Touchstones Fellows Program

Cover of Exploring American Perspectives

The Touchstones Fellows program is a virtual 8-week cohort-based professional learning opportunity using our Exploring American Perspectives (EAP) volume, which exclusively includes works by African American and Black contributors focusing on themes of belonging, inclusion, equity, voice, leadership, and community. The volume was developed to bring additional focus on and recognition of excluded and marginalized perspectives.

The program brings educators together for weekly Touchstones discussions using the first nine lessons in EAP to strengthen discussion leadership skills through direct practice and increased responsibility. Fellows build public speaking skills, learn to work with others regardless of perceived similarity or difference, and examine assumptions and biases. Each participant runs one of the discussion meetings, with advanced preparation and personalized support from the Touchstones staff and other members of the group.

This is an excellent leadership and community-building opportunity, whether you are new to Touchstones or a veteran Touchstones educator.  It is offered at no cost, and upon successful completion of the program, participants will receive a certificate for 18 hours of professional development. If you are interested in our Spring 2022 cohort, please reach out to us at

“Learning the skills needed for discussion around issues of social justice is really important today. Some scholars even say it isn’t possible. This program shows that it is, and people can form bonds of friendship, collaboration, and solidarity across the barriers that seem to divide us.”

“This is very valuable for rethinking how we approach group dynamics, thinking collaboratively, and the relationship between existing perspectives/texts, ourselves, and each other.”

Fall 2021 Touchstones Fellows Cohort

Beth Blugerman

Teacher, Mount Desert Island, ME

Keith Eaton

Teacher, Mount Desert Island, ME

Gary Heidt

Teacher, Perkiomen Valley, PA

Shalini Jasti

Teacher, Jersey City, NJ

Shelagh MacLoughlin

Teacher, Mount Desert Island, ME