The 2019 Holodomor Research and Education Consortium, a project of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta, awarded the geography professor the 2019 HREC Educator Award for his work.
Dr. Thomas Mueller, a professor of geography at Cal U, has been honored for developing a high school curriculum to help children study a tragic event in Ukrainian history.
The 2019 Holodomor Research and Education Consortium, a project of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta, awarded Mueller the 2019 HREC Educator Award for his work.
His winning lesson plan, “Holodomor — Three Issues to Examine (High School Edition),” uses currently mapped research data to help students better understand the Ukrainian genocide.
The Holodomor, as it is called, took place in the territory of Ukraine in 1932-1934. The Holodomor is included in curricula on human rights, genocide, history and social justice in many parts of Canada, and is one of five genocides recognized by the Canadian government.
Mueller’s areas of expertise are geographic information systems (GIS), geography education and world regional geography.
The HREC Educator Award for Holodomor Lesson Plan Development is awarded annually. It is intended to foster the development of innovative, creative and interactive lessons for grades K-12 that develop critical thinking skills while addressing the genocide, and to recognize the outstanding educators who create them.
“I am excited and humbled at winning this award,” Mueller said. “I could not have done it without my mentors and friends at California University of Pennsylvania and Harvard’s Ukraine Research Institute MAPA Program.”
Mueller is an educational associate team member for the MAPA program, which uses GIS to illustrate and explain economic, historical, political and social transformations within Ukraine.
In 2018, he created a lesson plan for Cal U students — “MAPA in the Classroom: Ukraine and Language Exercise.”
For the Holodomor project, students will use data from Harvard’s Ukraine Research Institute to create maps illustrating the population losses during the Holodomor. That information can then be compared to facts about collectivization, environmental issues or losses by nationalities.
Mueller worked with student William Greene and plans to use the curriculum in his Introduction to Geography class.