Teachers Become Students During Common Ground Institute

UH Honors College’s Professional Development Program Returns to Campus

School’s out for summer, but several Houston teachers are headed back to the classroom – as students.

For more than two decades, the University of Houston’s Honors College has hosted the Common Ground Teachers Institute. This professional development program delivers summertime seminars structured around multicultural literary works. This summer, the college will host four two-week seminars (June 28, July 1 - 3 and July 8 - 12) led by noted faculty from UH and other local institutions.

Common Ground seminars deliver discussions on literature as well as readings by local writers and poets. This year’s seminar topics and instructors are as follows:

  • “Writers and Their Regions” – William Monroe, dean, UH Honors College
  • “My Own Private Wilderness: Reading and Writing the Natural World” – Lacy M. Johnson, Writers in the Schools
  • “Husbands and Wives” – Romanus Muoneke, University of St. Thomas
  • “Metamorphosis: Some Things Change, and Some Never Do” – Merrilee Cunningham, University of Houston-Downtown

“University faculty bring their knowledge of the subject, and teachers bring their knowledge of what works in their particular classrooms,” Monroe said. “Common Ground does not use a top down model.  Instead, we assume that teachers know more about their students and their family and community situations than we do – which is obviously the case.”

At the conclusion of Common Ground, groups of teachers offer presentations or performances related to the works they studied during the workshop. Each participant also earns 30 hours of professional development credit toward G/T certification from the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented.

Each year, teachers apply to this popular program. Selected educators attend Common Ground at no cost and receive a book stipend thanks to underwriting from the McGovern Foundation.

To learn more about the Common Ground Teachers Institute, visit the program’s website.

The Honors College at UH is a hub of excellence that serves the needs of gifted undergraduates in more than 100 fields of study and reflects the rich diversity of the University of Houston in its courses, faculty and students. For over 50 years, the Honors College has offered students the best of both worlds: the advantages of a small college together with the comprehensive resources and rich diversity of a large university. For more information about the Honors College, visit http://TheHonorsCollege.com