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UC’s Drs. Coleman and Vann speak at conference for K-12 teachers


Williamsburg, Ky. – University of the Cumberlands’ (UC) Drs. Nathan Coleman, Associate Professor of Higher Education and History, and Barry Vann, Director of Educational Leadership Program and Professor of Higher Education and Geography, spoke at the Southeast Regional Social Studies Conference. This event was sponsored by the University of Louisville McConnell Center for Political Leadership’s Civic Education Program at the Pine Mountain State Resort Park.

High school teachers from across the region gathered for the event in order to help incorporate some of Kentucky’s history into their social science curriculum for grades K-12. The main subject was Daniel Boone, a famous Kentuckian and frontiersman, and the Manifest Destiny that started earlier than what most childhood history books describe.

“The point of the conference was to try to help the K-12 teachers incorporate Daniel Boone and the western frontier into their curriculum,” Dr. Coleman said.

Each professor spoke about similar topics; however, Dr. Vann’s topic was more historical and Dr. Coleman’s topic was more abstract and conceptual. Dr. Vann focused on Daniel Boone’s history and the idea that Manifest Destiny, the idea of expanding and taking the land, was established before the 19th century push to California began. Dr. Coleman focused on the idea that an individual’s independence came from the notion of having private property, which is why so many people went west, so that they could have the land and property to their satisfaction.

As for the conference, both Drs. expressed how successful they felt it went. They enjoyed seeing so many Kentucky teachers wanting to obtain the knowledge of history and social studies in order to keep Kentucky history alive and also to pass it on to younger minds. Drs. Coleman and Vann agreed that the warm, encouraging reception from the conference reflects the passion of the participating teachers.

“People want to see you care for what you’re talking about,” Dr. Vann said about the concept of teaching.

As educators themselves, Drs. Coleman and Vann said they were happy to see other teachers stepping up to pass on the history of the state and to incorporate it into the Kentucky Common Core curriculum, which is state regulated for all public schools.

“The beauty of being an educator is the impact you can have,” Dr. Coleman said.

The overall purpose of the conference was to help educate teachers, so they can educate their students. Drs. Coleman and Vann expressed how they want to advance the quality of education in the social sciences for the state by helping the teachers become better and more knowledgeable in the social sciences. However, with the training, a teacher needs the passion to teach in order to be most effective.

“I think teachers are not made, they’re born,” Dr. Vann said.

Located in Williamsburg, KY, University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 fields of study; ten pre-professional programs; ten graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certification in education; and online programs. For more information, visit