The Teagle Foundation's Board of Diretors awarded grants totaling $1.295 million through its newly launched initiatives, Pathways to the Liberal Arts and Education for American Civil Life.
The Pathways to the Liberal Arts initiative supports access to and success in liberal arts education, particularly for students from disadvantaged backgrounds who might not ordinarily attempt a rigorous liberal arts program. The Teagle Board approved awards for projects that strengthen access to the liberal arts in the transition from high school to college and that strengthen the rigor and quality of liberal arts pathways at two- and four-year institutions.
One newly funded Pathways project, at Carthage College in Wisconsin, provides an intensive experience for low-income high school students in reading and discussion of influential texts of literature and philosophy. The program is modeled on the successful “Freedom and Citizenship” program established by Columbia University and the Double Discovery Center under the auspices of Teagle’s College-Community Connections initiative. The Carthage program joins a set of grantees developing similar programs at Ursinus College, the University of Rochester, and Yale University designed to help disadvantaged students become successful applicants to college, confident students once they get there—and to prepare them for fulfilled lives as active participants in American democracy.
Two other Pathways grants support efforts to replicate and extend successful curricular models among member campuses of the California State University System and City University of New York respectively. Five CSU campuses are following the footsteps of San Francisco State University in enacting a model for curricular redesign that proved successful in improving curricular coherence and reducing time to degree under a previous Teagle grant made in 2014. Similarly, an initiative that proved successful at Hostos Community College—embedding enduring works of literature and philosophy in English composition and other required courses, thereby strengthening students’ skills and raising their aspirations—will be replicated and extended to three other member institutions in the CUNY system.
The board also approved the first grant under the Education for American Civic Life initiative. On the premise that college students should graduate with a basic understanding of how government is constituted at the state level, Brandeis University launched a series of courses that combine traditional reading assignments with direct experience in the state legislative process. The Brandeis innovation is now growing into ENACT—the Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation—a network of institutions in or near state capitals that are taking advantage of their locations to strengthen students’ civic knowledge. To date, diverse institutions located in 29 states—such as the U.S. Air Force Academy, Hendrix College, and the University of Maryland, College Park—participate in ENACT. Teagle support will enable the network to expand to institutions located in all 50 states.
Pathways to the Liberal Arts
Humanities Citizenship Initiative
$245,000 over 36 months to provide an intensive college-level introduction to the humanities on the Carthage College campus to local high school students.
San Francisco State University, California State University-Los Angeles, California State University-Chico, San Diego State University, California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, and Sonoma State University
Faculty-Led Curricular Design for Student Achievement in the California State University System
$450,000 over 36 months to promote a student-centered approach to curricular redesign in a large state university system by engaging selected liberal arts programs in a planning process that results in a more cohesive and coordinated learning experience for all their majors. This ambitious project extends a successful model for curricular reform developed by San Francisco State University with support from a Teagle grant made in 2014. The second multi-campus phase of the proposed work has the potential to improve the experience and progress toward degree of many thousands of students throughout the California State University system.
Hostos Community College, Borough of Manhattan Community College, LaGuardia Community College, and New York City College of Technology
Core Books at CUNY
$275,000 over 36 months to embed classic works of literature and philosophy in English composition and other courses required for graduation. The initiative originated at Hostos Community College and will now be extended to Borough of Manhattan Community College, LaGuardia Community College, and New York City College of Technology.
Education for American Civic Life
Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation
$325,000 over 36 months to expand the Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation (ENACT), a national network of institutions that engages undergraduates with studying state constitutional frameworks and legislative and political history and comparing different states’ approaches to lawmaking. The network, anchored at Brandeis University, currently has members in 29 states. Teagle support will enable the network to expand to institutions located in all 50 states.
About the Teagle Foundation
Founded in 1944, The Teagle Foundation works to support and strengthen liberal arts education, acting as a catalyst for improvements in teaching and learning in the arts and sciences. It sees such an education as a prerequisite for rewarding work, meaningful citizenship, and a fulfilling life.
Loni Bordoloi Pazich