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

Eugene M. Lang, our founder and Chair Emeritus

Recent News and Updates

Project Pericles in The Chronicle of Higher Education

In its recent article, "How Colleges Ignite Civic Engagement." The Chronicle of Higher Education cited Project Pericles as one of the civic engagement organizations making a difference with college students. Pericleans, Goucher College and Pitzer College, were also highlighted. Our Executive Director, Jan Liss, emphasizeded our goal of institutionalizing civic engagement across the curriculum.

From The Chronicle - "...College students need to be able to see public issues from a wide variety of angles," says Jan Liss .... "We'd love to see civic-engagement courses embedded in a number of majors — everything from music to physics to theater."

Link to article.

Periclean Faculty Leaders Wow at AAC&U Annual Meeting in D.C.

Phong Le @ AAC&U

On January 25, four Periclean Faculty Leaders presented, "From Curriculum To Community: Encouraging Faculty and Students To Change The World." Click here to read the article! 

Winter 2018 Newsletter Highlights

To read our full newsletter, click here.

Pitzer Takes D4D Letter to an Elected Official Competition to "Inside-Out Prison Exchange" Classes
By Tessa Hicks Peterson, Pitzer College

"This letter writing personally motivated me to voice my opinion and to get others to voice theirs in order to push legislative agendas that are important to us as inmates... because mass incarceration is out of control and legislation can make a difference. It's important to try to push things forward with these assemblymen and try to make a difference. I plan on getting involved with policy organizations and giving back when I get out." (MJ, inside student)

During the Fall 2017 semester, Pitzer College decided to introduce a new twist to our usual participation in the Project Pericles "Letter to an Elected Official" national letter writing competition. The letters would be written in prison, by prisoners, about prison (continued in newsletter).

Debating for Democracy (D4D) Students Protect the Hudson River from Oil Tankers -

Rowan Lanning  ('18) and Christina Thomas ('19), Pace University, won the 2017 D4D Letters to an Elected Official competition for their letter seeking to halt the use of the Hudson River as an anchorage for oil tankers, a practice the Coast Guard had proposed without consultation with local communities or developing an environmental impact study. In collaboration with Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the Pace University D4D team ran a successful campaign to protect the Hudson River from the threat of oil spills. Thanks to the work of Christina, Rowan, and many others, the Coast Guard withdrew its proposal to permit anchorages for oil tankers. The Coast Guard appointed the students as official observers for its Port and Waterway Safety Assessment meetings held in November.

"In light of these recent and exciting developments [the withdrawal of the Coast Guard's proposal], we are left in the unexpected position of ... being able to declare victory....  We are thrilled to continue on [with] this exciting experience and appreciate your [Project Pericles'] ... support."- Rowan Lanning , Pace University ('18) 

The Reed College Team Met with Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Oregon State
Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-21)  as part of their work on Federal and State Legislation to protect students from sexual assault. Leilani Ganser ('19) spoke with Senator Merkley about the health care needs of sexual assault survivors and is working with Senator Merkley's office to introduce a bill that amends FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) to classify sexual assault as a public health issue that must be included on transcripts (the bill proposed in their letter). The team is also working with Oregon State Senator Kathleen Taylor and a representative from Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum's office to lower the state standard of evidence in Title IX investigations to a "Preponderance of the Evidence" standard.

Leilani Ganser (Reed College) and Senator Merkley
Leilani Ganser, Reed College ('19), with Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

For the D4D Letter to an Elected Official Competition Leilani Ganser ('19) and Sonya Morud ('19) wrote "A Letter in Support of the Safe Transfer Act" (would require post-secondary institutions to disclose sex offenses on students' transcripts) to Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

About D4D - The Debating for Democracy National Conference features a Legislative Hearing in which teams of students compete for $5,000 in prize money by presenting in front of a panel of former government officials. The teams use the awards to develop advocacy and educational campaigns focused on their issues. In 2017, a panel of three judges- Constance Berry Newman, Martha Kanter, and Ruth Messinger-selected Pace University as the winner of the D4D Letters to an Elected Official Competition. The winning team received $3,000 to move their issue forward and the finalist teams each will receive $500. In this issue, we provide updates on the Pace University and Reed College teams. Berea College, Carleton College, and Swarthmore College were the other 2017 finalists. We provided updates on Berea and Carleton in the Fall 2017 Newsletter and will highlight Swarthmore in the future.

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 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.