Allegheny Receives Grant for Bicentennial-related Project: Funding Will Support Cross-disciplinary Collaboration

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Sept. 13, 2013 — Allegheny College was recently awarded a grant from the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation in support of a two-year project linked to the college’s bicentennial in 2015.

The funding will support a cross-disciplinary collaboration among students, faculty and student affairs professionals. At the center of the programming will be the Allegheny Group Studies, credit-bearing interdisciplinary courses that explore the ideas addressed in thematic programming that is linked to the 50th anniversaries of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 during 2013-2014 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 during 2014-2015.

Facilitated by faculty members and student affairs staff, the 12 study groups will attend the year’s events together. In addition to discussing the programs they attend, students will explore related civic learning, internship, study abroad and career opportunities and produce a record of their collective work through a blog on the college’s website. More than 120 students are participating in the study groups, which are led by faculty and staff representing nine departments and programs.

“In designing the program, we recognized that student learning is very often quite independent of faculty teaching,” said Associate Professor of Political Science Brian M. Harward, who with Professor of English Ben Slote serves as co-chair for the college’s annual programming for the next two years. “By engaging in these broad, campus-wide conversations on civil rights, disenfranchisement and inequality, we hope to deepen and sustain students’ civic knowledge, judgment and engagement.”

This year’s events series will culminate in a national conference, “Democracy Realized? The Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement,” to be held March 28 and 29, 2014. Five internationally recognized civil rights scholars—James Lawson, Lucius Outlaw, Ellen Armour, Matthew Fletcher and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson—will present their work and lead discussions of undergraduate research on civil rights.

In describing the project funded by the grant, Julie J. Kidd, president of the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, said, “Allegheny’s plans to bring together students with faculty and student life staff so that they may begin to understand the implications of the important foci of the college in the next few years, such as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, are nothing short of inspired. This project manages to combine vision with an organizational rigor that integrates a student’s life of the mind with concrete plans for mindful living. The topics could not be more timely.”

Founded in 1952, the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation is a family foundation dedicated to the life of the mind and spirit. It focuses its attention primarily on the field of education, in particular liberal arts education, which can help individuals realize their highest aspirations and fullest human potential.

More information about the events planned at Allegheny for 2013-2014 can be found at www.allegheny.edu/200.