Curriculum and Instruction Assistant Professor Awarded the Big XII Faculty Fellowship

Assistant Professor Katherina Payne in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in Social Studies Education won the Big XII Faculty Fellowship and traveled to Iowa State University to work with her colleague, Associate Professor Katy Swalwell, at Iowa State University.

Payne’s research and teaching interests focus on analyzing the relationship between public schools and the health and renewal of democracy by focusing on the civic lives of young children to promote the recognition of everyday civic actions of children. She also strives to better prepare and support elementary teachers as democratic educators who can create more equitable classrooms and learning experiences for all students to see themselves as able and active members of society.

In Fall 2013, Payne and Swalwell noticed a lack of representation of elementary social studies at their national social studies conference. They have since created the group, Critical Elementary Social Studies Teachers, a Facebook community of 785 members including preservice teachers, teachers, teacher educators, researchers, and parents that share resources such as book titles, articles, videos, podcasts, and syllabi in order to promote democratic classroom learning environments.

From the creation of Critical Elementary Social Studies Teachers, they began working on two other projects together while in Iowa for the Big XII Faculty Fellowship. First, they started writing an article about civic education for childhood and elementary age students.  Second, they began gathering and organizing data to start their analysis for a project that will broadly look at critical elementary social studies through a content analysis of the resources used by practitioners.  

The Big XII Faculty Fellowship Program is designed to stimulate scholarly initiatives among universities affiliated by Big XII Conference athletics. The program offers faculty the opportunity to travel to member institutions to exchange ideas and pursue research.