E. Thomas Ewing, associate professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, recently received the university's 2008 Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence.

Established by the university’s Commission on Outreach and International Affairs with the support of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence is presented annually to recognize outstanding contributions by Virginia Tech faculty members who have extended the university's outreach mission throughout the commonwealth, the nation, and the world. Recipients are nominated by their peers, are awarded a $2,000 cash prize, and are inducted into the university’s Academy of Outreach Excellence.

In the past five years, Ewing has played a central role in helping area school districts to receive funding through the Teaching American History Program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Montgomery County Public Schools have received two, three-year grants and a consortium of schools in the Roanoke area obtained one three-year grant. The result has been to enhance training and provide tools for K-12 teachers of history and social studies in Virginia.

These three grants, totaling more than $2 million, and have helped more than 100 teachers enhance their skills in the classroom, and have made new and innovative teaching materials available to many more.

Ewing also played an instrumental role in getting a $140,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2003 to develop The Digital History Reader, a set of on line materials appropriate for use in university or high school courses in modern European History and the history of the United States.

By creating lesson modules in a digital environment; by integrating written texts with images, video, and audio materials; and by designing sites that teach student to think historically and to place text within context, The Digital History Reader addressed the critical need for rigorous, engaging, user-friendly, and easily accessible digital instructional materials on United States and European history.

“The leadership and the success that Tom Ewing has shown through his work with the Teaching American History Program has been extraordinary,” said Daniel Thorp, associate professor and chair of the Department of History. “He is helping to make better teachers and to provide richer learning experience for the students of today and for those yet to come.”

Ewing received his bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.