Malcolm Wallop Civic Engagement Program to host conversation in Riverton on Sept. 27

The Malcolm Wallop Civic Engagement Program at the University of Wyoming is expanding its partnership with Wyoming teachers and launching a community resilience conversations program, with three planned listening sessions later this month.

The Wallop K-12 program has added new content focused on Wyoming’s energy and extractive industries for the Wallop K-12 social studies catalog. This partnership with UW’s School of Energy Resources is composed of 14 new multimedia content blocks on topics including cost-effective wind power and trona, oil and gas, storing carbon dioxide underground and the planned Natrium advanced nuclear reactor project in Kemmerer.

“This content was created in response to multiple requests by teachers for new content focused on this key Wyoming industry and its place in the national and global energy contexts,” says Jean Garrison, the co-director of UW’s Malcolm Wallop Civic Engagement Program.

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This past summer, 29 social studies and English language arts teachers participated in the second professional development workshop supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) titled “Integrating the Humanities Across Civics Education in Wyoming”; UW’s School of Politics, Public Affairs and International Studies; and UW’s College of Education Trustees Education Initiative (TEI).

The teachers and UW faculty members worked in interdisciplinary teams to create lesson plans using content in the Wallop social studies catalog and link it to English language arts standards.

NEH project co-directors Garrison and Jason McConnell, a UW School of Politics, Public Affairs and International Studies assistant professor; Colby Gull, UW TEI director; and Curtis Biggs, Wyoming Innovation Partnership director, will lead the project with UW and community college faculty members along with Wyoming teachers in English language arts and social studies.

The team will launch a new English language arts catalog — available in December — focusing on three themes: culture and people of the West; identity, community and rural life; and rights, liberties and civic responsibilities.

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The Wallop catalog is free to all Wyoming teachers and the public, and it can be found at UW’s WyoLearn catalog website at https://civic.catalog.instructure.com/.

Since the launch of the K-12 project in late 2020, more than 80 middle and high school educators have accessed the social studies content, with 50 schools located in 19 counties and the Wind River Indian Reservation using the catalog to increase their online learning resources. This fall, the Wallop team will visit schools across the state to share these resources, Garrison says.

The Malcolm Wallop Civic Engagement Program is hosting a series of Wyoming resilience community conversations this month in Riverton, Cody and Sheridan.

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“These conversations engage community members in discussions of opportunities and barriers in education, employment and community resilience,” Garrison says.

Events are scheduled:

— Tuesday, Sept. 27, from 5-6 p.m. in the Community Room of the Riverton Branch Library.

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— Wednesday, Sept. 28, from 5-6 p.m. in the Grizzly Room of the Park County Library in Cody.

— Thursday, Sept. 29, from 5-6 p.m. in the inner circle of the Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library.

These conversations build upon the UW Profiles in Wyoming Resilience Research Project, which collected underrepresented community perspectives from a broad range of citizen and stakeholder voices, Garrison says.

“By gathering photos and people’s descriptions of these photos and hosting community conversations, we can develop profiles of our communities — based on local voices — and better inform state and local programming,” Garrison and McConnell say. “This brings new voices to the effort to diversify and grow Wyoming’s economy, address workforce development and retention, and leverage educational/training programs to retain our talent and promote community resilience.”

Data from the photovoice project will be available to the public on an interactive website supported by a Wyoming DataHub grant.

For more information about the Malcolm Wallop Civic Engagement Program, visit the website at www.uwyo.edu/wallop.

The Malcolm Wallop Civic Engagement Program is inspired by former Wyoming U.S. Sen. Malcolm Wallop who, in his distinguished career serving in the U.S. Senate for three terms and in the Wyoming Legislature, is remembered for his commitment to civil discourse, public education and public service.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, NEH supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals throughout the nation.

For more information about NEH and its grant programs, visit www.neh.gov.

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