Contents (Full Online Version HERE)
Message from the Chairman
The Price of Success: An Appeal to Donors to Help us Save the Founding Ideals for Future Generations
By Jack Miller
Everyone knows there is a price for failure–the loss of money, time and energy; a bruised ego and most importantly the failure to achieve your goal.
People normally don’t think about the price of success. First, of course, we must define success. Personally, I don’t believe that success is reaching some goal. Success is in advancing along the pathway. Goals are just the markers along the way and as soon as you successfully arrive at a particular marker and experience the brief pleasure of getting there, you immediately see more markers in the distance. In my experience, that’s the way life is and that’s what is happening at the Jack Miller Center.
Consider the markers we have passed so far:
• A network of 550 professors teaching on more than 180 campuses;
• Support for 52 academic centers that offer expanded opportunities for students to learn about our nation’s constitutional traditions;
• 331 young scholars have participated in 16 faculty development summer institutes we have conducted since 2005;
• 95 postdoctoral fellowships since 2008;
• A new top-flight, peer-reviewed journal, American Political Thought.
We certainly have come a long way from our first confer¬ence with college professors eight years ago when the mood was grim. My desire to restore education in the Founding Principles and American history was met with comments like, “It can’t be done….there will be too much opposition on campus,” etc.
We, along with our faculty and donor partners, have proven that students are willing to take advantage of new opportunities to deepen their knowledge and appreciation for America’s constitutional heritage.
The price of our success comes in the need for more donor partners to join us in our mission to reinvigorate education in America’s Founding Principles and history. We see more markers, more exciting opportunities for success down the road.
There are still more than two thousand universities and colleges we haven’t reached, plus more than a thousand community colleges and untold numbers of high school civics teachers who could be reaching millions of students.
Let me talk about just a few of them and explain the costs involved. But first, I want to emphasize that we will not cut back on the many good things we are currently doing, such as our partner programs on campuses and our postdoctoral fellowship initiative.
Our existing network of partner programs need sub¬stantially increased support if they are to realize their potential on campuses such as Yale, MIT, the University of Virginia, Notre Dame, and the University of Texas. Our postdoctoral initiative is changing careers and creat¬ing jobs for dedicated young professors who will teach America’s Founding Principles to millions of students over the coming decades, and it, too, needs to be sus¬tained! What’s the price if we are to realize even a fraction of the potential of these growing efforts to advance this essential education? We are adding another staff member, but we need an Academic Initiative Fund that will allow us to support each of these programs over the coming five years as they establish themselves and are able to stand on their own.
We are now developing the “JMC Online Resource Center,” which will include a full semester series of videos on the most important concepts in our Declaration of Inde¬pendence and our Constitution. Each video will come complete with an online anthology of the works that our founders read and wrote on that particular topic.
This resource center is going to be a powerful tool that will allow us to reach thousands of universities, colleges and high schools across the country. Professors and high school teachers could use this resource center in any way they see fit, including showing the videos in class, assigning readings from the anthology included, or just learning more about the subject themselves. The first video, which will be available in December, is on “Liberty” and what our founders meant by it in the Declaration of Independence.
What’s the price of this new marker? This first effort is being done by our current staff working “overtime,” and, fortunately, several of our faculty partners are donating their precious time to advise and to lecture in the series. To produce the entire series and market it successfully we need to add one or two more individuals to our staff. Then, of course, there’s the cost of producing the videos, about $30,000 each. We will need several million dollars to do this as well as we want.
For the past three years we have supported initiatives to help high school teachers in partnership with Roosevelt University in Chicago and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
We have gotten rave reviews. The following comment reflects the feedback we have received from many of the participants, “I have been to dozens of teacher programs, and this is the first time I have learned ‘content’ on the subject I am teaching, not just more teaching techniques.”
These programs at Roosevelt and Wisconsin are just the beginning of what we can do to help at the high school level. With additional donor support, we can do so much more to enhance the teaching of our founding principles and history to high school students across the country.
But as you know from your own business experience it’s going to take a focused effort from a very capable person (plus enough support to allow us to expand the teacher program to other campuses) to successfully grow this program. That’s probably another one and half to two million in salaries and expenses over the next five years.
In 2011, we launched our Constitution Day Initiative to help colleges engage in meaningful Constitution Day (September 17) programs for students. With our help, 27 colleges held programs in 2011; in 2012, our faculty part¬ners on 42 campuses held lectures, workshops, debates, etc. involving experts on the Constitution.
Twenty-seven schools the first year, 42 the second year—that’s a good start; however, it’s far, far, far too few. We recently mailed to some 600 college presidents, provosts and department chairpersons an information booklet on our Constitution Day Initiative and will follow-up with more information early next year. This outreach effort combined with our on-line resource center means that we will have the potential to eventually help thousands of schools at all levels. But, again, it’s going to take someone to make it happen, someone to reach out to all those schools. More money.
I recently signed a pledge to continue to support our center for the next five years, which will add to my “investment” of about $20 million over the past 8 years. My money will continue to cover current operating costs. I am very grateful for the many generous donors who have also have contributed money to support programs on campuses across the country.
I know it’s difficult for a donor to make an unrestricted gift; however, I have outlined three fantastic opportunities to get Americans, particularly young Americans, back to understanding the principles on which our great country was founded.
Many of us complain about how these principles are not being taught in our schools, about how little our young people know about what this country is really about. Well, we have successfully been doing something about that. Now is the time to put what we have learned into overdrive and to do so much more. It is time to do more than just complain.
I am asking you to help support our effort to make this happen. A thousand dollars, ten thousand, one hundred thousand, or more. Whatever your ability, whatever your passion, this is a project worthy of your support. I promise you, as one donor to another, none of your money will be wasted and donor’s intent will be followed to the letter.
Higher Education Summit Addresses Needs, Solutions (Full Online Version HERE)
The summit brings together distinguished scholars, public intellectuals, journalists, and foundation leaders to discuss the challenges of improving education in American history and political thought on our nation’s college campuses.
Featured speakers were Mr. Frank Brogan, chancellor of the State University System of Florida, and Professor Andrew Delbanco of Columbia University. Chancellor Brogan addressed his remarks to the importance of civic education for our colleges and universities.
Professor Delbanco, the Mendelson Family Chair of American Studies at Columbia, spoke about his recently published book, College, What it Was, Is, and Should be. Professor Delbanco makes the case that the ideal of a democratic education — an experience that challenges students to develop as individuals and gain a sense of ethical responsibility — is in danger of becoming a thing of the past. See page 8 for a transcript of Professor Delbanco’s remarks.
Panel discussions were led by the JMC’s academic staff — Dr. Michael Andrews, Dr. Rafe Major, and Dr. Pamela Edwards. The staff focused on efforts led by regional networks of faculty and donors to improve education and strengthen the core curriculum and the role of foundation philanthropy.
During the summit Professor Bill McClay of the University of Tennessee- Chatanooga awarded Professor Delbanco with the annual Jack Miller Award for Academic Excellence.
Jack Miller Receives Citizen of the Year Award (Full Online Version HERE)
JMC Chairman Jack Miller received the Joseph H. Kanter Citizen of the Year Award at the annual meeting of the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), held on September 14th in Philadelphia.
The award recognizes a private citizen who has made exemplary contributions in championing civic participation in the United States. Previous recipients include Jean and Steve Case of the Case Foundation; Time magazine’s Managing Editor, Rick Stengel; former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford; and 9-11 Commission Co-chair and former Congressman Lee Hamilton.
“The Kanter Citizen of the Year Award is given to those truly outstanding citizens who do the most to advance good citizenship,” says Rear Admiral Mike Ratliff (USN ret.), president of the Jack Miller Center. “Jack Miller’s philanthropy and his tireless efforts to help colleges and universities provide the education their students need to understand and value our free institutions merit this award. I hope it will encourage others to follow his example.”
Mr. David Eisner, president of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, told Mr. Miller and the other distinguished attendees “you are changing the world,” through your commitment to “illuminating constitutional ideas” and building an engaged citizenry. Mr. Bob Nardelli, former CEO of Home Depot; Christina Lurie, co-owner of the Philadelphia Eagles; and Norman Mineta, former Secretary of Commerce (Clinton administration) and Transportation (George W. Bush administration) joined Mr. Miller at the conference.
Mr. Miller thanked the hundreds of educators, policy makers, and community builders present at the conference for the award. He accepted the Citizen of the Year Award “on behalf of the Jack Miler Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History” and its work to advance this essential education on American college and university campuses.
Later both Mr. Nardelli and Secretary Mineta remarked on Jack’s characterization of how young our nation is because it is “really only three times a lifetime such as mine.”
The National Conference on Citizenship is a public-private partnership that grew from an idea discussed by President Truman and former general of the Army Dwight Eisenhower. The conference was later mandated by Congress in 1953.
To watch Mr. Miller’s acceptance speech, and to learn more about the National Council on Citizenship, please visit www.ncoc.net.
Return to Top
Constitution Day Initiative Gains Momentum with Compelling Topics and Dignitaries (Full Online Version HERE)
The character of The Federalist Papers, the health care mandate, and the proper role of the Judiciary were among the topics covered on the 41 college campuses partici¬pating in the JMC Constitution Day Initiative (CDI) in September.
Programs featured dignitaries, including retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and U.S. Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben, as well as preeminent scholars such as Professor Jack Greene, Johns Hopkins University; Professor Pauline Maier, MIT; and Professor James Ceaser, University of Virginia.
Reports on Constitution Day 2012 from partner programs docu¬mented a concerted effort to link CDI events to ongoing courses. This trend supports restoration of the study of constitutionalism in the curriculum as it rekindles student interest in the critical study of their political heritage. Attendance was high at the campus-wide events: 400 people, for example, attended a lecture by Professor James Ceaser at Louisiana Tech University.
“Without exaggeration, the event was a remarkable success. The turnout for the talk was an unexpected though welcome surprise. Many students showed up of their own accord, and many others were brought by faculty who were themselves interested in the talk. We have done Constitution Day talks before, but none produced even half the turnout,” said Louisiana Tech Professor Jeremy Mhire.
The JMC initiative was launched in 2011 to help enrich understanding of the constitutional architecture of our political system that is crucial to genuine deliberation about matters of power and policy on college campuses. The JMC initiative assists schools in meeting a federal law that requires all schools receiving federal funds to hold an educational program on the United States Constitution in connection with Constitution Day (September 17) for their students.
The Constitution Day Initiative is made possible through the generosity of the Andrea Wait Carlton Foundation and other donor partners. Dr. Daniel Cullen, senior fellow for constitutional studies, leads the JMC Constitution Day effort.