Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Receives Hispanic-Serving Institution Grant to Improve Lubbock ISD Students' College and Career Readiness

Robert Stein

September 8, 2020

Education Building

The $98,000, three-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities will fund a project focused on improving human geography curriculum at Estacado High School.

Mellinee Lesley
Mellinee Lesley

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded Texas Tech University's College of Education a grant to help boost college and career readiness for Lubbock high school students.

The $98,000, three-year grant will fund a project titled "Advancing Culturally Sustainable Pedagogy Together: Using History Labs to Enhance College Readiness," which aims to improve human geography curriculum at Estacado High School through a collaboration between Texas Tech and Lubbock Independent School District (LISD).

The goal of the grant is to provide secondary teachers at Estacado with an alternative to traditional social studies curriculum in the form of a four-week history lab that uses project-based and inquiry-based learning. The lab will focus on local history and invite students to explore their modern-day connections to this history. Teachers also will have an opportunity to complete professional development during the summer to learn about the resources available to them in the community and at Texas Tech.

Rene Saldana
René Saldaña

"We are thrilled to receive this grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to be able to promote college and career readiness through culturally sustaining pedagogy, which is an approach to teaching that supports students' cultural traditions," said Mellinee Lesley, project director and a professor in the Language, Diversity & Literacy Studies (LDLS) program in the College of Education. "We hope to motivate students to become inspired by their history and seek out opportunities to engage with it further, whether as a future career path or as part of becoming a conscientious citizen."

Joining Lesley on the project as co-directors are René Saldaña, an associate professor in the LDLS program; Julie Smit, an assistant professor in the LDLS program; and Lane Sobehrad, a development coordinator at LISD.

"Lubbock ISD is honored to collaborate on this grant to develop opportunities for both Estacado students and teachers to explore their own history and make connections to the world around them," said Misty Rieber, LISD assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. "We are grateful to the Texas Tech University College of Education as we further our partnerships to support students."

Julie Smit
Julie Smit

The project marks a continued commitment on the part of the College of Education to partner with the Lubbock community to enhance learning opportunities. Previously, the college spearheaded a five-year effort focused on providing learning opportunities and support for children and families in East Lubbock. Titled "East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood" and funded by a $24.5-million U.S. Department of Education grant, the project included the creation of an early college high school program and a literacy development program at Estacado.

This latest project also highlights Texas Tech's recent designation as a federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). NEH awarded the grant funds through its Humanities Initiatives program, which seeks to support and enrich humanities education and scholarship at HSIs and other minority-serving institutions.

"This project represents progress toward our goal of becoming the nation's top college of education within a Hispanic-Serving Institution," said Jesse Perez Mendez, dean of the Texas Tech College of Education. "With this grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, we will be able to improve educational opportunities for high school students here in Lubbock. Estacado students, many of whom are Hispanic, will be well-positioned to continue their studies at Texas Tech or other institutions of higher education."

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at www.neh.gov.