The Elena M. Sliepcevich Centre
for Health Education Studies
History of Centre + -
Since the turn of this century, increased emphasis on the need to capture Health Education (HED) history has occurred among both professional associations and individuals with special interests and projects associated with various aspects of the profession. History Committees affiliated with these groups were deliberating about how to capture “HED history.” Editorial boards were agreeing to include historically focused articles in professional peer-reviewed journals. Conference planners highlighted this foundation area with sessions and keynote speakers. Professional preparation programs at nationwide Colleges and Universities expanded inclusion of benchmarks and influential individuals in their courses. Doctoral dissertations were focusing on the history of leading programs in higher education institutions.
Individuals who had key leaders as mentors were collecting materials and personal memorabilia. Small groups of health educators began conducting individual interviews and recorded conference presentations to try and capture experiences and insights of those who founded the profession. Deaths of several key leaders who were instrumental in the evolution and refinement of HED underscored the importance of capturing this critical background for use in classrooms, research and scholarly work, and service activities. Among these prominent health educators was Dr. Elena M. Sliepcevich who is widely recognized for five decades of professional leadership and contributions.
Tribute at SIUC
In addition to her nationally recognized contributions, Dr. Elena M. Sliepcevich was among the exceptional group of faculty assembled at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) by Dr. Donald N. Boydston, Department Chair (1955 – 1988). She was a Professor of Health Education (HED) and the School of Medicine from 1973 until her retirement in 1992. She joined SIUC to work with both Dr. Boydston and Dr. Robert D. Russell with whom she worked on the landmark School Health Education Study to cultivate the HED graduate programs.
Dr. Sliepcevich’s death on March 3, 2008, evoked desire to provide an appropriate tribute to “Dr. S” (as she was called by her students) after her historical and close affiliation for two decades at SIUC. Similarly, association of Dr. Russell and Dr. Boydston with SIUC as well as many key leaders who either taught or received HED degrees from the SIUC program was a catalyst to capturing the legacies of these legends.
After careful consideration of more traditional memorials, the concept of creating a Centre that would be both a tribute to Dr. Sliepcevich and perpetuate her personal and professional qualities emerged. The “Centre” would provide opportunities and resources for scholars, students, and other professionals as she had done throughout her career.
The “Centre” vision initially included having centralized access to hands-on primary resources true to historical research methods. This idea evolved to collecting materials for use in scholarly work, curriculum development, and HED professional preparation foundations courses, among other purposes. Eventually, the Centre could become recognized, as Dr. Sliepcevich was, for its continued support of Health Education Studies. Further, one of her consistently demonstrated values was collaboration. Creating the Centre and, later, its functions would involve collaborating with appropriate areas of the SIUC campus as well as colleagues across the country. Electronic and technological advances would allow a “virtual” dimension for broader access. Additionally, Centre activities would address widely held concerns about losing the history of Health Education.
Sliepcevich Collection and Personal Memorabilia
In Spring, 2008, the Sliepcevich family agreed to make the Centre’s inaugural contributions. Before SIUC could receive these primary materials and personal memorabilia, cooperation was needed from appropriate campus officials. From May to October, 2008, a series of meetings occurred with administrators from (1) SIUC Morris Library and its Special Collections Research Center; (2) SIUC University Museum; (3) SIU Foundation; and (4) SIUC College of Education and Human Services.
A proposal to Morris Library administrators was made and accepted that the Sliepcevich “Papers,” a key component for the Centre, would be housed in the Special Collections Research Center of the newly renovated (2009) Morris Library. Approximately 40 boxes of documents chronicling Dr. Sliepcevich’s life work were included. They would be transported from the Sliepcevich family home in Norman, OK to the SIUC campus.
A second proposal followed to administrators from the University Museum that was conditionally accepted. Professional appraisal was required for the artistic works included in the Sliepcevich family donation. Once a member of the American Society of Appraisers completed the appraisals, a Daum Crystal Flamme given to Dr. Sliepcevich (1969) by the School Health Education Study (SHES) Writing Group; and a Moran mixed media Boy With Birds sculpture given to her (1971) by the 3M Corporation that funded SHES became part of the Museum’s permanent collection.
Two medallions from the Nixon Inauguration and a pen used by President Lyndon Baines Johnson to sign the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act were added to the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Mileur Collection of political memorabilia. The University Museum has oversight of this Collection for the Institute.
Subsequently, meetings occurred with representatives of the SIU Foundation who agreed to establish an account for revenue and expenditures. The Centre would be privately funded (similar to the School Health Education Study). Further, this Foundation account was needed to comply with IRS rules since the contributed art pieces were considered gifts-in-kind.
Following an update on these activities, the SIUC College of Education and Human Services Dean agreed in Spring, 2009 to support a one-year graduate assistant for the Centre in Spring, 2009. The following summer, a Health Education PhD Candidate, became the Centre’s Senior Archivist. She trained with the University Archivist to catalogue, process, and store the Sliepcevich “papers” and other historical documents.
Health Education Leaders Collection
Two overall sets of materials resulted from this archival work: the Sliepcevich Collection and a generically titled SIUC Collection of Health Education Key Leaders. The latter Collection was initiated with materials related to the history of Health Education assembled by selected key leaders. Additional documents will expand and supplement this Collection.
FAQ + -
Why was this Centre established?
The original concept for this Centre was based on desire to provide an appropriate tribute to the unique spirit and leadership provided by Dr. Elena M. Sliepcevich during her entire career starting in 1939 as a Montana school teacher until her retirement from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1992. The death of Dr. Sliepcevich as well as several key leaders of her generation underscored the need to capture important history of Health Education. Further, several professional associations and many individuals expressed similar concerns for documenting history of the profession. A variety of projects were initiated across the country in response to these concerns. This Centre is designed to be a centralized repository of primary and virtual resources for Health Education curricula, research, and scholarly work.
When was this Centre established at SIUC?
October, 2008 after receiving the donated collection of professional papers and documents as well as personal memorabilia from the Sliepcevich family.
Why is the Centre named after Dr. Elena M. Sliepcevich?
Widely renowned as among the leading health educators in the US, Dr. Sliepcevich was a Professor of Health Education at SIUC from 1973-1992. She directed the School Health Education Study (SHES), the most comprehensive and largest curriculum development project in the history of the profession. As the only national curriculum created without federal funds, its conceptual approach remains the innovative benchmark for organizing knowledge and structuring learning opportunities that mutually benefit goals of public health and education. In addition to SHES, she was a prolific writer, pioneer in development of patient education, recognized for her extensive research, and recipient of numerous highly respected national awards.
Why did Dr. Sliepcevich come to SIUC?
According to Dr. John C. Taylor’s “A History of the Formation, Development, and Growth of the Department of Health Education at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1921 to 1993,” (1996), every leading Department of Health Education in the country was trying to employ Dr. Sliepcevich after completion of the School Health Education Study project. At SIUC, Dr. Donald N. Boydston, Department of Health Education Chair, and Dr. Robert D. Russell, Professor of Health Education persuaded her to participate in the expanding graduate programs at SIUC. In 1994, Dr. Russell stated, “Elena told us that the influential factor in her coming to SIUC was that she wanted to work with both me [Russell had worked on the SHES] and Boydston, having known both of us and our work at SIUC.” During Dr. Boydston’s 33 years as Chair, the department grew from two faculty to over two dozen offering Bachelor’s Master’s, and PhD degrees in Health Education.
May anyone add to the Centre’s Collections?
The Centre’s initial Collections include materials associated with Dr. Sliepcevich’s life work; and those of Health Education key leaders affiliated with her. Future additions will be reviewed to determine their consistency with the Mission of this Centre. Policies and resources required to develop a collecting area also will be part of this review to ensure the richness of primary documents available for use with curricula, research, and scholarly work. If you wish to discuss adding to the Collections, please contact Centre Director Dr. Judy C. Drolet. Contact information is at the bottom of each site page.
What is the relationship among Center / Collections / Papers?
The Centre is the overarching tribute to Dr. Sliepcevich and Health Education key leaders. Within the Centre are multiple Collections of professional materials associated with these major figures. Collections are comprised of Leader papers, media, and other documents as well as personal memorabilia. As resources become available, potential future activities planned for the Centre by its Advisory Board are identified on a page titled Centre Research and Scholarly Work on this site.
Why are the Centre Special Collections housed in the SIUC Morris Library Special Collections Research Center?
The Centre Special Collections documents are housed as part of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library Special Collections Research Center. Papers and other materials of historical significance are preserved in a highly secure, environmentally controlled setting. They are readily available for use in a central location by scholars, graduate and undergraduate student researchers, and others interested in Health Education research, education, curriculum development, and service. Myriad resources in these Special Collections provide opportunities to access unique, comprehensive materials of interest to diverse disciplines.
Where else are Centre materials housed?
Materials that are not appropriate for the Morris Library Special Collections Research Center are housed in collaboration with other SIUC departments that are supportive of the Centre. For example, donations from the Sliepcevich family included art pieces associated with the School Health Education Study (SHES). They are housed along with Dr. Sliepevich’s academic regalia (Springfield (MA) College, 1955) and Honorary Doctoral Degree hood (University of Idaho, 1987) as part of the SIUC Museum’s collections. Political memorabilia from her time in Washington, DC were donated to the Mileur Collection of over 1,500 political science memorabilia added to the SIUC Paul Simon Public Policy Institute in October, 2008. Duplicate materials from SHES are in a display at the Health Education program office in Pulliam Hall, Third Floor hallway (outside room 308).
Who do I contact about professional contributions to the SIUC Health Education (HED) Key Leaders Collection?
Centre Director, Dr. Judy C. Drolet. Contact information is at the bottom of each page.
Who do I contact about specific content in the Centre Special Collections?
Dr. Brandye D. Nobiling, Senior Archivist, conducted the initial year-long archiving of the Centre’s Special Collections. Her contact information is at the bottom of each page.
How do I make a financial contribution to support the work of this Centre?
The Centre is funded by private donations. Plans for formal fund raising/development work are in process. All contributions are welcomed and identified on the Resources page for this site. Donations should be addressed to SIU Foundation, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, MC 4309, Colyer Hall, Carbondale, IL 62901-4309 with the Elena M. Sliepcevich Centre for Health Education Studies identified on the “Memo” line. If you wish to discuss supporting the Centre’s work, please contact Centre Director, Dr. Judy C. Drolet. Contact information is at the bottom of each site page.
How do I see contents from the Centre’s Special Collections?
Link to the Collection you are interested in perusing by clicking on its title on this site. Identify items and place them in the cart. A staff member from the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC), Morris Library at SIUC will select these items from the Collection. They will be available for your use only in SCRC. Future plans include digitizing materials included in the Centre Special Collections.
Why are purple irises on the website page?
Irises were Dr. Sliepcevich’s favorite flowers.
What is the source of the pictures on the header of the Centre web site?
These illustrations were included in the book publication of the School Health Education Study entitled “Health Education: A Conceptual Approach to Curriculum Design, Grades Kindergarten Through Twelve,” published in 1967 by 3M Education Press.
Who were members of the School Health Education Study (SHES) Writing Group?
Who were members of the School Health Education Study (SHES) Advisory Committee?
Who were members of the School Health Education Study (SHES) Project Staff?
Where were the “School Health Education Study (SHES) Experimental Curriculum Materials Project: 1964-65 Tryout Centers” located?
Advisory Board + -
Fund Raising/Development + -
Support for accomplishing and expanding future Centre activities is dependent on private funding. A formal fund-raising development campaign is being planned. Initial funding for the Centre was provided by the Sliepcevich family and others. Additional contributions may be made via the SIUC Foundation. Donations should be addressed to SIU Foundation with The Elena M. Sliepcevich Centre for Health Education Studies identified on the “Memo” line.
If you have questions about supporting the Centre’s Collections and activities, contact information is provided below.
The Elena M. Sliepcevich Centre for Health Education Studies (EMS CHES) primarily is a tribute to the spirit and work of its namesake. The Centre also honors a select group of influential Health Educators. Principally created to recognize those who helped establish the profession, the Centre is a focal point of health education historical research and other scholarly work.
The Centre encompasses as its foundation Dr. Sliepcevich’s life work featuring the landmark School Health Education Study, and her personal memorabilia. Five decades of materials related to other Health Education Key Leaders are incorporated.
Access to the Centre is widely available through this site including materials in the entire Sliepcevich Collection as well as those associated with other prominent Health Educators. Historical research, professional, and health-related resources also can be found.
As a special feature, visitors to the site are invited to contribute to an archive/collection of personal and professional stories being compiled as a resource of the Centre.
Contact information is provided below if you have questions or suggestions related to the Centre’s Collections and activities.
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The Elena M. Sliepcevich Centre for Health Education Studies would not be possible without support of the following people who collaborated with me in its development and creation.
Dr. Judy C. Drolet, Centre Director