Tamastslikt field trip

History and education students engage in cross-disciplinary learning experience

Earlier this quarter, students taking classes on history in the Pacific Northwest and Washington State social sciences visited the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute in Pendleton, Oregon–a world-class cultural center for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla. 

Professors Maria Bastien Valenca, dean of the School of Education and Psychology, and Hilary Dickerson, professor of history, shared that cross-disciplinary educational experiences like the Tamastslikt field trip are incredibly valuable. By coordinating their syllabi and integrating course content with experiential learning, the professors are able to utilize each other’s expertise. “The trip offered me the opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla from a resident perspective, which was beneficial for both my personal and professional growth as a future teacher,” said Leilani Lockwood, senior elementary education major. 

Dickerson and Bastien shared that learning from the voices of groups being studied is a critical aspect of learning that isn’t always achievable in the classroom. “The trip was an opportunity for active learning that helped students engage with the material in a new way,” said Bastien Valenca. For education students, the experience not only enhanced their own education but provided insights into how they might run their own field trips in the future. 

Both the students and their professors expressed their gratitude for the chance to learn from their guide Jesse Bird, an interpretation and educational specialist at Tamastslikt. “Learning from such an outstanding guide really enriched our experience,” said Dickerson. “Students were able to ask questions and engage with topics in major depth.” 

The trip participants extended a sincere thank you to Tamastslikt Cultural Institute for hosting their classes. More information can be learned about the museum at Tamastslikt.org. To find out more about the history and education programs at WWU, visit wallawalla.edu/history or wallawalla.edu/education.

Posted March 21, 2024

Student group photo