Thomas Ewing serves a widespread community with the lessons of history
In 2008 Tom Ewing’s efforts to extend the university’s outreach mission throughout the commonwealth, the nation, and the world was honored with two awards -- Virginia Tech’s Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence and his college’s Excellence in Outreach Award. He hasn’t slowed down since.
Ewing, a professor of history and associate dean for graduate studies and research in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, was recognized with the 2008 awards for a number of contributions, including helping Montgomery County and Roanoke regional school districts obtain more than $2 million in funding for K-12 teacher training through the U.S. Department of Education’s Teaching American History Program.
He also was instrumental in securing a $140,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create the Digital History Reader. Ewing led a Virginia Tech faculty team in developing the project’s unique and user-friendly series of online materials for use in high school United States and European history courses. The project was recognized in 2007 with the university’s X-Caliber Award for Teaching with Technology.
Tom Ewing at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., beside a monument
reflecting his profession -- "Study the Past."
Ewing has contributed to several other educational digital history projects, including “Virginia Schools in the Great Depression,” “Childhood and Youth in World History,” and the “Women in World History” section of “World History Matters.”
In 2010 Ewing, much of whose research focuses on women and gender issues in history, organized the Gender Networks Research Symposium at Virginia Tech. He also published Separate Schools: Gender, Policy, and Practice in Postwar Soviet Education, a book examining the failure of the Soviet experiment in separate schools for girls and boys. The book won the Albert L. Sturm Award for Excellence in Faculty Research, presented by the Virginia Tech chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.
During the past few years, Ewing has secured grants from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities for educational projects regarding the history of the Christiansburg Institute, a Montgomery County high school for African American students during the era of segregation.
One project engaged local middle school teachers in preparing a curriculum that integrates the institute’s history into the Standards of Learning course of study. In another, Ewing directed three Virginia Tech students in writing Edgar A. Long: Principal of Christiansburg Institute, a book that was distributed to all Montgomery County fifth grade classrooms and school libraries.
Ewing and colleague David Hicks, an associate professor of social studies education in the School of Education, received a Teaching with Primary Sources grant from the Library of Congress for developing materials for teachers on the subject of Booker T. Washington’s significance as a national leader in African American educational history. This project led to a one-day workshop for regional school teachers on The Life and Legacies of Booker T. Washington, in partnership with the Booker T. Washington National Monument.
In addition to his far-ranging educational outreach to the state and nation’s public schools, Ewing has kept a busy schedule of service to the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the Department of History. He has served as the department’s director of graduate studies, as advisor for undergraduates, and as a member of both the undergraduate and graduate committees.
Currently the associate dean for graduate studies and research, he also has served as the college’s director of diversity initiatives and supports the graduate curriculum committee and the honors and awards committee. In 2009 he was chair of the organizing committee for the Race and Education in Southwest Virginia Workshop.
The college recently presented Ewing with two more honors. The Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship Award recognized his consistent contributions to public education, including his leadership in developing the Digital History Reader, as well as his research in the fields of Russian history and the history of education. The Land Grant Scholar’s Award, which also was presented to David Hicks, recognized the colleagues’ work that reflects the engagement mission of Virginia Tech.
Most recently, Tom Ewing is a co-principal investigator on a winning proposal for the Digging into Data challenge project. A grant of $123,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities will support a research team from the departments of English and computer science and University Libraries at Virginia Tech, along with the Public Health program at the University of Toronto, in developing data-mining methods to understand the 1918 influenza epidemic in the United States and Canada.