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Teachers TPS

The Library of Congress > Teachers > TPS Program > Consortium Member Showcase

California University of Pennsylvania,
California, PA

California University of Pennsylvania (“Cal U”), a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, traces its roots to an academy founded in 1852 in California, Pennsylvania. For more than 150 years, it has been known for its educational excellence. One of the fourteen state-owned institutions of higher education in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, it has the strength and stability of a university system, but retains its own flavor and unique history.

To advance the mission of building the character and careers of students, Cal U focuses its efforts on three goals: student achievement and success, institutional excellence, and community service. It provides high quality undergraduate education in applied engineering and technology, computer science, business-related programs, health services, environmental sciences, education and more than 100 other programs. Science and technology are the University’s special missions; education and human services programs reflect a long tradition of excellence; liberal arts programs offer a variety of career opportunities and build a solid educational foundation through the general education curriculum.

The university has launched a new initiative, Cal U Global Online, to build a worldwide learning community by offering and delivering quality academic programs 100 percent online so that students can log on and complete their schoolwork at their convenience.

Congressman John P. Murtha completing oral history with TPS Director Dr. Michael J. Brna

Congressman John P. Murtha completing oral history with TPS Director Dr. Michael J. Brna

The Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program, then named Adventure of the American Mind, began at California University in February 2004 under Congressman John P. Murtha’s sponsorship. Strategically placed in the College of Education and Human Services, the TPS program at Cal U provides high quality professional development to both pre-service and in-service teachers, assuring that today’s and tomorrow’s educators are equally qualified to deliver primary source-based instruction using digitized resources from the Library of Congress.

By aligning with the College of Education and Human Services, Cal U’s TPS program gains the advantage of existing relationships in the regional educational network and access to experienced faculty committed to improving teaching and human development in a rapidly changing and increasingly technological society. Those relationships facilitated initial acceptance by the regional educational community and have significantly contributed to the program’s growth. Additionally, faculty serve as advisors and subject matter experts to assure that professional development is of the highest quality in alignment with a teacher education program that is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

The TPS program delivers services through on-site and on-campus workshops and the program hosted summer institutes in 2007 and 2008. Cal U’s TPS program serves ten surrounding school districts in rural Washington and Fayette Counties. Pre-service teachers participate through academic coursework and recent graduates receive instruction through a series of alumni workshops.

One highlight of Cal U’s TPS program is the Veterans Oral Histories Project at Cal U (VOHP). In 2005, California University became a Library of Congress official collecting partner. It mirrors the Library’s Veterans History Project and is a collection of local veterans’ oral histories. It was started to afford local veterans the opportunity to add local history to national history and extend the reach of the Library of Congress into the community. The TPS program at Cal U serves as project leader and clearinghouse for the project. Staff acts as advisors to provide project details, advice on interviewing techniques, the importance of background research, and the variety of resources available on the Library of Congress Web site.

The VOHP project uses a rare, integrative approach that includes participation at the middle, high school, university, and community levels as students at each level and community members outside of the university collaborate on the project. University faculty members, middle school and high school teachers include oral histories in their coursework. For on-campus interviews, Department of Communications Studies’ faculty members oversee in-studio production and students enrolled in the program do the filming. Faculty also provide technical advice upon request. The Department of Library Services catalogs the oral histories, duplicates them, and archives them in a special collection at the University’s Manderino Library. Copies are forwarded to the Library of Congress for inclusion in their database.