The Nation Loses a Moral Compass
Project Pericles is deeply saddened by the loss of our Founder and Chair Emeritus,
Eugene M. Lang on April 8. Gene was a visionary concerned about our democracy, civic engagement, and social responsibility long before these issues were prominent. From our founding in 2001, Gene's leadership, passion, and support
have enabled Project Pericles to grow and thrive pursuing our mission of preparing future generations of thoughtful and involved citizens.
We will miss his intelligence, humor, and indomitable spirit. Thank you to our Periclean Presidents and campuses for their many condolence calls, emails, and letters. We and the Lang family appreciate everyone's support.
We honor Gene's memory by building upon his legacy of civic engagement and by holding ourselves to the highest standards as we
continue to work on programs that embody Gene's vision.
Project Pericles Receives Second Installment of $3 Million Endowment from the Eugene M. Lang Foundation
In February, Project Pericles received the second half of a $3 million endowment from the
Eugene M. Lang Foundation. The Lang Foundation has made a $4.325 million commitment to Project Pericles, including the endowment and annual contributions through 2021. The foundation's support of Project Pericles' work ensures that we will continue to thrive for years to come. This substantial gift is an important investment in Eugene M. Lang's vision and in Project Pericles' mission of championing civic engagement in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community.
We thank the Eugene M. Lang Foundation for this generous gift and for its many years of guidance, support, and wisdom.
Project Pericles Announces 13 Periclean Faculty Leaders Awards
The second cohort of the Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Program™ in 2017-2018 will create new courses incorporating civic engagement; promote civil dialogue locally through lectures, town hall meetings, and public events; and advance public scholarship nationally and internationally through publications and conference presentations.
They will champion civil discourse, civic engagement, and social responsibility in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community. We are pleased to have a diverse group of professors from a wide range of disciplines including Archaeology and Classical Studies, Computer Science, Dance, English, Environmental Studies, History, Mathematics and Statistics, Psychology, Theatre, and Urban Studies.
Through courses that utilize high impact learning strategies and address social, economic, environmental, health,
and income inequality, among other issues, students gain an understanding of how they can use their knowledge and skills to improve their communities. Professors and community members model civil discourse, as stakeholders, to address pressing issues. Students gain experience working as part of a team with community members.
At Dillard University, Assistant Professor Casey Schreiber will use the city of New Orleans as a living classroom to teach about housing policy by examining the city's affordable housing crisis, gentrification, and mixed-income development. At New England College, Associate Professor Alex Picard and Professor Glenn Stuart of the Theatre Department will work with their students to produce an original production that addresses issues of concern to the community and provides a space "to engage in theatrical civic education."
Student engagement with real world issues supports academic excellence. By utilizing classroom learning and mobilizing it towards issues of civic and social
concern, these courses promote "High Engagement Learning".
Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and the
Eugene M. Lang Foundation are supporting the Periclean Faculty Leadership Program.
Article continues with a list of the 13 PFL awards, courses, and peer mentors.
Debating for Democracy (D4D) Letters to an Elected Official Competition
Judges: Constance Berry Newman, Ruth Messinger, and Martha Kanter; Contestants: Sonya Morud
Leilani Ganser, Reed College
; Matt Thibodeau
, Carleton College
Rowan Lanning, Pace University; Charles Williamson and
, Swarthmore College
; Danielle Graves
, Berea College; Allison Tucker, Carleton College;
, Berea College
; and Jan Liss, Executive Director, Project Pericles.
Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ National Conference Attendees Impress All
Attending the D4D Conference finally made me believe in the power of youth. We are actually the change, and we are actually the future, and these AREN'T simply empty inspirational words. I know that there are future leaders in that conference room, and I can't wait to see where we all go from here." - Kwani-Fawn Marcellay, Reed College ('20)
For two days this spring, 57 student leaders and activists from 24 Periclean campuses gathered in New York City for the 2017 Debating for Democracy Conference, hosted by Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts in the Theresa Lang Community and Student Center. Together, they shared their concerns and efforts on immigration reform and sanctuary cities, clean drinking water, climate change and healthy waterways, racial and economic justice, to name just a few of the issues students are working on.
The conference featured two interactive workshops for students, the Legislative Hearing, four panels, and visits to New York City based nonprofits.
With new-found skills and contacts on other campuses, student delegates returned to their colleges to advance civic and political engagement among their classmates and community.
Representing the mission of Project Pericles in action - the conference provided a forum to share ideas and advocate for issues of critical social and political concern. The conference was, "Democracy in action," commented Ryan Perez, Macalester College ('20), "a gathering of so many civically-engaged individuals in one room." Student leaders were joined by college presidents, faculty, staff, nonprofit activists, foundation, government, and community leaders, and members of the media (Additional Photographs of Conference).
"I can't wait to get out and mobilize my campus for environmental issues!"- Alyssa Bueno, Skidmore College ('18)
"The most valuable part of the national conference was the interaction with people from other colleges. This is an amazing tool for organizing [and it] kindles hope in each participant to know that so many people exist that are invested in creating social change." - James Williams, Goucher College ('19)
Project Pericles designed the D4D National Conference to provide students with concrete steps they can take to move the issues they care about forward. Prior to the March 30-31 conference, all student attendees, in teams, wrote Letters to an Elected Official, on pressing policy issues. These were mailed to elected officials across the country and submitted to Project Pericles. Our judges and reviewers commented on how well argued and written the letters were. For the full line-up of panels and workshops that students participated, check out the 2017 conference agenda.
Student Teams Take Home $5,000 to Work on Advocacy Campaigns on their Campuses and in their Communities
The Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ Legislative Hearing is a highlight of the conference. Prior to the conference, a panel of judges with significant legislative experience selected five letters from the letters submitted by more than 70 student teams from Periclean campuses. The letters proposed innovative solutions to issues including education, immigration, and the environment; and were sent to elected officials across the United States. The five teams of students responsible for the winning letters then presented at the Legislative Hearing.
Teams from Berea College, Carleton College, Pace University, Reed College, and Swarthmore College discussed their public policy proposals with a panel of former government officials:
Constance Berry Newman, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Martha Kanter, Executive Director of the College Promise Campaign and former U.S. Under Secretary of Education; and Ruth Messinger, Global Ambassador and former CEO/President of American Jewish World Service and former Manhattan Borough President.
After writing superb letters, the teams faced stiff questioning about the pros and cons of their policy recommendations. The teams did an exceptional job defending their positions.
won the Letters to an Elected Official Competition for "A Letter in Support of Amending the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act to Protect the Hudson and Other American Rivers from the Unwarranted Expansion of Commerce in Bakken Oil" to Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) by Rowan Lanning ('18) and Christina Thomas ('19).
In this letter, the authors request that Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduce an amendment to the Coast Guard and Marine Transportation Act declaring a proposal to create 43 special anchorages for oil barges on the Hudson River a "major federal action" under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The potential environmental, economic, and social impacts of the proposal are significant and not restricted to the Hudson alone, especially given the expected increase in national maritime commerce in Bakken oil. Under its NEPA rules, the Coast Guard enjoys a national "categorical exclusion" from conducting Environmental Impact Statements for special anchorages that can only be remedied by an act of Congress.
The Pace team received $3,000 to move their issue forward and the four finalist teams each received $500. We are looking forward to working with Pace and the other teams as they work on the issues over the coming year. Pace has already met with staff members from Representative Nadler's office.
See the brief description of the four finalists' letters and read the letters submitted by the five teams here.
Jan Liss moderates Social Action - Panel Discussion with
Dev Aujla, Founder & CEO; Catalog, Greta Zarro, New York Organizer, Food & Water Watch; Jason Mangone,
Senior Advisor, New York City Department of Veteran Services; Charlotte Turovsky, Head of Operations, RapidSOS
Other Conference Highlights:
The students met with leaders from non-profits and media organizations who are on the forefront of social change. Through panels on Social Action; Media, Political Engagement, and Reporting in an Age of Partisanship; and Mobilization and Movements, they provided students with concrete steps to move their policy or social issue forward.
To start the conference, Jan R. Liss, Project Pericles Executive Director, moderated a panel with four leading social activists from innovative organizations: Dev Aujla, Founder & CEO, Catalog; Jason A. Mangone, Senior Advisor, New York City Department of Veteran Services; Charlotte Turovsky (Carleton College, '11 and former D4D Legislative Hearing Winner), Head of Operations, RapidSOS; and Greta Zarro, New York Organizer, Food & Water Watch. The four panelists promote social change by empowering individuals with the skills and tools to advocate for themselves. Following the discussion, the students met in small groups for a workshop with one of the panelists. The students learned to develop their "public narrative," and explored the essential elements of effective narrative that can be used in advocacy work.
The "Media, Political Engagement, and Reporting in an Age of Partisanship - Panel Discussion" was moderated by
Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts
and featured a diverse range of reporters discussing the challenges of covering the news in a charged political climate. Students were excited to have
, Founding Editor,
, one of, if not the, leading socialist magazines in the United States.
, Staff Writer for
The American Interest,
offered a more conservative view with
, Political Director,
; rounding out the panel.
The "Mobilization and Movements - Panel Discussion" moderated by Christina Dawkins, Director of the Office of Civic Engagement, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts, featured representatives from cutting-edge social and political movements and organizations discussing their plans. Panelists included Phil Aroneanu, co-founder of 350.org and Senior Campaigns Director, Purpose; Iain Keith, Campaign Director, Avaaz (the globe's largest and most powerful online activist network); Matthew Slutsky, former Managing Director of Partnerships, Change.org; and Sarah Taylor, Women, Peace and Security Advocate of the Women's Rights Division, Human Rights Watch.
"I love your students, they are doers!" - Iain Keith (returning panelist)
The second interactive workshop at the conference was facilitated by Christopher Kush and Kevin Schultze of Soapbox Consulting. They train citizens to effectively communicate their issues to Congress. Christopher and Kevin led the D4D on the Road workshops for Project Pericles in 2008-2009 and 2012-2013. Their session provided an opportunity for students to practice skills and techniques for engaging elected officials around issues the students are passionate about.
"Debating for Democracy helps to develop the multidimensional toolbox for advocacy work; I'm grateful I've had the opportunity to engage in hands-on work that puts my strengths in the spotlight while simultaneously building proficiency in other areas." - Isabelle Turner, Goucher College ('20)
At the conclusion of the conference, Garret Batten, Assistant Director, Project Pericles, moderated a panel of representatives from New York City based non-profit organizations. With an organization leader, students then toured the non-profit of their choice: Community Voices Heard, Harlem Grown, Friends of the High Line, "I Have a Dream" Foundation, or Museum at Eldridge Street/A Landmark Synagogue Story. For many students, this was a highlight of the conference.
"My overall mindset about how successful cooperations are built and how they function was challenged in a positive way, which gave me new insight [into] how ... I would be able to create my own non-profit." - Ryan Bell, Morehouse College ('19)
This year's D4D National Conference was dedicated to Eugene M. Lang, whose vision inspired this conference. Project Pericles thanks the Eugene M. Lang Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York for their support.
Project Pericles Receives $225,000 Grant from The Teagle Foundation for "Faculty Planning and Curricular Coherence"
, Macalester College, Morehouse College, and Widener University are participating in a new, three-year initiative, Creating Curricular Coherence Through Inquiry-Based Curricula and Thematic Pathways. The initiative explores different but allied approaches to creating greater coherence in the undergraduate curriculum. These faculty-led initiatives involve comprehensive reviews of the curriculum and are ambitious undertakings that will redefine undergraduate education at each institution for years to come. Colleges are streamlining their curricula using civic engagement and community-based learning as catalysts in their efforts.
Some campuses are piloting pathways in specific departments with plans to expand their efforts, others are redesigning their curriculum with an emphasis on inquiry-based learning.
Macalester is using pathways within Geography and History to bring greater structure to students' educational experiences and illustrate how specific disciplines can address public issues.
Morehouse is using questions about the African diaspora to help shape its work while Widener is incorporating sustainability. Macalester, Morehouse, and Widener and Project Pericles have formed a community of practice and will meet on a regular basis to collaborate, to provide feedback, and to share information. This work will be shared with our member institutions and higher education more generally.
Each of the three campuses will receive grants for participating in the three-year initiative. In the summer of 2019, representatives from all 31 Periclean campuses will convene to discuss how lessons from the "Faculty Planning and Curricular Coherence" initiative can be applied to their campus.
This work is made possible through the generous support of The Teagle Foundation and the Eugene M. Lang Foundation.
Our Sympathies to The Morehouse Community on the Passing of William Taggart Morehouse President
It is with great sadness that we share the news that William J. "Bill" Taggart, Interim
President of Morehouse College, passed away suddenly on June 7. We express our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the Morehouse College community for their loss. Provost Michael Hodge will serve as Acting President until a new Interim President is named by the Board of Trustees.
To learn more about Bill Taggart's legacy and his many accomplishments, please refer to the Morehouse College news release.
Continued from Project Pericles Announces 13 Periclean Faculty Leaders Awards
The Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Program™ was first launched in 2010 with support from the Eugene M. Lang Foundation and The Teagle Foundation. This second round, funded by the Eugene M. Lang Foundation and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, builds upon the work carried out under the initial program. Insights and best practices from the initial PFL Program are discussed in our white paper, The Periclean Diamond: Linking College Campuses, Communities, and Colleagues via Social and Civic High Engagement Learning by Ben Berger, Associate Professor of Political Science and Periclean Faculty Leader at Swarthmore College, and Jan R. Liss, Executive Director of Project Pericles.
Project Pericles provides an award
of $2,000 per campus with campuses providing matching funds. The awards support the design and teaching of a course incorporating civic engagement and civil dialogue activities at the college. The Periclean Faculty Leader applications were reviewed by Project Pericles staff and selected by outside evaluators. We were impressed with the excellent quality of the proposals and the enthusiastic response of the participating colleges and universities.
Each Periclean Faculty Leader (PFL) is paired with a PFL from another institution at the beginning of their tenure. They consult each other throughout the program. At the conclusion of the program the PFLs prepare a brief portfolio of their work which includes (a) the syllabus of their CEC course and other instructional and evaluation materials, (b) a copy of the abstract they sent describing their research paper/project; and/or (c) an overview of the activity they developed that brought diverse campus and community members together to participate in an activity that enriched public life, addressed current public/community issues, and enlivened democratic debate and discourse. The paired PFLs share their portfolios with each other and discuss the impact of their projects in promoting the civic engagement of their students. After reviewing each other's portfolios, the faculty members prepare a review of their partner's work for their partner and Project Pericles.
Campuses Awarded PFLs for 2017-2018:
, New Orleans, LA
Assistant Professor of Urban Studies
and Public Policy
Course: Housing Policy
Peer: Jessica Magaldi, Pace University
, Madison, NJ
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Course: Innovation I
(Co-taught with Andrew Elliott, Associate Professor of Theatre)
(An interdisciplinary course offered under Civic Engagement)
Peer: Mark Goadrich, Hendrix College
The Evergreen State College
, Olympia, WA
Member of the Faculty in Archaeology and Classical Studies
(Co-taught with Bradley Proctor, Member of the Faculty in History)
Course: Inventing the Citizen: The History of Political Action and its Limits
Peer: Wilson Valentín-Escobar, Hampshire College
, Baltimore, MD
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Course: Data Analytics
Peer: Lynne Steuerle Schofield, Swarthmore College
, Amherst, MA
Associate Professor of American Studies, Critical Ethnic Studies, and Sociology
Course: Citizens(hip) and Colonialism in our Backyard: Puerto Rican History, Civic Engagement, and Decolonial Social Change
Peer: Ulrike Krotscheck & Bradley Proctor, The Evergreen State College
, Conway, AR
Associate Professor of Computer Science
Course: Foundations of Computer Science
Peer: Emily Hill, Drew University
, Atlanta, GA
Michael H. Janis
Associate Professor of English
Course: Honors College Composition
Peer: Glenn Stuart, New England College
New England College
, Henniker, NH
S. Alexandra (Alex) Picard, Associate Professor of Theatre
(Co-taught with Glenn Stuart, Professor of Theatre)
Course: Language and Discourse: How a Resistance Can be a Production
Peers: Victoria Fortuna, Reed College, paired with Alex Picard
& Michael H. Janis, Morehouse College, paired with Glenn Stuart
, New York, NY
Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Taxation
Course: Business Law - Civic Engagement
Peer: Casey Schreiber, Dillard University
, Portland, OR
Assistant Professor of Dance
Course: Community Dance and Collective Creation
Peer: S. Alexandra (Alex) Picard, New England College
, Saratoga Springs, NY
Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies
Course: Political Ecology
Peer: Vanessa Volpe, Ursinus College
, Swarthmore, PA
Lynne Steuerle Schofield
Associate Professor of Statistics
Course: Topics in Statistics, Data Analysis for Policy Reports
Peer: Phong Le, Goucher College
, Collegeville, PA
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Course: Minority Health and Health Disparities
Peer: Nurcan Atalan-Helicke, Skidmore College
The four finalists are:
, "A Letter in Support of the Safe Drinking Water Act (H.R.
417) and an Amendment to Require the Improvement of Consumer Confidence
Reports and Stabilize Funding for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund"
to Representative John Yarmuth (D-KY) by Danielle Graves and Kerringtan
This letter urges Congressperson John Yarmuth (D-KY 3rd) to join his colleague Brenda Lawrence (D-MI 14th) in sponsoring an amendment to H.R. 417 to stabilize funding for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) program while streamlining the accessibility and understandability of consumer confidence reports on drinking water safety. With 33 cities in the U.S. suffering from contaminated drinking water, it is vital that the new administration and EPA director not cut funding for the DWSRF program, which designates funding for cities to treat their unsafe water supplies as well as upgrade their drinking water intake, treatment, and distribution infrastructure.
, "A Letter in Opposition to the Defense of Dwelling and
Person Act of 2017 (H.F. 238)" (known as the Stand Your Ground Bill) to
Minnesota State Senator Rich Draheim (R) by Naomi Borowsky, Victor Huerta,
Matt Thibodeau, and Allison Tucker.
This letter urges Senator Rich Draheim of Minnesota to oppose the color-blind policy of the Defense of Dwelling and Person Act. With the current national political climate, it becomes even more important to oppose this policy that could potentially lead to increased violence against people of color and immigrants. We ask that Senator Draheim advocate for his constituents in Minnesota affected by this bill and oppose H.F. 238.
, "A Letter in Support of the Safe Transfer Act" (would require
post-secondary institutions to disclose sex offenses on students'
transcripts) to Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) by Leilani Ganser and
This letter urges Congressman Blumenauer to sponsor Representative Jackie Speier's Safe Transfer Act as well as introduce similar legislation in the state of Oregon. This bill requires Title IX violations be disclosed on post-secondary institution transcripts. We see the current state of Title IX protections as lacking to a point of a public safety concern.
, "A Letter in Support of Funding Online Access to College
Courses for Rural Pennsylvania High School Students" to Pennsylvania State
Representative Leanne Kruger-Braneky (D) by Elizabeth Balch-Crystal and Charles Williamson.
This letter urges Pennsylvania State Representative Leanne Kruger-Braneky to sponsor legislation providing funding for rural Pennsylvania high school students to enroll in online college courses free of charge. While many urban and suburban schools allow students to take on-site courses at local state universities for free, rural schools do not have this opportunity because they lack the geographic proximity. To correct this inequality, we propose funding for rural high school students to take online university courses for free.
The complete version of the letters from the five teams are available here.
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