I am proud to assume the position of Chair of the Board of Directors as of July 2021, after having served on the Board since 2014. Let me begin by underscoring the continuity of purpose accompanying this transition by re-stating what has guided us so well in recent years:
The Teagle Foundation is committed to supporting educational excellence and to enhancing student learning by broadening exposure to the liberal arts. Liberal arts learning helps individuals to develop their critical thinking skills, so as to be better able to evaluate claims and ideas on the basis of evidence, and to communicate with clarity and civility, both verbally and through the written word.
The Teagle Foundation is focused on how we can best champion the liberal arts while being attentive to the challenges facing American higher education. Over the past two decades, our initiatives have spanned key issues: how to engage all students in the liberal arts, regardless of their major or background; what we know about how people learn and how that knowledge can shape our efforts to improve undergraduate education; how graduate students can be better trained for teaching careers; how judicious use of technology may help achieve the goals of higher education; how the redesign of curricula can make them more intellectually cohesive for students and financially sustainable for institutions. Our initiatives have been focused on the roles that college leaders and faculty must play if American higher education is to operate at a level of excellence and to serve as a democratic source of opportunity for the students it serves.
We invest our resources in ways that strengthen teaching and learning in the arts and sciences while leveraging opportunities to share resources and contain costs. We think of our work as “seeding” sustainable change. Our grantees bring energy and creativity to tackling some of the most critical issues in the effective communication and delivery of a true liberal arts education today. They demonstrate leadership by disseminating the lessons they have learned and modeling reform for the broader higher education community.
We have learned a great deal in partnership with our grantees about how to sustain and improve education in the arts and sciences. We remain optimistic about the future and look forward to continuing our support of teaching and learning in the fast-changing environment of institutions committed to bringing the liberal arts to all their students.
I am excited about the opportunities that The Teagle Foundation will be considering as American higher education recovers from the pandemic that has disrupted so many assumptions, interrupted so many plans, and damaged so many lives. Our existing programs adapted quickly in response to the crises our grantees were facing, and we are grateful to Teagle President Delbanco and the Teagle staff for their imaginative addressing of urgent needs. We pledge to become an even more intentional funder of learning communities comprised of higher education practitioners and scholars who have been tested by the world’s calamity. We will continue to seek partners who are buoyed by the powers of innovation and reinvention. Our partners will be extending the essential qualities of a liberal arts education to all their students, and will be cultivating communities of empathy and respect.
It is a special honor to succeed Walter C. Teagle III who has so ably served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the past twelve years and whose service on the Teagle Board began in 1981. Let me end by thanking him -- personally and on behalf of my Board colleagues -- for his consistent embrace of fresh ideas and his receptivity to change. These core attributes have been coupled productively with his experience built over decades of service and a fidelity to the Foundation’s guiding principles. We look forward to his continued involvement and wise counsel in his new role as Chairman Emeritus of the Teagle Foundation.
--Elizabeth S. Boylan