Michele Salzman, professor of history at UC Riverside, is one of five UC researchers honored by the American Philological Association for developing course materials for sixth- and seventh-grade social studies teachers about the world of late antiquity.
The 2007 APA Prize for Scholarly Outreach, presented at the international association’s annual meeting in Chicago in early January, recognizes the work of the University of California Multi-Campus Research Group in the History and Culture of Late Antiquity.
“This is an important affirmation of our efforts to share information and new insights into late antiquity with middle school teachers,” Salzman said. “The teachers have been really excited and appreciative of our efforts to explore the ancient world. And it is rewarding to receive this recognition from the American Philological Association since this is the only award they give for outreach.”
Other members of the group include Claudia Rapp of UCLA, Emily Albu of UC Davis, Harold Drake of UC Santa Barbara and Susanna Elm of UC Berkeley.
The team began working in 1999 to develop instructional materials for middle-school social studies teachers about the world of late antiquity, including the fall of the multicultural Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity and, to a lesser extent, Islam.
The group offered one-day workshops – including at UC Riverside and California State University San Bernardino – and provided teachers with course materials such as extensive maps, images, bibliography and directions for further study.
“The group's project was intellectually valuable for demonstrating with rigor, clarity, and imagination the enormous breadth of the world of the Roman Empire and its eventual division into East and West,” Helene P. Foley, chair of the prize committee, said in the citation announcing the winning project.
The project filled a gap in the middle-school curriculum and introduced an important and novel global perspective to the study of the ancient world, she said.
“These efforts were particularly welcome in California, since their beleaguered public school teachers are currently working with exceptionally low support for their efforts and many bureaucratic impediments,” Foley said. “… (T)he project should help to contribute to national literacy about geography.”
The American Philological Association was founded in 1869 and is the principal learned society in North America for the study of ancient Greek and Roman languages, literatures and civilizations.