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May 03, 2012

DePaul University and Facing History and Ourselves Collaborate to Educate Current and Future Teachers

DePaul University and the international nonprofit organization Facing History and Ourselves today announced a first-of-its-kind, multiyear collaboration that will incorporate Facing History’s acclaimed resources, materials and classroom strategies on civic engagement throughout programs for working and aspiring teachers in DePaul’s College of Education. The cooperative has the potential to impact thousands of students in coming years.

The collaboration, the first between Facing History and a university college of education, is made possible through a generous gift from DePaul Trustee Jack Greenberg and his wife, Donna. Former CEO and chairman of McDonald’s, Jack Greenberg is currently chair of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the city-state agency that runs McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

DePaul will employ Facing History’s professional development methodology and resources that bring historical perspective to current dialogue in schools about racism, anti-Semitism, intolerance and bullying. Once the collaboration is fully in place, virtually every teacher-preparation graduate from DePaul’s College of Education will have experience in the Facing History approach. Graduates will have ongoing access to Facing History resources, workshops and seminars as they move through their professional careers in education.

“Facing History and Ourselves has developed a very powerful and effective pedagogy and professional development programs for teachers that address some of the most critically urgent issues of our time,” said the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul. “This agreement strengthens and extends the College of Education’s programming in a manner consistent with the university’s historical commitment to social justice.”

Margot Stern Strom, founder and executive director of Facing History and Ourselves, agreed. “When new teachers train in the teaching of these difficult issues during their own educational years, they are so much more likely to feel confident and comfortable engaging their classrooms in this critical study throughout their careers. Facing History is proud and honored to establish this collaboration with DePaul University.”

Facing History educational activities link critical historical events such as the years leading up to and during the Holocaust and the civil rights movement to everyday issues and choices people face in their own lives, providing opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to recognize the importance of civic participation and to learn from the courage and resilience of others.

DePaul faculty members and Facing History experts will introduce College of Education students, alumni and current educators in the field to the library of Facing History materials available in print and online. Along with the materials presented in courses and seminars, DePaul will purchase several sets of Facing History resource publications to serve as a readily accessible library. The resource volumes include works such as “Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior,” “Choosing to Participate,” “Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: The Genocide of the Armenians,” “Fundamental Freedoms: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and “Stories of Identity: Religion, Migration, and Belonging in a Changing World.”

Within seven years, every teacher-preparation candidate at DePaul will have received instruction in the Facing History methodology as part of their education. Participants will have full access to the Facing History website and the online toolbox during their pre-service experiences and into their professional teaching careers.

The collaboration will formally commence with a June teachers’ workshop titled “Teaching About Race, Difference and Membership: Little Rock 1957.” The workshop, to be held at DePaul, will use the strife-filled 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High as a case study to explore ways to teach about race, difference and membership.

The DePaul University and Facing History and Ourselves collaboration is generously supported by The Donna and Jack Greenberg Charitable Trust. Greenberg is a DePaul alumnus and trustee, and the couple specifically directed their seven-figure gift toward programs in the College of Education that will equip teachers to deal with issues of social justice in their schools.

“DePaul University has a long history of active inclusion, compassion and opportunity,” said Greenberg. “This mission is as important as it ever was, and Donna and I could think of no place better to advance this kind of work into the larger community than through DePaul and its College of Education. We are proud that DePaul is leading by example in this critical area. As the largest Catholic university in the country, it adds its moral authority to this important work.”

Paul Zionts, dean of the College of Education, said the Greenbergs’ gift and DePaul’s collaboration with Facing History and Ourselves will have far-reaching effects in the schools and communities they serve.

“By the time the collaboration is fully implemented, more than 2,000 DePaul education graduates will be carrying forth these approaches in classrooms across the city and around the country,” Zionts said. “As these teachers work with their students, the numbers of elementary and high school students educated in critical thinking around issues of intolerance and social justice will grow exponentially. This collaboration will have a huge impact in our communities.”

About Facing History and Ourselves

Facing History and Ourselves is an international educational and professional development organization whose mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice and anti-Semitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. By studying the historical development of the Holocaust and other examples of genocide and mass violence, students make the essential connection between history and the moral choices they confront in their own lives. Facing History has provided in-depth seminars for more than 29,000 educators, and its active teacher network reaches nearly two million students annually. For more information, visit and watch a video at

About the College of Education

Currently one of the largest schools of education in Illinois, DePaul’s College of Education offers programs in early childhood education, human services and counseling, educational leadership, physical education, bilingual/bicultural education, curriculum studies, special education, and social and cultural foundations in education. More than 3,000 COE graduates are employed as teachers, principals and administrators in the Chicago area.

About DePaul 

With more than 25,000 students, DePaul University is the largest Catholic university in the United States and the largest private, nonprofit university in the Midwest. The university offers approximately 275 graduate and undergraduate programs of study on three Chicago campuses and three suburban campuses. Founded in 1898, DePaul remains committed to providing a quality education through personal attention to students from a wide range of backgrounds. For more information, visit 


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Marc Skvirsky, Donna and Jack Greenberg, the Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, and Bonnie Oberman