, 2017

Schedule: 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Length: Tuesday-Friday

Location: Rice campus

Fee: $549

Continuing Professional Education (CPE): 26

Note: This course is not currently accepting registrations. Please select VIEW CURRENT OFFERINGS to see similar classes offered by the Center for College Readiness.

Tuesday, June 27, 8-9:45 AM

Speaker: Jim Smith, College Board Consultant
Presentation Topic
Teaching AP U.S. History

This presentation will provide teachers with an overview of the the pedagogy and historical content necessary for creating a successful AP U.S. History course. The presentation will focus on ways to connect significant historical information to the broader historical themes that shape U.S. history.

Tuesday, June 28, 10-11:30 a.m.
Speaker: S. Wright Kennedy, Rice University
Presentation Topic
An Introduction to Spatial History and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

This presentation will showcase online spatial history projects that can be incorporated into secondary education. Additionally, the presentation will include a demonstration of ESRI's ArcGIS Online, the industry-standard GIS software, and present pedagogical resources for American History available through ESRI's website.

Tuesday, June 27, 12:30-3:30 PM
Speaker: Steven Shetzer, Pershing Middle School (Houston ISD)
Presentation Topic
“Toto, I Don’t Think We are in Kansas Anymore”: Using Popular Culture in a U.S History Classroom

Teaching U.S. History can sometimes be full of reading texts, answering questions, and taking tests. What if we could engage our students in U.S. History through the use of popular culture? This presentation will help you learn how to bring U.S. History alive by integrating popular culture into your lessons.

Wednesday, June 28, 8:15-9:45 AM
Speaker: Blake Ellis, Lone Star College-SyFair
Presentation Topic
Running for President: The Evolution of Presidential Campaigning in the 20th Century

This presentation will explore the evolution of US presidential campaigns in the 20th century. It will examine how Americans’ changing views on race, economics, gender, and technology fueled the rise of modern presidential campaigns. It will analyze how these changes both democratized the presidential selection process and created a new kind of presidential politics requiring years of campaigning and huge sums of money.

Wednesday, June 28, 10-11:30 AM
Speaker: Theresa Jach, Houston Community College
Presentation Topic
The Slaughterhouse Cases and US v Cruikshank:  The Supreme Court and the Destruction of African American Rights in the South

This presentation will examine the landmark Reconstruction Era Supreme Court cases of United States v. Cruikshank and the Slaughterhouse Cases. The presentation will include an exploration of the facts of the cases and how they negatively affected the rights of African Americans in the South. The cases not only marked a turning point in the federal government's protection of African Americans and signaled the end of Reconstruction, they also had a chilling affect on the rights of women.

Wednesday, June 28, 12:30-3:30 PM
Speaker: John Barr, Lone Star College-Kingwood
Presentation Topic
“Light Will Be Thrown on the Origin of Man and His History”: Integrating Evolutionary Science into AP U.S. History

Near the end of his seminal book, The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin predicted that with the insights gained from his theory of evolution by natural selection “light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.” Darwin’s theory heralded an intellectual revolution, one that is now reaching into historical studies with a new “synthetic field called evolutionary history” (Edmund Russell). This presentation will examine how history teachers can apply this pioneering, interdisciplinary work to the teaching of AP U.S. History courses. In addition to gaining a basic introduction to Darwin’s key ideas and how to introduce such concepts into a history classroom, topics covered will include the Declaration of Independence and the question of universal human rights (“He who understands baboon would do more towards metaphysics than [John] Locke,” wrote Darwin), the debate over slavery in the nineteenth-century Atlantic World, social Darwinism, women’s suffrage, and current controversies and developments surrounding Darwinian ideas.

Thursday, June 29, 8:15-9:45 AM
Speaker: Jim Smith
Presentation Topic
Building a New Nation: The Ideological Foundation for the Creation of the United States

Beginning with ideas promoted by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke in the eighteenth century, this presentation will focus on the ideological conflicts that led to the American Revolution and the creation of the United States.

Thursday, June 29, 10-11:30 AM
Speaker: Mark Scalia, Kingwood High School, Humble ISD
Presentation Topic
The Civil War’s Shadow Theater: Post-Emancipation Union and Confederate Foreign Policy

Conventional wisdom holds that the Emancipation Proclamation put the issue of foreign recognition of the Confederacy to rest. In fact, the proclamation created a new dimension to foreign policy which caused social and political problems for European powers, problems that emboldened the Confederacy.  This presentation will cover foreign policy issues confronting Abraham Lincoln, William Seward, and the Confederate government after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Thursday, June 29, 12:30-3:30 PM
Speaker: Lisa Mundey, University of St. Thomas
Presentation Topic
Cold War American Global Leadership

During World War II, the United States abandoned its traditional non-interventionist approach to Europe and embarked on a new role as a global power. Postwar containment policy drew the United States into military interventions worldwide, but also included non-military assistance in the Marshall Plan, Berlin Airlift, and Peace Corps. In reviewing America’s role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as well as the country’s long and generally antagonistic relationship with Russia, teachers can help students understand the historical context for current events.

Friday, June 30, 8:15-11:30 AM
Speaker: John Boles, Rice University
Presentation Topic
Jefferson, France, and the Creation of an American Identity

Thomas Jefferson was appointed U.S. minister to France in 1784 and for five years experienced life in Paris with its intellectual salons, art, architecture, music, culture, food and wine. This presentation will examine Jefferson's time in France and how that time shaped Jefferson as our nation’s first secretary of state, third president, and architect of American liberty.

Friday, June 30, 12:30-3:30 PM
Speaker: Jim Smith
Presentation Topic
Building a New Nation, Part 2
Putting It All Together