Bob Dylan in Tulsa’s Classrooms

In 2017, the University of Tulsa, Tulsa Public Schools, and the Yale National Initiative partnered to create the new Tulsa Institute for Teachers, which is designed to strengthen teaching in the city’s public schools. This exciting new program rotates around an annual series of collaborative seminars that are chosen by teachers and led by TU faculty members. The program draws on teachers selected competitively from all fields in the sciences and humanities who range from elementary grades to high school. As part of their work in the seminar, the fellows produce 20-page curriculum units that are then shared both locally and nationally.

Four seminars will be taught the first year, including “From Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan: Art and Politics in American Popular Music.” It will be led by Dr. Sean Latham, the Walter Endowed Chair of English at TU and Co-Director of the university’s newly created Institute for Bob Dylan Studies. “Our aim,” Latham explains, “is to draw on the incredible resources now available here in Tulsa in order to create innovative and engaging educational content aimed directly at public school teachers.” The fellows meet regularly from November 2017 through April 2018 and will explore the work of the the nation’s most famous singer-songwriters. The group of fellows who have been chosen to participate teach high school English, middle school social studies, and elementary art.

“One of the great things about Dylan and Guthrie,” Latham explains, “is that they can help teachers meet students on familiar territory and then lead them to complex questions about art, politics, identity, and history. By listening deeply to these outstanding poets, musicians, and performers, they can also gain a critical awareness of just how creative and compelling popular music can be.” This TIFT seminar is one of the many programs now growing out of the TU Institute for Bob Dylan Studies, all of which are designed to bring scholars and teachers into direct contact with the extraordinary archives that now reside in Tulsa.

For more information about the Tulsa Institute for Teachers or the Institute for Bob Dylan Studies, please feel free to contact us at