Loyola University Chicago

Department of Political Science


Professors Win Grant to Support Civic Education

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.