By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
iCivics, the nonprofit organization founded and chaired by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, has announced that Oklahoma City University President Judge Robert Henry has joined its 11-member governing board.
A recipient of the 2015 MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions, iCivics creates effective digital learning games and resources to help empower teachers to educate the next generation of citizens.
“Robert truly has a unique and deep understanding of civics from the perspective of someone who has spent a career teaching and applying the law,” Justice O’Connor said. “We’re honored to have him join the iCivics board.”
“In terms of pedigree and experience, Robert is exactly what we are looking for in a board member,” iCivics Executive Director Louise Dubé said.
“We believe that his practical and academic knowledge will inform us as we set a course to teach children how this country works,” she added.
President Henry says he is looking forward to helping Justice O’Connor with her mission of civics education across the U.S.
“In order to have a free and federal republic, it’s important that the public understands how our system of government works,” Henry said.
“The best place to start that education is with young students, and hope that they’ll stay engaged in the process through adulthood, when they’re tasked with choosing our nation’s leaders and shaping our country’s policies.
“Less than one-third of 8 th graders can identify the historical purpose of the Declaration of Independence,” Henry added. “It’s a grave understatement that this is not healthy for our republic.”
Henry has served in each branch of government. It has provided him a wide range of experience in the field of American civics. From 1976 to 1986 he was a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
He served two terms as attorney general of Oklahoma, in 1986 and again in 1990. He was later appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, serving as chief judge.
In July of 2010, Judge Henry became OCU’s 17th president. He had previously been both a dean and a professor of law for the OCU School of Law.
A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Henry is a life member of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.
Founded in 2009, iCivics’ innovative resources are used by 66,525 educators and more than five million students nationwide.
iCivics provides students with the tools for active participation and democratic action, and teachers with the materials and support to achieve this. Their free resources include print-and-go lesson plans, award-winning games, and digital interactives.
iCivics games have been played more than ten million times by students across the country.
The games place students in different civic roles and give them the opportunity to address real-world problems and issues. Each game has clear learning objectives and is integrated with lesson plans and support materials.
iCivics receives financial support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, among others.
Serving more than 40 percent of middle school social studies teachers in the U.S., iCivics is the largest classroom-based digital civics educational resource in the country.
For more information, visit icivics.org.