Several students who participated in OU’s Presidential Dream Course on the Great Depression have gone on to garner top honors from the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society and the Western History Association. “Making Modern America: Discovering the Great Depression and the New Deal,” which was team taught by Professors David Wrobel, Keith Gaddie, and Donna Clayton, in Fall 2015, invited students to explore the cultural impact of this tumultuous period on Oklahoma’s history. Working with the staff and resources at the Carl Albert Center, The Digital Scholarship Lab at Bizzell Library, and OU’s Western History collection, students created two online exhibits: Reconstructing the Built Environment of the New Deal and Recreating Oklahoma: A Guide to the Sooner State

Last month, OU undergraduates Seth Lain, Michael Hopwood, Donna Moore, and Wade Williams received the inaugural Daniel S. Hobbs Prize from the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society for their work on Reconstructing the Built Environment of the New Deal, which documented the WPA buildings on OU’s campus. The prize, named for a longtime figure in Oklahoma higher education, recognizes outstanding research in the state’s educational history.

Donna Moore, joined by Dalton Savage, continued to develop the rich material gathered by the 2015 Dream Course through spring 2016. As independent study students supervised by Professors Kristy Brugar, Sarah Clayton, and David Wrobel, Moore and Savage expanded their reconstruction of one of the tours from the Works Progress Administration/Federal Writers’ Project Guide to 1930s Oklahoma (Tour 16: From Watts to Gore). As Education majors with a focus on social studies, Moore and Savage were especially interested in integrating their digital humanities research into classrooms. With that goal in mind, they created an innovative lesson plan, which was just selected by the Western History Association’s (WHA) Redd Center Prize Committee as one of the top four lesson plans submitted last academic year.

Donna and Dalton have been asked to present their work at a special session at the WHA Annual Meeting in St. Paul this October and to be present at the Awards Banquet to receive their prize.

All of these ambitious projects rest on the collaborative foundations for undergraduate research built between the OU Libraries (Digital scholarship Lab, Western History Collections, and Carl Albert Center) and colleges and departments (Education and CAS—Curriculum and Instruction, History, and Political Science) and on the financial contributions of the OU Libraries, CAS, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of the President.