Welcome to the Center for Social Studies Education (CSSE) at Athens State University. The purpose of the CSSE is to promote teaching, learning, and research in the social sciences and their application to education. The CSSE is a partnership between the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, and Education to explore the interdisciplinary study of the human condition.
The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) defines social studies as "the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence." Within the school program, social studies provides coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. In essence, social studies promotes knowledge of and involvement in civic affairs.
And because civic issues--such as health care, crime, and foreign policy--are multidisciplinary in nature, understanding these issues and developing resolutions to them require multidisciplinary education.
| These characteristics are the key defining aspects of social studies.
The primary mission of the CSSE is to improve education in the social studies in elementary and secondary schools. A secondary mission of the CSSE is to meet professional development needs of the local educators through professional development workshops in the content areas and pedagogy. A third mission of CSSE is to provide forums and events on social studies topics and to serve as a bridge between the academy and the community in matters of civic education.
The events and programs organized by the CSSE are directed towards improving the state of social studies education in our public schools. Many times the teaching and learning of the social studies is considered an afterthought in the minds of the public at large. Social studies, in secondary public schools, is situated firmly behind math, science, and language. In public elementary schools, the teaching and learning of social studies has virtually disappeared due to the demands and constraints placed on teachers in the name of high stakes testing and accountability. It is the stance of the CSSE that historical, geographic, political, and social education is of utmost importance to the health of the American political experiment. Towards this end, we support Passe’s (2006) assertion that the social studies, properly understood, should be the “Heart of the Curriculum,” that social studies not be considered a second or third tier subject in American schools. In fact, the health of our democracy depends upon effective, powerful social studies education in our public schools.
Prentice T. Chandler, Ph.D.
Athens State University
Chair, Center for Social Studies Education
Assistant Professor of History/Social Science Education