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Summer Institute - Group Learning

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Summer Institute - Team Activities

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The Big History Summer Institute at Dominican University of California is a unique five-day seminar for college and university faculty members interested in learning and teaching Big History. The informative and hands-on sessions provide instruction in the content of Big History while focusing on the sharing of pedagogical strategies for conveying that content to students in an interactive and engaging manner. The Summer Institute draws on the expertise of noted scholars: Cynthia Brown, Dominican's resident Big Historian, author of Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present, and winner of the American Book Award; experienced Dominican Big History faculty members and contributors to Teaching Big History; and experts in related fields such as cosmology, religion, art, and philosophy.

The course is designed for those interested in teaching Big History as a survey course, developing a new course or program around Big History, or simply satisfying their curiosity and love of learning. Previous experience teaching Big History is not required. 

The seminar includes sessions for both new and seasoned instructors. Using Teaching Big History (UC Press) as a guide, we’ll explore Dominican’s innovative Big History curriculum, and Dominican faculty members—many of whom are contributors to the book—will demonstrate effective and engaging teaching practices culled from our experiences. We’ll also discuss strategies for developing, implementing, and assessing a Big History curriculum in your institution.

Examples of topics to be covered are:

  • Understanding and teaching Big History using the thresholds framework
  • Curriculum development and education assessment
  • Interdisciplinary faculty development and collaboration
  • Strategies for engaging institutional stakeholders
  • Integrating co-curricular events and activities
  • Addressing questions of meaning and personal agency

Our next Summer Institute will be held June 15-19, 2015.

Tuition is $1850 and includes:

  • Five full days of interactive seminars, activities, and consultation with experienced Big History faculty
  • All instructional materials, including a copy of Teaching Big History
  • Breakfast and lunch each day

On-campus housing will also be available.

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For more information, contact us at

To apply, please click on the appropriate link:
Application for Faculty at Dominican University of California
Application for External Faculty and Others 

The Dominican Big History Summer Institute: A Story of Collective Learning
by Mojgan Behmand

A cold Tuesday afternoon in 2009 saw a group of us Dominican faculty come together with an odd mix of enthusiasm and weariness to work on curricular revision. We gathered in Dominican University’s Hunt Room, surrounded by colorful murals of a posh hunt sequence featuring horses and hounds and were ell aware of the power of transformation manifested even in the building itself. The summer estate residence of the de Young family—founders of the San Francisco Chronicle and the de Young Museum—had been purchased for $10 by the ever-resourceful Dominican Sisters in 1918 and had served the purposes of education as a residential and assembly hall ever since. Now, in 2009, we were attempting another transformation: a reform of our general education curriculum. Would we rise to the occasion?

Our small sub-group had been specifically tasked with revamping our first-year programming, hence the mix of trepidation and eagerness. We were eager since we recognized the great potential of a six-unit first-year sequence and yet we were disheartened as extensive research of other institutions had shown us the great disparity among freshman seminars and first-year programs. Many were skills-based; almost none were foundational. The content options that presented themselves seemed a throwback to the 1980s and ’90s: Western Civilization, Great Books, or World History. All were valuable and wonderful courses and yet ...

Read the Full Article (pdf)
IBHA Members' Newsletter – Volume III, Number 2

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