The Teagle Foundation’s Board of Directors awarded grants totaling $750,000 through its initiatives, Pathways to the Liberal Arts and Education for American Civic Life. President Andrew Delbanco describes the substance of the grants as “fostering open-minded engagement with the most challenging ideas of past and present.” All of the grants are “being led by creative and committed educational leaders who believe that such an education must not be restricted to the privileged few,” Delbanco says. 

The Pathways to the Liberal Arts initiative supports access to and success in liberal arts education, particularly for students from underserved 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 from two-year community colleges to four-year independent colleges, as well as projects focused on strengthening the rigor and quality of liberal arts pathways at two- and four-year institutions. 

Knowledge for Freedom, currently under the Pathways rubric, is a Teagle-funded program to bring civic proficiency and college access to underserved high school students across the country. For this purpose, Biola University, George Fox University, and Stony Brook University have received planning grants to develop sustainable partnerships with local community organizations and campus departments. These programs are modeled on the successful “Freedom and Citizenship” program established by Columbia University and the Double Discovery Center. These programs dramatically improve college readiness, admission prospects, and college graduation persistence while building interest in humanistic issues and habits of civic engagement that persist during and after college. 

Five planning grants under the Pathways rubric are intended to help independent colleges in Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Oregon lay the groundwork for state-wide agreements to promote transfer into liberal arts baccalaureate programs at independent colleges. The May 2020 grant recipients are: Georgia Independent College Association, Michigan Community College Association & Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities, Minnesota Private College Fund, Ohio Foundation for Independent Colleges & Council of Independent Colleges, and Oregon Alliance for Independent Colleges & Oregon Community College Association. One dissemination grant under the Pathways rubric is for the Partnership for After School Education (PASE) to host a series of workshops and a forum on the opportunities and pitfalls associated with the college transfer process aimed at representatives from community-based organizations. 

Teagle is beginning to support Cornerstone Programs, also under the auspices of Pathways to the Liberal Arts, which are modeled after the thriving “Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts” program at Purdue University that has transformed general education on that campus.  Teagle funds will support planning projects at American University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, Louisiana Tech University, and Smith College to engage students with core texts in the first year. These programs have the potential to reach a significant share of the undergraduate student body.  Three dissemination grants were also given to organizations that are well-positioned to share the Cornerstone approach to revitalizing general education with faculty and administrative leaders at a range of institutional types: the American Historical Association, Aspen Institute, and the Reinvention Collaborative. 

Under the Education for American Civic Life rubric, the Foundation made two planning grants, to DePaul University and Gettysburg College. Both institutions are committed to imagining rigorous civic education for undergraduate students, and will use the planning period to help anchor their work in a significant question concerning the past and present challenges of the community in which the college or university is located. 

Finally, the Teagle board approved special-project grants to the Chancellor’s Emergency Relief Fund at the City University of New York (CUNY), which will provide emergency aid to its students during COVID-19; the United States Military Academy at West Point to support a multidisciplinary initiative  promoting the study of Shakespeare for military professionals; and to Curriculum Open-Access Resources for Economics (CORE) USA to support its work in revitalizing the teaching of economics to undergraduates. 


Grants Awarded

Pathways to the Liberal Arts

Biola University

Planning for Knowledge for Freedom

$25,000 over 12 months to lay the groundwork the “Read Well, Live Well: Pursuing the Good Life Together through Great Books” program, a three-week summer residential program to help underserved high school students in Los Angeles County become well-rounded, civic-minded thinkers.


George Fox University

Planning for Knowledge for Freedom

$25,000 over 12 months to develop a program to expose intellectually curious but under-resourced high school students in rural Oregon to the study of philosophy, literature, and history.  


Stony Brook University

Planning for Knowledge for Freedom

$25,000 over 12 months to develop a four-week summer seminar focused on questions about the nature of government, freedom, and democracy and aimed at students from Long Island school districts with the highest need.


Georgia Independent College Association

Strengthening Transfer Access from Two-Year Colleges to Four-Year Private Liberal Arts Colleges in Georgia

$25,000 over 12 months to Georgia Independent Colleges Association (GICA) to develop a coordinated strategy with Technical College System of Georgia to strengthen the transfer pipeline and broaden the number of independent colleges accepting an A.S. degree as satisfying the general education/core requirements (traditional AA degrees are only offered within the University System of Georgia, which merged community college and four-year institutions and seeks to keep AA students within its system).


Michigan Community College Association (MCCA) and Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities

Exploring Liberal Arts Transfer Pathways to Independent Institutions in Michigan

$25,000 over 12 months to Michigan Community College Association (MCCA) & Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities (MICU) to increase engagement in statewide transfer initiatives among independent institutions and increase opportunities for community college students to transfer to independent institutions in the liberal arts. 


Minnesota Private College Fund

Improving Transfer Pathways and Opportunities at Minnesota Private Colleges 

$25,000 over 12 months to Minnesota Private College Fund to plan the infrastructure for sector-wide transfer arrangements with the two-year campuses of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MSCU) based on an assessment of opportunities for more independent colleges to participate in the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum and recruit community college students from MSCU. 


Council of Independent Colleges and Ohio Foundation for Independent Colleges

Improving Transfer Pathways and Opportunities at Ohio Independent Colleges

$25,000 over 12 months to identify at least two liberal arts disciplines for statewide program-to-program pathways from two-year to four-year private institutions based on an analysis of current transfer patterns and canvassing of member colleges on their academic areas of interest for transfer recruitment. 


Oregon Alliance for Independent Colleges and Oregon Community College Association

Oregon Transfer Pathways to the Liberal Arts

$50,000 over 12 months to Oregon Alliance for Independent Colleges and Oregon Community College Association to lay the groundwork for creating transfer pathways for students to complete liberal arts degrees through the use of general and discipline-based block transfer modules aligned with the Oregon Transfer Compass and to launch a dynamic database to convey curricular maps and pathways for prospective transfer students and their advisors to use in course selection. The project will also support a research report on the impact and opportunity for transfer stemming from the Oregon Promise program, whereby recent high school graduates get free access to community college. 


American University

Planning for Cornerstone 

$25,000 over 12 months to lay the groundwork for bringing an emphasis on core texts and more commonality of intellectual experience to the first-year seminar required of all students, including transfer students. During the planning phase, project leaders will recruit faculty colleagues to teach with core texts in their sections of the first-year seminar sections and to use those sections as a springboard to recruit students into a new certificate for “Lincoln Scholars,” a 15-credit program to explore the great questions of moral and political life in a context of intellectual and political diversity. 


Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Planning for Cornerstone 

$25,000 over 12 months to lay the groundwork to launch a 15-credit certificate in the humanities that features a 2-semester Transformative Text series, augmented with modules of applied research and life skills; 2-3 thematically organized humanities courses that meet general education requirements and help students connect the humanities to their aspired fields of work; and a capstone experience that intertwines the humanities into their pre-professional final year of study.


Johns Hopkins University

Planning for Cornerstone 

$25,000 over 12 months to redesign the first-year seminar as a course that is required of all incoming undergraduates and utilizes core texts to explore questions of justice and responsibility, particularly as they pertain to STEM disciplines.


Louisiana Tech University

Planning for Cornerstone 

$25,000 over 12 months to explore moving from a typical general education program organized around distribution requirements to a core curriculum organized around core texts. During the planning phase, a new core text course called Citizenship and Community will be piloted. 


Smith College

Planning for Cornerstone 

$25,000 over 12 months to explore moving from a completely open curriculum to offering a first-year seminar required of all incoming students and organized around a common set of core texts so that students have a common intellectual experience at the outset of their undergraduate careers. 

Education for American Civic Life

DePaul University

Liberal Studies, the Social Contract, and Lived Civics: Engaging Undergraduates across the Curriculum

$25,000 over 12 months to design a college-wide civic education curriculum that centers on the teaching of democratic principles and is grounded in an interdisciplinary examination of the historical development of the American republic and the constitution. The envisioned course is expected to be a key component of DePaul’s general education curriculum. 


Gettysburg College

Civic Literacy at Gettysburg College

$25,000 over 12 months to integrate the necessary components of civic literacy across a student’s four-year educational experience, with an emphasis on the power of Gettysburg’s location and history.

Graduate Student Teaching in the Arts and Sciences

Barnard College and the CORE-USA Consortium

CORE-USA Teagle Fellows Program

$50,000 over 24 months to support a webinar series developed by and aimed at graduate students to promote the teaching of economics that emphasizes empirical research, historical context, and the use of hands-on data with a free electronic textbook and related online teaching resources.

Special Projects

The City University of New York

CUNY Chancellor’s Emergency Relief Fund

$100,000 over 12 months to support the launch of the CUNY Chancellor’s Emergency Relief Fund to enable students across all CUNY campuses to seek access to emergency funds to address food insecurity, housing displacement, and lack of access to technology for remote learning. 


United States Military Academy at West Point
“Shakespeare And”: A Multidisciplinary Initiative to Promote Shakespeare Education for Military Professionals

$50,000 over 12 months to implement “Shakespeare And,” a multidisciplinary initiative to promote Shakespeare education for military professionals. The anchor of this program is the introductory literature course in which students study and write about Shakespearean drama, engage in an improv workshop, and memorize and perform a speech or scene. In addition to the traditional curricular components, West Point will also host rotating partnerships with other academic departments so that faculty from the partnered departments will join together in a seminar devoted to examining the relationship between the humanities and sciences through the lens of Shakespeare and other writers.


Partnership for After School Education 

Afterschool's Role in Supporting the Transfer Pathway to the Baccalaureate

$50,000 over 12 months to disseminate the role of transfer in the pathway to the baccalaureate to the liberal arts. PASE’s audience of after school educators are typically based at community-based organizations and work with low-income, high-need K-12 students. PASE aims to help its constituents become more knowledgeable about the potential for transfer pathways to the baccalaureate, particularly to independent liberal arts college that are often perceived as out of reach for low-income students. 

American Historical Association

Revaluing the Humanities in General Education

$50,000 over 12 months to organize a special workshop of department chairs from a range of institutional types who have shown commitment and effectiveness in bringing about curricular reform in undergraduate education. 


The Aspen Institute

Aspen Undergraduate Business Consortium

$25,000 over 12 months to the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society program to support its annual convening of faculty focused on deeper integration of the liberal arts in business education. 


Reinvention Collaborative

Core Curriculum Reform at Research Universities

$25,000 over 12 months to support a faculty colloquium focused on general education.