A pioneer in civic education, the Citizenship Education Clearing House (CECH-pronounced “check”) has been conducting programs in citizenship education since the late 1960s, when Teresa M. Fischer and a small group of associates launched CECH as an independent non-profit corporation. In 1993, CECH came under the UM-St. Louis umbrella as part of the School (now College) of Education. A measure of the University's strong commitment to the mission of CECH is that one of the institution's first four endowed professorships funded a position in citizenship education.
From the beginning, CECH programs have sought to integrate participatory citizenship education into the curricula of middle and high schools and to facilitate the development and implementation of student-initiated action projects. In short, CECH attempts to teach citizenship by encouraging participatory projects that engage students in the debate of real issues and the actual practice of democracy. In recent years, CECH has expanded to include elementary students as well.
In 1993, CECH’s ability to achieve Terry Fischer’s guiding vision expanded significantly when CECH joined the School (now College) of Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. One year later, the University, with a financial gift from Teresa and Aaron Fischer, created an endowed professorship in Citizenship Education. It was the expectation of the Fischers that the new endowed professor would direct CECH and promote citizenship education in the St. Louis region and beyond. In 1995, shortly after the death of Mrs. Terry Fischer, the University named the professorship in her honor, fittingly recognizing her long and successful career as a community leader and incorporating her compelling vision into the mission of the professorship. The professorship was named the Teresa M. Fischer Endowed Professor of Citizenship Education.
The Endowed Professorship is part of the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ College of Education and is held by an expert in the field of citizenship education. The professor serves as Director of CECH and existing citizenship programs and promotes the activities of the program through teaching, research, program development, and fundraising.