Hemispheres, the international outreach consortium at the University of Texas at Austin, utilizes University resources to promote and assist with world studies for K-12 and postsecondary schools, businesses, community groups, and the general public.
Hemispheres is coordinated by five independent units that receive funding from multiple sources, including the Title VI International Area Studies Program of the US Department of Education:
- Center for European Studies
- Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
- Center for Middle Eastern Studies
- Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies
- South Asia Institute
Under the aegis of our Title VI mission, we are able to provide quality, free and low-cost resources that enhance understanding of diverse world regions to K-12 and post-secondary educators, business, the media, and civic and community groups.
Since our beginnings as a loose consortium in the mid-1990s, Hemispheres has seen its activities expand from a single jointly-funded annual workshop and a twice-yearly broadsheet to encompass a slate of activities and resources that make us one of the most active educational outreach programs of our kind in the United States.
Our success is due in large part to the structure of the Texas educational system and its teaching standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Rather than reinforce geography-based study within history, geography, and other social studies coursework, the TEKS instead emphasize the cross-regional study of thematic subjects.
By coordinating projects, workshops, and curriculum units via Hemispheres, each of the component centers contributes aligned content that greatly enhances its classroom usability in a way that preparation and distribution of region-specific content does not allow under the TEKS. We expect that this to be further reinforced by the introduction of end-of-course exams that will replace the existing Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) exams beginning in 2011.
In addition to participating in Hemispheres, each center continues to maintain its own outreach program, including managing its lending library, speakers’ bureau, public lectures, and conferences, all of which are reinforced by collaborative promotion of outreach resources to a growing audience in the educational community and beyond.
By using Hemispheres as a conduit for all of our activities, we are able to offer a comprehensive, "one-stop shopping" approach for all of our efforts that allows you, the end user, to bookmark one Web address to access all of our services.