We're making BIG history here

Summer Institute Slideshow 1

Dominican faculty, exhausted but happy, after the first Big History summer institute in 2010


Summer Institute Slideshow 2

Lynn Sondag shares a creative approach for "Visualizing Big History"


Summer Institute Slideshow 3

Harlan Stelmach's meticulous examination of a model hominid skull at the Big History summer institute


Summer Institute Slideshow 4

Dominican faculty Gold, Burke, and Lucko accrete while Cunningham looks on


Summer Institute Slideshow 5

The participants of the 2013 Big History summer institute enjoy a geological tour at San Francisco's Land's End


Summer Institute Slideshow 6

Dominican faculty analyze and perform origin stories


Summer Institute Slideshow 7

Jim Cunningham, scientist, finds humor in the intricacies of natural selection!


Summer Institute Slideshow 8

Celebrating the end of another summer institute with a Big History cake


The Big History Summer Institute at Dominican is a 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 that are interactive and engaging. The Summer Institute draws on the expertise of scholars and experienced faculty.

The institute includes sessions for both new and seasoned instructors. Using Teaching Big History (2014) as a guide, we share strategies for developing, implementing, and assessing a Big History curriculum in your institution.

Examples of topics:

  • Understanding and teaching Big History using the thresholds framework

  • Curriculum development and assessment

  • Interdisciplinary faculty development

  • Strategies for engaging institutional stakeholders

  • Integrating co-curricular events and activities

  • Addressing questions of meaning and personal agency

Our next Summer Institute open to external faculty will be held June 5-9, 2017.
Our tuition includes:

  • Five days of interactive seminars, activities, and individual consultation

  • All instructional materials, including the latest textbook and Teaching Big History

  • Breakfast and lunch each day and  a geological excursion

For more information, contact us at margaret.hibert@dominican.edu.
To apply, please click on the link:
2017 Application for External Faculty  (forthcoming)


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

A cold Tuesday afternoon in 2009 saw a group of Dominican faculty members come together with an odd mix of enthusiasm and weariness to work on curricular revision. We gathered in Dominican’s Hunt Room, surrounded by colorful murals of a posh hunt sequence featuring horses and hounds, and all were 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