Project Pericles

Advocate. Facilitate. Inspire.

Project Pericles is a vibrant consortium of colleges and universities that promotes civic engagement within higher education. Building on the innovative vision of Eugene M. Lang, Project Pericles works in the classroom, on the campus, and in the communityThe national office of Project Pericles collaborates with Periclean colleges and universities to encourage faculty to incorporate civic engagement and social responsibility into the curriculum, and to empower students as effective advocates and leaders. Our research projects and publications foster greater awareness within higher education about the value and importance of civic engagement.

Periclean Programs

Project Pericles is deeply saddened by the loss of our founder and Chair Emeritus, Eugene M. Lang

Commentators often described Mr. Lang as the "most creative philanthropist in America." The combination of entrepreneurial instincts and creative imagination that fueled his diverse business ventures around the world characterized his philanthropic ventures as well. He initiated education, health and arts enterprises that are recognized for their ingenuity and transformational accomplishments. The recipient of many honors, he was deeply honored to receive the nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Bill Clinton. President George H.W. Bush also designated him as a "Point of Light." In 2008, the National Conference on Citizenship named him "Citizen of the Year."

Mr. Lang was a visionary expressing concern about our democracy, civic engagement, and social responsibility long before it was fashionable. From its inception in 2001, Mr. Lang's leadership, passion, and support enabled Project Pericles to grow and thrive while pursuing its mission of promoting civic engagement.

In 1999, Lang wrote "The philosophy of liberal arts is the philosophy of a democratic society in which citizenship, social responsibility, and community are inseparable. An educated citizenry is the essential instrument for promoting responsible social action and community well-being" ("Distinctively American: The Residential Liberal Arts Colleges," Daedalus, Winter).

Under his guidance, Project Pericles developed many of its signature initiatives including the Civic Engagement Course (CEC) Program™, Debating for Democracy (D4D)™, and Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Program™. These programs reach thousands of college students every year. 

In lieu of flowers, the Lang Family suggests contributions to Project Pericles or any of the many organizations Mr. Lang supported. 

Mr. Lang's obituary in The New York Times is available here.

Recent News and Updates

At AAC&U's 2018 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., Project Pericles will present
"From Curriculum To Community: Encouraging Faculty and
Students To Change The World"

Project Pericles works with faculty to enhance links between the curriculum, campus, communities, and colleagues encouraging students to connect knowledge with real-world responsibilities. Through our Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Program, funded by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and Eugene M. Lang Foundation, PFLs from campuses across the U.S. develop courses and programs that reinforce the civic responsibility of students.

Periclean Faculty Leaders discuss curricular programs that strengthen critical thinking, skills, and social responsibility, while promoting faculty development. The panel explores real-world issues: connections between political and ecological systems where students collaborate to reduce the college's carbon footprint; lead contamination in Flint and Baltimore where students generate data visualizations of community needs; theatre as a reflection of the civic and natural worlds and our responses; and students as "statistical consultants" to organizations including a provider of legal and social services for asylum seekers.

With audience participation, panelists will discuss replicable best practices, tactics, challenges, and skills.

Panelists: Jan Risë Liss, Executive Director, Project Pericles; Nurcan Atalan-Helicke, Periclean Faculty Leader, Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies; Skidmore College; Phong Le, Periclean Faculty Leader, Assistant Professor of Mathematics; Goucher College; S. Alexandra (Alex) Picard, Periclean Faculty Leader, Associate Professor of Theatre; New England College; Lynne Steuerle Schofield, Periclean Faculty Leader, Associate Professor of Statistics; Swarthmore College


Early Fall Newsletter Highlights

Civic Engagement Guidebook Completed: Project Pericles just released a draft of our Civic Engagement Guidebook as part of our multi-year initiative Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement. The guidebook draws on best practices and lessons learned from the initiative and from our associated White Paper, Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement: Five Approaches to Institutionalizing Civic Engagement by Garret Batten, Adrienne Falcón, and Jan R. Liss. The Guidebook includes submissions from Allegheny College, Carleton College, Bates College, Goucher College, Occidental College, Pace University, and Wagner College. Find the Guidebook here.

2017-2018 D4D on the Road Workshops: We are pleased to partner with Midwest Academy for 2017-2018 D4D on the Road. The workshops provide both novice and seasoned activists alike with the skills they need to develop advocacy and education campaigns through effective messaging to policy makers, community leaders, and the public. Workshops are open to all including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. Check out the 2017-18 D4D on the Road workshop schedule.

Read our full E-Newsletter here...

Creating Curricular Coherence
through Inquiry-Based Curricula and Thematic Pathways

Our newest initiative explores different but allied approaches to creating greater coherence in the undergraduate curriculum. These faculty-led initiatives involve comprehensive reviews of the curriculum and are ambitious undertakings that will redefine undergraduate education at each institution for years to come. Colleges are streamlining their curricula using civic engagement and community-based learning as catalysts in their efforts. Macalester is piloting pathways in Geography and History with plans to expand their efforts. Morehouse and Widener are redesigning their curriculum with an emphasis on inquiry-based learning. Morehouse is using questions about the African diaspora to help shape its work while Widener will look at sustainability. Work has commenced on all campuses and we are looking forward to collaborating with the three campuses on this exciting and important work.

Read Our Newest White Paper
Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement:
Five Approaches to Institutionalizing Civic Engagement

The white paper documents the accomplishments of 26 participating colleges and universities as part of Project Pericles' three-year initiative to promote a more intentional approach to civic engagement that prioritizes coherent program design and the diffusion of civic engagement throughout the undergraduate experience.

Research reveals five basic approaches to organizing curricular and co-curricular programming for civic engagement: Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility Requirements, Civic Scholars Programs, Pathway Approaches, Certificates, and Entrepreneurial/Open Choice Models.

It discusses how a mapping/survey of the civic engagement curriculum can serve as a powerful catalyst for change on campus and shares other insights from the initiative.

The White Paper and the Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement Initiative were supported by The Eugene M. Lang Foundation and The Teagle Foundation.


Project Pericles Needs Your Support

Please consider making a generous contribution so we can continue our work encouraging tomorrow's engaged citizens: Donate today! Also, sign-up for the Project Pericles e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on our projects and events, and to hear about the amazing work of our Periclean colleges and universities: The Periclean Progress E-Newsletter.