Professors Win Grant to Support Civic Education
Professors Condon and Blajer de la Garza, alongside Professor Schmidt from the School of Education, were recently awarded a $300,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation. The Teagle Foundation is committed to civic education and to the liberal arts. The grant will fund "Speak Up Democracy," a two-week academically rigorous, engaging, college-level residential summer seminar in the liberal arts for three years. Each year, the program will welcome 30 rising Chicago Public Schools (CPS) seniors from non-traditional backgrounds. The summer program will draw from classic texts in political and philosophical thought engaging with perennial questions of political life--what Teagle considers transformative texts–and combine them with more contemporary applications of those problems. The texts will be the basis for a close-reading discussion, both during faculty-led plenary sessions and in small seminar settings with Loyola students. Readings have been selected to introduce students to challenging questions that are essential to a liberal arts education and to foster their investment in meaningful and informed democratic participation.
The summer seminar will be followed by an academic-year program that will provide a range of experiences guiding students through the search, application, admission, and transition-to-college process, providing resources that are often not known or accessible to first-generation students. The academic-year program will build upon the summer discussions and introduce students to civic action strategies, enabling them to craft a policy proposal to present to an elected official in the spring.