Contents (Full Online Version HERE)
Message from the Chairman
A Problem and a Solution in Higher Education
By Jack Miller
The business model for higher education is cracking. Constantly rising tuition costs— regardless of the cause—and constantly rising student debt can’t continue.
Meanwhile, the demand for a college education is stronger than ever. Compounding the problem is the sharp reduction in financial support from federal and state governments. Clearly, universities and colleges are faced with a serious problem of how to meet the demand and yet cut costs.
As we looked at the situation, we began to feel that the new technology available today held the solution to the problem, or at least a good part of the solution. So for the past several months we have been surveying the field to see what is being done.
It turns out that a lot is being done to begin addressing the problem with the use of technology.
Massive Open Online Courses
We found that many colleges and universities are starting to offer MOOC, Massive Open Online Courses, in various subjects. Harvard and MIT announced a new $60 million project in May called “edX”, which will offer both universities a plat- form to offer courses online. The Kahn Academy is wildly popular with over 3,200 online videos on everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history. Clearly, these institutes are well on their way to achieving their mission “… to help you learn what you want, when you want, at your own pace.” Just go on the internet and Google “online learning” and you will be amazed at what you find.
The JMC Resource Center
So, we have decided that The Jack Miller Center should investigate the development of what we are calling, “The JMC Resource Center.” With a network of over five hundred professors, including renowned scholars in U.S. history and political thought, we are well positioned to develop the very finest program in our field of America’s Founding Principles and history.
The pilot phase of the project will begin this fall when we make avail- able on the Web a video featuring interviews with leading scholars on the Declaration and its vision of a free society. If the feedback from professors in our network is positive, and if we have the funding, we will move ahead to develop the full program, which will eventually include twenty videos— a semester’s worth— based on the ideals in our Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal”, that they are entitled to their individual rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, and that these rights are best served by the form of government and the principles of governance found in our Constitution.
Our founders didn’t just make all of these ideas up. They were inspired by ideas and writings that came before them. Madison, who is considered the father of the Constitution, had thousands of books, which he had read, in his library and was fluent in seven languages.
Center to include Founders’ Works
So exactly what was it that our founders read that led them to the ideas in the Declaration and the Constitution? We want to include those readings in our Resource Center. We also want to include what our founders wrote so every- one can know what their thoughts were, what they meant to achieve. In addition to that, our vision is to make available online a full suite of supplementary resources—primary and secondary sources, books, articles and presentations by JMC fellows, syllabi, podcasts, Constitution Day events—focused on enriching education in America’s Founding Principles and history.
Just imagine the power of such a resource center. Professors could use it to easily find more information on particular topics and assign readings that students could get online (eliminating the cost of text books). They could even listen to lectures on their ipods while jogging. Teaching assistants could use it to provide lectures and comments by the nation’s leading scholars in American history and political thought, as well as assign readings and brush up on the facts themselves. Community college and high school teachers will find this a great aid. All of this would be available to the general public. What a powerful engine of learning this will be!
Making the Investment
This is, without a doubt, a massive project, and will require a big in- vestment of both time and money. Our network of professors will provide their time and expertise. We will need to raise the money to hire the staff and technical expertise to produce an absolutely first class product that can be used in class- rooms and for a wider audience, while we continue to expand our on-campus presence. While it will
be targeted to the undergraduate university level, the center could become a valuable asset for high school history and civics teachers, and become a widely used life- long learning resource for a vast audience.
This is an exciting opportunity, one more, very powerful, way to expand our reach and enrich what students are learning about our nation’s Founding Principles and history. Please join us in making this happen. Your donation can help to make it happen faster. If you are interested in supporting this project, call our Vice President for Development and Communications, Mike Deshaies, at (484) 436-2067.
Yes, the higher education business model is cracking, but a solution to not only repair it, but to improve it, is available. In our area of expertise, we can and will be part of that solution.
Huntington Library and JMC Announce New Research Fellowships (Full Online Version HERE)
The first initiative is a $100,000 two- year research project entitled Sacred and Secular Revolutions: The Political and Spiritual Legacies of the Atlantic Enlightenment in the American Founding. Funded by a grant from the Historical Society’s “Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs Initiative,” the project focuses on relationships between new science and new religion in the Atlantic Enlightenment.
Six fellowships from the Dibner Collection in the History of Science and Technology match the JMC project, for a total of 12 one- month research fellowships tenable at the Huntington Library. Addition- ally, a fellows’ workshop in February 2013 and a major international conference for the presentation and dissemination of papers in March of 2014 are part of the initiative.
The Dibner research fellowships will address the political and theological implications of scientific innovation, and the JMC initiative fellowships will focus on the legacies of the new science and its implications for the foundation and development of the early American Republic.
In addition to this special project, the JMC has also established an annual JMC-Huntington research fellowship, which will be open to proposals. This program will run for an initial five-year cycle of support and is intended to advance the second book project of scholars working in fields related to the JMC’s central mission and making use of the special collections of the Huntington.
Huntington’s collection of rare books and manuscripts in the fields of British and American history and literature is nothing short of extraordinary. For qualified scholars, Huntington is one of the largest and most complete research libraries in the United States in its fields of specialization.
“This partnership provides a remarkable opportunity to revivify the study of American history and political thought at one of the finest research libraries in the world,” said Dr. Pamela Edwards, JMC’s director of academic initiatives. “Through world class research partnerships and the opportunities that come through working with an international community of scholars, the Jack Miller Center will powerfully advance, at the deepest sense, its central mission: the teaching and study of America’s founding principles and history.”
Online Resource Center to Expand Access to Teaching on America’s Founding Documents (Full Online Version HERE)
The Jack Miller Center (JMC) is producing a pilot video series on the historical uniqueness of the Declaration of Independence for the JMC’s new Online Resource Center.
The Online Resource Center represents a new JMC effort to advance teaching in America’s Founding Principles and history, and meet the 21st century needs and demands for new teaching resources and methods. The project is expected to be available for the 2013-2014 academic year.
The pilot videos will be the first in a series of digital media products on the Declaration of Independence and how it laid out the principles on which America was founded. It is designed to spark interest and discussion on the Founding among students in a class- room setting. The Declaration video series will focus on the vision for a free society and the principles that defined the new nation in 1776.
The second series will address the institutional framework of a free society and the principles of governance provided in the Constitution.
Both series will be accompanied by the online versions of texts our Founders read that shaped their ideas in the Declaration and the Constitution, such as the Torah, John Locke, Montesquieu, etc.
Videos will be short, seven-to-ten minute presentations that broadly introduce substantive content and commentary by eminent scholars to support and enhance classroom teaching on campuses and to spark classroom discussion.
The pilot will be extensively tested for value and relevance in the classroom by JMC faculty partners.
In addition to being a classroom re- source for college professors at the undergraduate level, the online resource center will be available to community colleges, high schools and to the public for lifelong learning.
“Our intent is to provide an out- standing, engaging, and illuminating teaching tool for faculty that features some of the country’s leading scholars,” according to Dr. Michael Andrews, JMC’s vice president of academic pro- grams. “Most of the students who see the videos would not otherwise have access to the teachings of these distinguished scholars. And the extensive, carefully selected online readings will be a rich resource for students, professors and other interested parties.”
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Citizenship in a Democratic Republic Considered at 2012 JMC Faculty Development Summer Institutes (Full Online Version HERE)
The annual JMC Faculty Development Summer Institutes were held at the University of Virginia, June 11-22; and the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago, July 16-27. The two events bring the total number of summer institutes conducted to fifteen since 2004, and add another fifty scholars to the Miller network. The organization now has a total of nearly 550 faculty partners.
This year, the institutes continued an on-going investigation into the core themes raised by the American Founding, with a specific focus on questions of citizenship and civic education.
Themed “Making Citizens for a Democratic Republic: The Past, Present and Future of Civic Education in America,” the sessions considered questions such as: What does it mean to be a citizen? Should we regard citizenship as a right or a privilege? What does the great tradition of Western political thought tell us about the meaning of citizenship, and particularly of American citizenship?
Each Summer Institute brings together twenty-five postdoctoral fellows and advanced graduate students together with up to a dozen teaching faculty. Prominent scholars, educators, and public intellectuals from around the country lead seminars, workshops, and lectures. The goal of the summer institutes is to assist in the cultivation, support, and professional advancement of the next generation of college and university professors.
Miller Summer Institute Fellows enter the JMC’s network of scholars and are eligible to receive JMC funds to conduct cam- pus programming to further education in American Founding Principles. The JMC staff and its Academic Council are com- mitted to assisting all Miller Fellows, whenever possible, with publishing, securing grants from public and private sources, recruiting participants for on-campus programming, obtaining employment, facilitating contacts, and developing relationships with other faculty members and past Miller Fellows.