Build Your Knowledge for Freedom Program

Knowledge for Freedom Programs

Biola University

Biola University

"We prepare students from underserved communities to attend college and to wrestle with big questions about justice, democracy, education and what it means to live well as members of a community."

Biola University

Read Well, Live Well


Mark Makin, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Torrey Honors College
Laurie Wilson, Assistant Professor of Classics, Torrey Honors College

"At Biola University’s Torrey Honors College, we believe that reading well helps us live well. We pursue the Good, the True, and the Beautiful—seeking the good life together through great books. Torrey Honors, in partnership with Biola’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion, created the Read Well, Live Well program to prepare students from underserved communities to attend college and to wrestle with big questions about justice, democracy, education and what it means to live well as members of a community. Through transformative texts, deep discussions and engaging field trips with Torrey Honors professors, Read Well, Live Well scholars explore how great thinkers from the past speak powerfully into contemporary conversations and are equipped to make a difference in their communities. When we share with community partners about Read Well, Live Well, they invariably express enthusiasm and say that the program is exactly what they need to encourage youth in pathways to higher education.

Since its founding in downtown Los Angeles in 1908, Biola University has sought to equip students in mind and character to impact their communities. Biola’s founders envisioned a welcoming Christian community that made education accessible to all. Living into this founding vision, the Read Well, Live Well program welcomes underserved students in the greater Los Angeles area to experience the goods of a great books college education and its power to transform their lives and communities."

Boston University

Boston University

"We hope to invest our Teagle students with an understanding of how revisiting great works from the past can serve to promote social justice in the present."

Boston University

The One and the Many at Boston University


Susan Mizruchi, Director, Boston University Center for Humanities & Professor of English Literature

"We at Boston University’s Center for the Humanities are deeply honored and inspired by the opportunity to establish a Teagle Foundation Knowledge for Freedom Program. “The One and the Many at Boston University” builds on BU’s identity as the oldest and most centrally located urban residential university in Boston, the academic capital of the world, and on BU’s reinvigorated commitment to its surrounding neighborhoods and neighbors, particularly at a time when consciousness raising about racial injustice is at a height.

Our “One and the Many” Knowledge for Freedom Program develops two major institutional priorities: the goal of making its academic opportunities accessible to the broader community beyond BU, and the goal of furthering the public mission of humanities fields by creating strong student constituencies at the secondary school level. Throughout its history BU's cosmopolitan setting and tradition of embracing diversity (in its students, faculty, and administration, and through its many academic and extracurricular offerings) has helped its community to thrive while also promoting individual growth.
 
Partnering with “Summer Search Boston,” the local Jamaica Plain branch of a national organization that combines mentoring, leadership, and educational opportunities for high school students facing systemic oppression, we at the Center for Humanities are powerfully motivated by the fact that our program redresses a gap in BU’s extensive summer courses for high school students, none of which features the humanities.  
 
“The One and the Many at BU” offers a three-unit curriculum focused on the subject of “Social Justice and Change,” explored through a range of classic works beginning in ancient Greece, including speeches by leading public intellectuals of the 19th century U.S., and ending with some of the most influential documentary films of the 20th and 21st centuries. By devising a pedagogical model that is both traditional and innovative, we hope to invest our Teagle students with deep appreciation for the humanities disciplines, and strong writing and reading skills in preparation for their college matriculation, and an understanding of how revisiting great works from the past can serve to promote social justice in the present."
Columbia University

Columbia University

"Every summer, I see students waking up to a broader sense of themselves and of the world around them."
Columbia University

Freedom and Citizenship

Roosevelt Montás (Founder), Senior Lecturer in American Studies and English:
I helped start and continue to teach in the Freedom and Citizenship Program because I know first-hand how education can transform a life.  I identify strongly with the students who show up in my classroom every summer and love having the kinds of conversations with them that I would have found most illuminating and inspriing when I was a recent immigrant still struggling with English.  Every summer, I see students waking up to a broader sense of themselves and of the world around them.  But beyond these personal resonances, I teach in this program because I believe its mission is critical to the future of our democracy.  It is among the most significant things I can do as a citizen; it as a high-impact fertilizer to the soil of our democracy. 
Dickinson College

Dickinson College

"Few subjects can better illuminate the ongoing debates about freedom, democracy, and self-government than a complex understanding of global abolitionism."
Dickinson College

The House Divided Project


Matthew Pinkser, Director of House Divided Project & Professor of History

"The House Divided Project at Dickinson College exists to help K-12 classrooms learn more about the American Civil War and the destruction of chattel slavery. One thing we’ve discovered over the years is that the best way to study slavery is to examine the resistance to it. Students want to appreciate the myriad of ways that ordinary human beings fought against the systemic efforts to dehumanize them. They also need to recognize the connection between action and ideas. There was a centuries-long movement to overthrow the intellectual and political tyranny of slavery--a debate that played out not only in street protests and electoral politics, but also in art and literature and in various cultural ways that are still evolving. We plan to use these powerful stories as our gateway into the Knowledge for Freedom (KFF) program. Few subjects can better illuminate the ongoing debates about freedom, democracy, and self-government than a complex understanding of global abolitionism in all its competing strategies and achievements, and also, unfortunately, in the elements of its still-unfinished work."
Elon University

Elon University

"I relish the opportunity to guide more young people in developing their civic engagement interests, leadership skills, and service to their local communities."

Elon University

Elon Freedom Scholars


Prudence Layne, Associate Professor of English, Elon University

“The Teagle Foundation's Knowledge for Freedom grant initiative piqued my curiosity with its centering of the Classics as a framework for exploring principles like democracy, freedom, and citizenship. In addition to helping local high school participants prepare for college, I relish the opportunity to guide more young people in developing their civic engagement interests, leadership skills, and service to their local communities. The Elon Freedom Scholars will launch in Summer 2022 and will extend the scope of college access and success programs Elon University currently offers students in the k-13 public schools in our area. We are beyond excited to follow the journeys of our 15-member inaugural cohort of Freedom Scholars."

Fordham University

Fordham University

"... explore different arguments that philosophers and thinkers have offered for their 'visions' over the centuries—from ancient figures such as Socrates and Confucius to later figures such as Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and Martin Luther King, Jr."

Fordham University

Visions of the Good in the Bronx


Stephen R. Grimm, Professor of Philosophy, Fordham University

"We all are guided by visions of what we take to be more or less important in life.  Some of us think honor is the most important goal, some prioritize friendship and belonging, and some aim for something more intellectual, like knowledge or learning.

Fordham’s 'Visions of the Good in the Bronx' seminar will explore the different arguments that philosophers and other thinkers have offered for their 'visions' over the centuries—from ancient figures such as Socrates and Confucius to later figures such as Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and Martin Luther King, Jr. We look at what can be said for or against these different visions, how they are often in dialogue with one another, and what sort of visions of the good we find offered now in America (and in the Bronx in particular).

We are delighted to be hosting this seminar, to be walking with our neighbors in the Bronx, and to cultivating a new generation of engaged thinkers and citizens!"

George Fox University

George Fox University

"Believing in the transformative power of liberal arts education and the joy that is to be found in engaging in humanistic inquiry, we are launching the Liberation Scholars Program."
George Fox University

Liberation Scholars Program


Heather C. Ohaneson, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies

Believing in the transformative power of liberal arts education and the joy that is to be found in engaging in humanistic inquiry, we are launching the Liberation Scholars Program for Latina/o high school students from the neighboring town of Woodburn, OR. Using the tools and methods of philosophy, with an emphasis on Spanish heritage texts from Sor Juana’s Self-Justification to Sandra Cisneros’ House on Mango Street, we will ask fundamental questions such as: What does it mean to be free? In what senses are we in need of liberation and how can higher education enhance our freedom and the freedom of our communities?
 
The motivation to start a Knowledge for Freedom program at George Fox University may be traced to the incredibly inspiring annual reunion dinners of Columbia University’s Freedom and Citizenship program (for which I was once a graduate student advisor). Seeing alumni from that program gather together year after year—hearing their ever-growing educational accomplishments and professional successes, watching them advise each other on how to thrive in college, eating with young philosophers and poets—will convince anyone of the abiding civic value of liberal arts education, and the moral good of expanding the circle of those who are able to partake in it.
Miami University of Ohio

Miami University of Ohio

"As project director, this program combines so many of the things that matter to me: demonstrating the absolute necessity of the humanties as the training ground for citizenship..."
Miami University of Ohio

Student Citizens

Steven Conn, W.E. Smith Professor of History
“The College of Arts and Sciences, the Humanites Center, and the History Department at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio is spending this academic year preparing for our inaugural “Students/Citizens” project to be held in the Summer 2021. As project director, this program combines so many of the things that matter to me: demonstrating the absolute necessity of the humanities as a training ground for citizenship, leveraging the intellectual resources of the university to make a positive difference in underserved areas, and engaging students in changes in their own communities.”
 
 
New York University

New York University

"We are able to dip deeply into the sources and resources of the University, including the fine arts, monuments, film and music as alternative pedagogic pathways to create a world of enriched thinking."
New York University

NYU Wagner Knowledge for Freedom


David Elcott, Henry and Marilyn Taub Professor of Practice in Public Service and Leadership

​"At NYU Wagner we share a passionate commitment to civil society and public service.  Our focus on collaborative leadership and participatory democracy sets the tone of the work we do and bring to our Knowledge to Freedom program. We are deeply engaged in work with marginalized populations, with the underserved in New York, in America and around the world. At the same time, our SEAD project of research and program delivery (Social Justice, Equity and Democracy) places us squarely, in theory and practice, as champions of democratic values, institutions and civic engagement. Our pedagogic experience is that integrated learning is key – leadership is not disconnected from personal self-exploration, language and words must not be separated from the visual and aural, lectures must allow for personal expression through body and soul as well as intellect. Our syllabus includes all of this and we are energized to begin the process of translating theory into a structured curriculum. We are able to dip deeply into the sources and resources of the University, with a Great Books syllabus as well as the arts, including the fine arts, monuments, film and music as alternative pedagogic pathways to create a world of enriched thinking. Our access to and connection with the many cultural assets of NYC  provides additional expanding experiences for the students. Human beings learn in a variety of ways and our pedagogic model taps into the tactile and visual as well as the verbal and written to create a rich experience for our first cohort."
Newberry College

Newberry College

“From the beginning, I loved the core idea of helping students make connections between literature, history, philosophy, etc. to their own lives and our modern society.”
Newberry College

Bridge to Big Ideas @ Newberry College

Naomi Simmons, Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
At Newberry College, I teach many courses focused on civic engagement. Civic engagement as we define it is meant to emphasize an exploration of self and responsibility through the service to others. My work in this area led to a discussion with Dr. Joseph McDonald who is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Newberry. He had heard about Dr. Montas' work on the Freedom & Citizenship program and thought that might be a great fit for what I was trying to foster at Newberry. We workshopped some ideas for how to create a program that would serve our small rural community with very limited resources, but with the potential for growth and an eye on making it fully residential and a really prestigious offering. From the beginning, I loved the core idea of helping students make connections between literature, history, philosophy, etc. to their own lives and our modern society. Some of my most rewarding moments in the classroom have always been centered on "aha" moments students have when they can make these connections and I thought, what better way to convince students who might otherwise think they weren't college material that they could do it than to have two weeks full of "aha" moments along with support, care, and the nurturing of their promise! 
 
There have been so many amazing moments in our program that it's hard to pick one! This summer we read a short children's story called The Bear That Wasn't by Frank Tashlin. The story is centered on a bear who goes to sleep one day and wakes up in a city where no one believes that he is a bear. It goes so far that at one point the bear himself questions whether he is indeed a bear. Our students felt so connected to this conversation they came back to it again and again. They shared heartbreaking stories of lacking confidence in who they were, being told they weren't good enough even though they believed they were, and discussed so openly and honestly the real struggle they faced to have people in their lives and in their communities "get them" and appreciate them for who they were. Later in the program, we read Antigone as a group with each of us taking different roles each day. These students couldn't stop making connections to The Bear That Wasn't. They constantly stopped the reading to interject how they admired Antigone's assuredness in herself, they fought over who would play King Creon because they wanted a chance to portray him as though he were the managers in the story telling the bear he wasn't a bear when he knew he was a bear! At one point a student exclaimed that he couldn't believe how well he understood what was happening in the play and how current it felt for our times. The whole experience filled my heart. These kids who were so intimidated by a 5th-century work of literature were sitting online for hours discussing its themes, making connections, and just so full of joy at having real ownership of their learning and knowledge. It really encapsulated what this program is and what learning, in general, should be focused on. 
 
Portland State University

Portland State University

"Inquiry for Justice explores how justice is formulated in our lives, how it impacts us, and how we can have agency in determining what it is."

Portland State University

Inquiry for Justice


Dr. Sarah Dougher and Dr. Sonja Taylor, University Studies (General Education) Program

"Portland State University’s motto, 'Let Knowledge Serve the City' is the heart of our Knowledge for Freedom program, called Inquiry for Justice.This onramp to our dual credit program, Senior Inquiry, is designed to build confidence and familiarity with new concepts and skills. Open to rising seniors in two partner schools who have forecasted for the Senior Inquiry class, we prioritize first generation students and students from populations historically excluded from higher education. Inquiry for Justice explores how justice is formulated in our lives, how it impacts us, and how we can have agency in determining what it is. The course explores these ideas through the lens of two 20th-century case studies that have deeply impacted our community: the incarceration of Japanese-Americans in 1942 and subsequent redress, and issues related to the destruction of Vanport (war-time worker/segregated housing) with ongoing repercussions to the shape and nature of our city. Both case studies involve students in close reading of central texts, as well as hands-on inquiry at local archives, sites and museums. Our interdisciplinary approach introduces reading strategies, seminar-based discussion and collective meaning-making through problem posing and dialogue. The course includes frequent, linked writing assignments as well as collaborative, project-based learning to investigate the central questions about the role of justice in civic responsibility and the agency of the individual within a collective."

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University

"Stony Brook University is located on Long Island, New York, an area with some of the most segregated suburbs in the United States. Today, Stony Brook University is uniquely positioned to address these racial and educational inequities in the region."
Stony Brook University

Academy of Civic Life


Dr. Amy Cook, Professor in the English Department, Associate Dean for Research and Innovation in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Co-Program Director of the Academy of Civic Life
 
“Stony Brook University is located on Long Island, New York, an area with some of the most segregated suburbs in the United States. The historic racialized policies that led to modern housing segregation have also resulted in unequal access to higher education. Today, Stony Brook University is uniquely positioned to address these racial and educational inequities in the region. We are therefore establishing the Academy of Civic Life, a program developed under the Teagle Foundation’s Knowledge for Freedom initiative.

The Academy will support students from local underserved school districts and will work to strengthen ties between the University and local communities. Students will learn how specific examples of activism in the United States are rooted in transformational democratic texts and traditions. They will reflect on the relevance of these topics to their own personal experiences while examining how education can increase their agency. Throughout the program, Academy students will continually revisit a guiding question: “How can I enact change in my community?” Ultimately, the Academy and its students will work together to support a diverse and civically-engaged local community with equitable access to higher education."
 
University of Dallas

University of Dallas

"We look forward to facilitating the intellectual and personal development of historically underserved members of our community."

University of Dallas

College Citizens


José G. Espericueta, Associate Professor of Spanish

"'College Citizens' addresses the central questions that are at the heart of our goals as educators in a liberal arts tradition: What is our responsibility to others? How can we pursue a moral and ethical life? Informed by our university's foundation in the liberal arts and the Catholic intellectual tradition, our program guides students through consequential thinkers that range from Plato, Aristotle, and Sophocles to Bartolomé de las Casas, Martin Luther King, and Albert Einstein. Students are invited to consider the diverse experiences and challenges faced by those in their own community in light of the valuable questions posed by a liberal arts curriculum. Located in the thriving and diverse metropolis of Dallas-Fort Worth, we look forward to facilitating the intellectual and personal development of historically underserved members of our community, while providing a deep appreciation of the liberal arts and their inestimable value in a rapidly changing world."

University of Rochester

University of Rochester

"The decision to call the summer program for high school students at the University of Rochester 'Experiencing Civic Life' signals a central reason why I am committed to our Teagle Foundation-funded project."
University of Rochester

Experiencing Civic Life

Joan Rubin, Professor in History:
The decision to call the summer program for high school students at the University of Rochester 'Experiencing Civic Life' signals a central reason why I am committed to our Teagle Foundation-funded project. Classic texts in the humanities raise vital questions about authority, freedom, citizenship, and social responsibility:  issues that have become especially pressing in the era of COVID-19.  The critical thinking that reading together promotes is essential for informed decision-making in a democracy.  I have also had an unusual career for an American academic because for more than forty years, at two different institutions, I have taught in the place where I grew up:  Rochester. This circumstance has meant that I have deep knowledge about the local area and an equally deep conviction that the university must overcome its traditional isolation from its surrounding community—and particularly from high school students.  Our program enables me to act on that belief in an especially rewarding way.
 
At the same time, my hopes for ‘Experiencing Civic Life’ rest on the individual benefits the program promises as well as the communal ones.  In this respect, I am guided by a quotation that I discovered in the course of my research as an American cultural historian—one that I find that I rely on whenever I am asked why a university needs a Humanities Center, and why our Center is the home base for “Experiencing Civic Life.”  In 1925, a nineteen-year-old woman wrote a fan letter to the American novelist Edna Ferber explaining why she had dropped out of college.  Instead of delving deeply into the subject, she reported, her history instructor had merely skimmed the surface, telling students that he wanted them to be able to “look intelligent” in conversation.  “Oh, Edna Ferber,” the letter-writer exclaimed, “I didn’t want my outsides polished.  I wanted things done to the inside of me.”
 
The personally transformative potential of ‘Experiencing Civic Life—not only giving high school students the confidence that they can do college work, but also changing their ‘insides’ as they connect with other human beings past and present—is its most exciting feature.  It’s made my ‘insides’ different, too.
 
Ursinus College

Ursinus College

"The great value of liberal education should make those of us who teach at liberal arts colleges grateful to America, the political community that gives it a home."
Ursinus College

Freedom, Citizenship, and Equality

Paul Stern, Professor of Politics
The great value of liberal education should make those of us who teach at liberal arts colleges grateful to America, the political community that gives it a home. To show this gratitude, we’ve long wanted to contribute, in a manner consistent with our mission, to America’s well-being.  The claim made in the Declaration of Independence that its principles express philosophical truths about humanity and the whole makes it possible to achieve this goal.  For this claim implies that American citizenship is perfectly compatible with reasoned reflection on these truths; to introduce students to this sort of reflection is the contribution we’re properly ready and best able to make.  Moreover, the widespread concern for the ever-diminishing reasonableness of our political discourse made last summer seem a particularly appropriate time to establish the Freedom, Citizenship, and Equality Seminar.  One reason for our degraded discourse is the paucity of opportunities for young people to learn to think and speak knowledgeably about American principles and their practical implications.  It’s all the more crucial, then, that we who can provide such opportunities respond to this need.
 
There were numerous highlights in our first year, but the one I’ll single out occurred on the program’s last day when students staged a re-trial of Socrates.  They served as prosecutors, defenders, and judges, developing on their own the most compelling arguments for Socrates’ guilt or innocence.  We were very impressed not only by the cogency and depth of the students’ arguments but by the energy and enthusiasm they brought to the task.  They left no doubt that the validity of the verdict mattered deeply to each of them.  It was also clear that the students thought that, through reason, they could know better which case, that of Socrates or Athens, comes closer to the truth.  This confidence in reason seems particularly important for citizens of a deliberative democracy.  To instill such confidence is one of our program’s main goals.
Valdosta State University

Valdosta State University

"This initiative will help us instill in our Teagle Fellows the feeling that they belong in college and, more importantly, will succeed in college."
Valdosta State University

College Readiness through Civic Engagement


Neena Banerjee, Associate Professor, Political Science and Public Administration

"At Valdosta State University, our decision to start a Knowledge for Freedom initiative organically emerged out of our collective desire to serve the Southern Georgia region, a vast rural region that is yet to catch up with the rest of Georgia and the country socioeconomically and civically. We were initially hesitant about our grant prospects having seen the impressive list of grantees supported by the Teagle Foundation. We decided to channel our hesitation into motivation and action because we felt the many challenges that youths in this region encounter on their path to a college education must be addressed in a decisive and sustained manner. The flexibility afforded to us by the Teagle Foundation to keep civic engagement and college support as a central element of our program along with emphasis on motivating students' interest in reading classic books were immensely helpful in developing our program. As we bring the first batch of high school students on campus in Summer 2022, we hope that this initiative will help us instill in our Teagle Fellows the feeling that they belong in college and, more importantly, will succeed in college."
Villanova University

Villanova University

“We will invite our Civitas through Caritas students to consider what love is, what people have said they loved, what they have actually loved, and what they ought to love—and, most importantly, to ask the same questions of themselves.”
Villanova University

Civitas through Caritas: Cultivating Love, Cultivating Citizens

Marylu Hill, Teaching Professor & Director of The Augustine and Culture Seminar Program and Graduate Liberal Studies
When I heard a presentation in 2018 by Andrew Delbanco about Columbia’s summer program “Freedom and Citizenship”, I knew immediately that Villanova University, and specifically our first-year experience program, could bring something unique and important to the Teagle Foundation’s “Knowledge for Freedom” initiative. Thanks to the funding from the Teagle Foundation, we will start our program entitled “Civitas through Caritas: Cultivating Love, Cultivating Citizens” in the summer of 2021. The title of our program, with its terms of “civitas” or civil society, and “caritas” or love, draws on the thought and example of St. Augustine of Hippo, the 4th century North African theologian and bishop, and patron saint of the Augustinian order of friars who founded Villanova in 1842. Augustine remains surprisingly timely for modern American culture, not least because he advances the idea that love, or caritas, to use Augustine’s word, makes all the difference in how we might engage in civic discourse, especially in turbulent political times. Caritas offers a model for how we engage in conversation, and how we navigate disagreements across a wide range of differences.
 
We will invite our Civitas through Caritas students—who will come from the greater Philadelphia area—to consider what love is, what people have said they loved, what they have actually loved, and what they ought to love—and, most importantly, to ask the same questions of themselves. By providing these students from varying backgrounds and perspectives the skills to grow together, the goal is to develop reflective and responsible citizens who are committed to the common good, community formation, and responsibility towards others. Furthermore, because responsible citizenship is bound up with how we engage with each other, both in discussion and through the written word, we will draw on Augustine’s practical and pastoral advice in the field of rhetoric to explore how writing in the spirit of love can transform the fraught modern landscape of political discord fomented via social media.
 
The story of Villanova University itself will also be highlighted as an object lesson for civitas. It was founded in 1842 to educate the sons of Irish immigrants in a time of virulent anti-immigrant fervor, as demonstrated in the destruction of Olde Saint Augustine’s Church in Philadelphia (which led to the removal of the college to the countryside outside of Philadelphia). This history is a powerful reminder of the violence which accompanies the breakdown of civic discourse, and the ongoing challenge of seeking the common good in dialogue across differences.
 
Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis

“I wanted to start a Knowledge for Freedom program because I believe, as Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois reminds us, that education must not simply teach work; but it must also teach life.”
Washington University in St. Louis

Citizenship and Freedom: From Plato to Maya

Lerone A. Martin, Director of American Culture Studies & Associate Professor of Religion and Politics, John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics
I wanted to start a Knowledge for Freedom program because I believe, as Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois reminds us, that education must not simply teach work; but it must also teach life. Citizenship and Freedom: From Plato to Maya will build upon the well-established programmatic infrastructure of Washington University’s STEM-oriented College Prep Program to introduce promising, underserved high school students to college-level work in the humanities for which they will receive college credit, as well as assist them in improving their writing and verbal skills, and equip them with the historical knowledge and critical tools necessary to participate fully in American public life as active citizens. Students will then apply this knowledge to a civic engagement project during the school year. Thanks to the Teagle Foundation we are on our way to introducing students to college-level work in the liberal arts as a pathway to success not only in college admissions, but ultimately to a life of engaged citizenship.
 
Yale University

Yale University

"Working with aspiring first-generation college students in New Haven has transformed my understanding of the potential in seminar discussions."
Yale University

Citizens Thinkers Writers

Bryan Garsten, Professor of Political Science and Humanities
Starting the Citizens Thinkers Writers program has been one of the highlights of my professional life. I had been working hard on helping to create Yale-NUS College in Singapore, an exciting initiative, but as my role in that project ended, I found myself wanting to focus much closer to home. I grew up in the New Haven area, and saw how scientists at Yale were encouraged to engage with the local community through the requirements of their NSF grants. Why didn't more humanists do the same? Inspired by Columbia's Freedom and Citizenship program, and lucky to find two fantastic partners on campus, I pitched the idea, found some resources, and we dove in. Working with aspiring first-generation college students in New Haven has transformed my understanding of the potential in seminar discussions. Such a simple activity -- reading fundamental texts and talking about them around a table -- brings shy, thoughtful students out of their shells. Many of our students come in thinking of their thoughtfulness mainly as a social liability. Our program teaches them to be proud of their reflective nature, and to take the risk of sharing their thoughts in conversation and in writing. And I have learned a lot from our conversations. I have grown more attuned to the presumptions of meritocracy and I have developed a better understanding of the intrinsic value of the humanities. I also feel my life has been enriched by the relationships we have formed with teachers, principals, police officers, artists, poets, local politicians, NGO leaders, and others in the community who have happily collaborated with us on programming for our students. I am more convinced than ever that universities have an obligation to develop substantive relationships with their home communities and to help create spaces for reflection and discussion, and that doing so will bring benefits to both the community and the university.
 
Ashbrook Center

Ashbrook Center

"Students who participate in the Humanities Citizenship Initiative at the Ashbrook Center will learn that the opportunities of higher education belong to them."
Ashbrook Center

Humanities Citizenship Initiative


D. Ben DeSmidt, Associate Professor Emeritus of Classics and Great Ideas

"The first step into the world of higher education is often the most difficult to take, because of the fear of the unknown or imagined difficulties. Coming to an understanding of the system of the classroom bit by bit in a comfortable and rigorous setting clarifies and makes the university and college experience much more accessible. Through the generous support of the Teagle Foundation’s Knowledge for Freedom initiative, students who participate in the Humanities Citizenship Initiative at Ashland University’s Ashbrook Center will learn that the opportunities of higher education belong to them."
 
10.28.2022 | WEBINAR

How I Teach This Text: Lincoln's First Inaugural (1861)

Matthew Pinsker, Professor of History at Dickinson College, on how he teaches Lincoln's First Inaugural in the KFF classroom.

How I Teach This Text: Lincoln's First Inaugural (1861) >
10.18.2022 | TEAGLE IN THE NEWS

New Haven's Henry Seyue Reads Hughes' 'I, Too' At Jefferson Lecture

Henry Seyue, a Knowledge for Freedom alumnus, read a Langston Hughes’ poem at the Jefferson Lecture. 
New Haven's Henry Seyue Reads Hughes' 'I, Too' At Jefferson Lecture >
10.18.2022 | TEAGLE IN THE NEWS

New Haven man, 23, to read poem at national lecture series in D.C.

Henry Seyue, a Knowledge for Freedom program alumnus, was chosen to read a poem at the Jefferson Lecture.
New Haven man, 23, to read poem at national lecture series in D.C. >
08.09.2022 | TEAGLE IN THE NEWS

Freedom and Citizenship: High Schoolers in Upper Manhattan Elevate Their Voices for Change

Four students share their experiences at Columbia University’s Freedom and Citizenship program in summer 2022.
Freedom and Citizenship: High Schoolers in Upper Manhattan Elevate Their Voices for Change >
07.28.2022 | TEAGLE IN THE NEWS

Bronx Students Have New ‘Visions of the Good’ After Fordham Summer Program

At a Knowledge for Freedom summer program, students from Bronx high schools learned about philosophy and college life.
Bronx Students Have New ‘Visions of the Good’ After Fordham Summer Program >

Teagle Humanities Fellows

PROJECT PROFILE

Teagle Humanities Fellows

The Teagle Humanities Fellowship gave 20 first generation college-bound students an opportunity to spend the summer reading, writing, and thinking deeply about our current historical moment.
Teagle Humanities Fellows >