The Center for Social Science Education at the University of Texas at Arlington serves a critical need in the state of Texas, as well as nationally and internationally, as it advances social studies education research, teacher preparation, and outreach to K-16 learners and their teachers. The Center was established with an investment sponsored by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which enabled the Center to provide timely institutes and symposia as well as to award grants to researchers to conduct key studies in social science education and in the college and career readiness of Texas K-16 students. The Center for Social Science Education works with other universities across the state to guide new faculty in replicating best practices and conduct/support research with an international focus that gives relevancy to the global marketplace. The mission of the center is to ensure that social science educators are equipped with the content knowledge, skills, and pedagogy to prepare K-16 students to be responsible, productive citizens who are ready for the 21st century workforce and the world’s increasingly global, interconnected society.
Our work at the Center for Social Science Education seeks to advance social science research, teacher preparation, social science professional development, and outreach to K-16 educators. The Center has enjoyed a six year partnership with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), who established four Faculty Collaboratives for English, Math, Science, and Social Studies Education. The CCRI Social Studies Faculty Collaborative was house at the University of Texas at Arlington in the Center for Social Science Education. The THECB provided a grant for 1.2 million dollars to build awareness and instigate reform regarding the college and career readiness of K-12 students in Texas. More and more high school students are graduating without being equipped with the knowledge and skills to successfully enter either college or the workforce. The Center supported research and provided institutes and symposia to inform higher education social science professors and pre-service professors about this gap in ability and performance. Through a variety of events, reports, and other measures, the Center worked collaboratively with researchers and K-16 educators across the state of Texas to focus on enhancing the knowledge, skills, and pedagogy of teacher candidates so that they were better equipped to educate K-16 learners with the appropriate levels of rigor and relevance to prepare learners for the 21st century workforce and society.
The Center for Social Science Education continues to seek opportunities to build a network of researchers and educators to make social science K-16 education more robust and relevant to the needs of 21st century citizens. Social Science Education is critical to the lives and livelihoods of all Americans now more than ever. It provides vital knowledge about international and national dimensions of key trends and issues. For example, in 2005, approximately 20% of the U.S. GDP ($2.4 trillion annually) results from international trade, and this trend continues. The Center for Social Education recognizes that we live in an exciting era of change and innovation. It embraces ideas and strategies to support and equip K-16 educators to prepare students to meet the challenges presented in the Digital and Information age. The Center looks forward to continuing to build and foster sustainable relationships with key agencies, industry experts, researchers, and educators in order to ensure our students are savvy and competitive in the 21st century.