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Middle Tennessee State University

Middle Tennessee State University has the largest undergraduate enrollment of any public or private university in the state, with a current population of over 23,000 students. Established in 1911 as a state teachers' college, MTSU continues to offer the largest teacher-training program in Tennessee. MTSU also offers eight different bachelor's degrees, ten master's degrees, and five doctoral degrees. Located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, MTSU is one mile from the geographic center of the state.

Teachers from Rutherford County (TN) Schools learn about teaching with digitized primary sources from the Library of Congress Web site at a TPS-MTSU professional development event, September 2009.

Teachers from Rutherford County (TN) Schools learn about teaching with digitized primary sources from the Library of Congress Web site at a TPS-MTSU professional development event, September 2009.

The Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program at Middle Tennessee State University (TPS-MTSU) began in 2008. The program is administered by the Center for Historic Preservation, a specially funded department that serves as a clearinghouse for Tennessee heritage and heritage education initiatives. TPS-MTSU's mission is to help educators across Tennessee's three grand divisions (West, Middle, and East) learn about teaching with the millions of digitized primary sources available on the Library of Congress Web site. In its first year, the TPS program at Middle Tennessee State University reached more than 350 teachers. Now entering its second year, TPS-MTSU's many offerings include professional development workshops, a regularly updated Web site with educational materials, such as teacher-submitted lesson plans, and a monthly newsletter about Library of Congress online resources, primary sources and inquiry-driven lesson ideas.

The TPS program at Middle Tennessee State University reaches out to a wide range of educators across the state. While focused on K-12 teachers in such subjects as social studies, language arts, and science, TPS-MTSU also works with pre-service teachers, graduate students and faculty in schools of education, as well as school and institutional librarians and media specialists. TPS-MTSU is currently developing professional development for directors of education at museums, cultural institutions and heritage organizations.

Collaboration is one of the strengths of the TPS program at Middle Tennessee State University. By emphasizing the multidisciplinary research and explorations made possible by the Library of Congress Web site, TPS-MTSU is able to collaborate with a wide variety of partners across Tennessee. For example, TPS-MTSU partners with the Tennessee Historical Society (THS), which administers the Tennessee History Day competition, to provide workshops throughout the state that emphasize the importance of primary source research. Another partner, East Tennessee Historical Society (ETHS), has helped join TPS-MTSU with the Teaching American History teacher network in the eastern part of the state, and hosts TPS workshops at its Knoxville facility. Other partners include individual school districts, from Shelby County in the west to Sullivan County in the east, that work with TPS-MTSU to provide teachers with professional development for in-service credit.

A university-wide committee chaired by the university provost works closely with the Center for Historic Preservation to carry out TPS-MTSU's mission. The committee helps to identify partnerships and cross-disciplinary collaborators and to create activities and events for the TPS program at Middle Tennessee State University. Committee members come from the colleges of education, mass communication, liberal arts, and from the departments of biology, chemistry, and instructional technology. One outcome of this collaboration is the new look of the TPS-MTSU Web site, redesigned by an electronic resources librarian at MTSU's James E. Walker Library. Another example is a recent TPS-MTSU webcast about the folk music of the Dust Bowl era, facilitated by Center for Historic Preservation staff with a professor from the English Department and produced by MTSU's Instructional Technology and Support Center. In July 2010, the TPS program at MTSU will offer a Civil War-themed summer institute on campus for teachers from across Tennessee. For more information about TPS-MTSU's upcoming professional development workshops, to download lesson activities or to view recent newsletters, please visit library.mtsu.edu/tps/.

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