Jenny Wells


College: Education

College of Education Professor is 'Breaking Bad Social Studies'

Published: Mar 12, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 12, 2014) — Kathy Swan, associate professor in the University of Kentucky College of Education's Department of Curriculum and Instruction recently did a TED Talk for the Kentucky Department of Education on her framework for social studies education. The talk is titled "Breaking Bad Social Studies" and has made an impact across several states that are finding Swan's team's framework useful.


"Social studies has had a bad rap…due to a misperception of what (social studies) is," Swan says in the presentation. "We've got to take ownership of that.  We know that social studies is much more alive.  It's about knowing, deliberating; it's about being challenged; it's controversial and global.  Students should be investigating in order to understand that social studies is real and impacts everday life." 


A video of Swan's presentation is available at


The College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies states that its purpose is to provide states with "voluntary guidance for upgrading existing social studies standards" and to "support states in creating standards that prepare young people for effective and successful participation in college, careers, and civic life."  The project was initiated by the Social Studies Assessment, Curriculum, and Instruction collaborative of the Council of Chief State School Officers in 2010 and is published by the National Council for the Social Studies.


Since that time, Swan has presented the framework all over the country, encouraging states to consider using C3 in their districts. She and her team emphasize that this is not another set of Common Core standards, but rather a framework to guide states as they seek to upgrade existing state standards to align with the Common Core.  


"I think the greatest contribution of the C3 Framework is the addition of civic readiness to the national conversation around student preparedness for college and career," Swan said. "Instead of narrowing the purposes of K-12 education, the C3 Framework reminds educators of this essential mission by emphasizing the necessary skills that are critical to becoming active and engaged citizens. Critical thinking, collaboration and inquiry skills within the C3 offer a new vision to enhance the teaching of civics, economics, geography, and history from kindergarten to high school."


As project director, Swan has worked with representatives from 23 state education agencies, 15 professional organizations, 17 writers, 50 teachers, 40+ curricular and business partners, and others.


Sandra Day O'Connor, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice, has endorsed the project.


“Knowledge of our system of government and rights and responsibilities as citizens is not passed down through the gene pool, it must be taught," O'Connor said. "The ‘College, Career and Civic Life’ Framework will help each state improve civic learning for all students.”  


The full document is available online, free of charge.


Swan has been at the UK College of Education since 2004.  A former social studies teacher, she researches ways of effectively integrating technology into the K-12 social studies classroom, including documentary making. She is a four time recipient of the National Technology Leadership Award in Social Studies Education co-sponsored by the College and University Faculty Assembly and the Society of Technology and Teacher Education.


Her research has appeared in Theory and Research in Social Education, International Journal of Social Education, Social Education, and Journal of Research on Technology in Education.  She has co-authored the book "And Action! Doing Documentaries in the Social Studies Classroom" and children’s series "Thinking Like A Citizen."  She is also the advisor for the Social Studies Assessment, Curriculum and Assessment Collaborative at the Chief Council of State School Officers and is the co-editor of Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education — Social Studies.



MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, 859-257-5343;

Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Dallas Buyers Club
College of Law Welcomes Trevor Potter
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Notes on Marie Menken
LNFS Presents: Edge of Tomorrow
UK Jazz Ensemble/ UK Lab Band
Earth & Environmental Science Student Open House
"Nerd Night" Exhibit and Concert
"Anne Braden: Southern Patriot" Film Screening and Discussion
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: My Neighbor Totoro
LNFS Presents: (500) Days of Summer
Men's Soccer vs. Old Dominion
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Alabama
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. South Carolina
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
Swing Dancing!
Dancing at Lughnasa
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
UK Children's Hospital/Birthing Center Annual Perinatal Loss "Walk To Remember"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Texas A&M
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Resumes and Cover Letters
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Networking and Job Search
UK Choristers
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Stillness in Motion: The Essence of Symmetry - presented by Dr. Carl Lee, Mathematics
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Night of the Living Dead
UK Law Day
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Mark Berry, Guest Percussion Recital
National Depression Screening Day
LNFS Presents: Torch Song Trilogy
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Shut Up and Play the Hits
LNFS Presents: Watchmen
KLJ Data Privacy Symposium
Family Weekend Check-in
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #1
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. South Carolina
Family Weekend: Derek Hughes
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. ULM
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
UK International Tent/ Tailgate Party
CT Surgery Symposium: Advances in the Surgical Management of Cardiothoracic Diseases:
Family Weekend Tent Party
Dancing at Lughnasa
DNT 101: A Taste of the Kentucky Doughnut Trail
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #2
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Auburn
Sunday Lunch at Historic Spindletop Hall
Men's Soccer vs. Marshall
Job Club - Social Media and Your Career
Massage on the Go
LNFS Presents: The Last Samurai
UK Symphony Band Concert
Women's Forum Conference 2014
#TrendingTopics: Pornography vs. Morality
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: The Tree of Life
LNFS Presents: Guardians of the Galaxy
UK Wind Symphony
LNFS Presents: Princess Mononoke
LNFS Presents: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ole Miss
Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
Paint the Town Blue
Free Kaplan Entrance Practice Exams
4th Annual Big Blue Soccer Tournament
Men's Soccer vs. New Mexico
Swing Dancing and Costumes?
Paint the Town Blue
UK Men's Chorus and acoUstiKats
Jazz Spectacular
UK Student Pajama Party
Kentucky Volleyball vs. LSU
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Florida
Paint the Town Blue
Midterm of 2014 Fall Semester
Returning to Work and Breastfeeding
Open Access Week Kickoff Event (Webcast)
Grad School 101
Royalty Showcase
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Preparing for Law School
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Grad School Panel: Surviving Your 1st Year
Film & Panel Discussion: Be Like Others
Graduate and Professional School Showcase
Your Publication, Your Choice: Choosing the Right Open Access Journal
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Kitty Karnival
Study Tips for Medical School
LNFS Presents: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Thank-A-Donor Day
Campus Sustainability Day
Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Information Session
Getting Into Medical School
Writing a Winning Personal Statement
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Marimbas From Hell
LNFS Presents: The Fault in Our Stars
Generation Open: Researchers' Roles in the Age of Openness
Homecoming Street Fair
LNFS Presents: Kiki's Delivery Service
LNFS Presents: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
"see blue." Day at Keeneland
Peanut Butter Drive
Pumpkin Carving Tournament
Kentucky Football vs. Mississippi State
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
UK Women's Choir and Paws and Listen
Bill Cooper Faculty Recital
What Makes You "YOU: with Brett T. Spear
UK Trumpet Ensemble
Undergraduate Research Information Session "How to Find A Mentor"
Kentucky Men's Basketball Blue/White Scrimmage
Job Club - How To Get A Job at UK: Updates on IES Applicant Tracking System
Common Reading Experience Author Lecture: Presenting Ishmael Beah
Screening of the documentary Teached
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: The Shining
Pinterest Party
UK Lab Safety Fair
Leadership Assessment
"see boo." Halloween Party
Society for the Promotion of Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Meeting
#UKEDTALKS: Design Thinking with Dr. John Nash
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Tennessee
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Lucy
Film Viewing and Discussion of The Other Boleyn Girl
LNFS Presents: Papirosen
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Alabama
LNFS Presents: ParaNorman
LNFS Presents: Carrie
All Hallow's Eve Concert (UK Symphony Orchestra)
Work-Life Retirement Conference
Reset Page