Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

What is Outreach in Area Studies?

By Valerie McGinley

Educational outreach programming has been integral to the U.S. Department of Educationâ’‘¬’“¢s Title VI National Resource Center program since the 1970s. Since then every area studies center funded as a Title VI National Resource Center has been required to conduct outreach programming to K-12 educators. The definition of outreach has been expanded since the 1970s to include outreach to other postsecondary institutions, media, business, government agencies, and the general community. The following is a collection of ideals on how to â’‘¬Å“doâ’‘¬Â outreach to the K-12 community; of best practices in educational outreach programming.

One of the fundamental principals of conducting and sustaining quality outreach programming is the place of outreach in the mission and strategic plan of the Center. Outreach, and in particular educational outreach, should be inherently part of the mission of the area studies center. This is articulated primarily through the strategic plan of the center and defining the initiatives and activities to achieve the desired outcomes. Outreach to the K-12 educational community and specifically teacher training activities are absolute priority activities for every area studies center or consortia funded by the Title VI National Resource Center program. Therefore, in order to place a priority of these types of activities for university and faculty commitment, it is important to align this absolute priority with the operating principals of the Center. If this is not done, outreach becomes an add-on activity that is not taken seriously by the university or faculty and staff associated with the area studies center.