About SAFA

Engaging First-Year College Students in Primary Source Research

The Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) is proud to announce Students and Faculty in the Archives (SAFA), a three-year, US Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE) grant that will create a replicable pedagogical model for collaboration between archives and institutions of higher learning.

Over five semesters, BHS will work with eighteen partner faculty from three neighboring schools: Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus; New York City College of Technology; and St. Francis College. Participating faculty are affiliated from many different departments, including English, History, Religious Studies, Architectural Technology, Fine and Graphic Arts, and American Studies. With SAFA staff, they will integrate BHS’s rich archival collections into their first-year undergraduate courses.

During the first academic year (2011-2012), the SAFA project will bring over 800 college students into BHS’s beautiful Othmer Library, designated a New York City interior landmark. Students and faculty will utilize archival material in assignments, projects, and class visits, and produce a class website chronicling their learning experiences. Students selected for SAFA’s summer internships will also have the opportunity to curate a physical exhibit featuring materials from BHS’s remarkable collection.

By introducing students to archival research, SAFA aims to develop students’ research and critical thinking skills, leading them to greater academic and professional success. The project will track and evaluate the impact of SAFA participation on key inquiry and archival literacy skills, student engagement, and retention.

By 2013, the final year of the grant, partner colleges and cultural repositories from other states will model similar collaborations on the Brooklyn cohort. In this way, SAFA will introduce a nationwide group of students to archival research and exhibition development.