Martha Ross Teaching Award

In 1993, the Oral History Association established an honorific award to recognize a distinguished primary or secondary school teacher or professional involved in educational outreach at the precollegiate level who has incorporated the practice of oral history in the classroom in an exemplary way. The Martha Ross Teaching Award is presented biennially in odd-numbered years. The next award will be made at the OHA’s 2025 annual meeting.

The award-winning teacher will receive an award plaque, a one-year membership in the OHA, a $500 monetary award, and complimentary registration to the annual meeting.

Criteria for the award are:
  • The teacher has developed an innovative philosophy or strategy for the use of oral history; successfully implemented an existing strategy for doing oral history with students; and/or used oral history in print or another format to enhance learning
  • The teacher’s work or approach is a model for the use of oral history in education
  • The teacher has demonstrated familiarity with both oral history scholarship and the literature relating oral history to educational practice
  • The project or curriculum reflects appropriate standards for historical research and interpretation, oral history interviewing, preservation of completed tapes (and transcripts, where applicable), and presentation
  • The oral history project or curriculum has a civic or community component
To apply, submit the following materials via the submission form:
  • A two- or three-page statement describing both the teacher’s philosophy or goals relating to the use of oral history in an educational setting and the details of the oral history project or curriculum the teacher has developed
  • Supporting materials such as syllabi, assignments, transcripts, press releases and other promotional material, publications, media productions, et cetera
  • A nominating or supporting letter describing both the educator’s use of oral history and the rationale for nomination
  • The educator’s CV or Resume

Nominations may come from teachers themselves or from colleagues, students, administrators, or community members who recognize the accomplishments of a teacher in using oral history to enhance education. Please only nominate one educator per submission.

Martha Ross was a long-time leader of the OHA, serving as president in 1985, and a pioneering oral historian. Ross taught her renowned oral history seminar at the University of Maryland from 1972 to 1987. In addition to her teaching, Ross conducted numerous oral history projects, primarily in the Washington, DC area, including one for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and for the National Park Service. She was also a founder of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region (OHMAR). Martha set a high standard for excellence in oral history practice and served as a model for generations of oral historians.

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