From the Chair
I have long admired the Teagle Foundation for its efforts to strengthen the quality of a liberal arts education through catalytic grantmaking to the nation’s colleges and universities. I am honored now to serve as Chair of its Board of Directors.
As I step into this new role, I’d like to acknowledge Walter C. Teagle III, now Chairman Emeritus, for his steadfast devotion to the Teagle Foundation. Our Board has benefitted from his perspectives on the future of undergraduate higher education, particularly efforts to assist institutions and faculty seeking new ways to ensure that student engagement with the whole spectrum of the liberal arts is fully realized.
While humanities programs are being cut by some institutions, often in connection with increases in programs in pre-professional fields, the Teagle Foundation remains committed to ensuring that the learning associated with study of the liberal arts is meaningfully embedded in college curricula across the country. The pandemic has shed new light on the importance of engaging students with the humanities and humanistic social sciences, which help all of us grapple with tough moral questions. Since early last year, we Americans have faced many moral dilemmas: about unequal access to education at all levels, the fragility of our public health systems, our cultural reference points, and our global responsibilities in an increasingly interdependent world. Our country has faced difficult questions too about racial reckoning and the strength of our democratic institutions. Humanities education writ large is an integral part of the groundwork of our democracy, and helps to equip our future citizens and our leaders to address fundamentally difficult questions.
This year, the Foundation has maintained focus in its core program areas: strengthening undergraduates’ engagement with the humanities, knowledge of American democratic institutions, helping high school students prepare for a liberal arts education in college, and supporting students transferring from community college into four-year liberal arts institutions. Our shorthand descriptors for these four program strands are Cornerstone: Learning for Living, Education for American Civic Life, Knowledge for Freedom, and Transfer Pathways to the Liberal Arts.
Each serves distinct populations of students from high school through college. All share first principles and pedagogical models that inform the effective practices of teaching; and all are dedicated to improving how students see themselves as active and successful learners.
Each major program area has its own back story, built carefully through pilot efforts and planning grants to full implementation projects that require a larger vision and broader base of support. We invite you to learn more about the characteristics of Teagle’s distinctive programs and its most recent work in this 2021 Annual Report.
--Elizabeth S. Boylan, Chair