1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

1780 | The Official Blog of Transylvania University

Prestigious Teagle Foundation/NEH grant awarded to Transylvania to enhance humanities curriculum

Transylvania University Campus
Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky

Transylvania University will receive $250,000 from a joint endeavor between the Teagle Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities to help students engage with literature, philosophy and history. Transylvania’s initiative will ensure that students gain confidence in approaching and discussing transformative texts, those classic and contemporary works that span borders and reflect the diversity and complexity of the human experience.

According to the Teagle Foundation, the goal of its Cornerstone: Learning for Living initiative is to “broaden students’ understanding of the world, strengthen the ability to think critically, write clearly, speak with confidence, contend with differing viewpoints and deepen civic awareness and engagement.” 

“Colleges and universities should of course prepare students for the marketplace, but also for informed and engaged participation in a democratic society,” Andrew Delbanco, president of the Teagle Foundation, said in making the grant announcement.

The Teagle/NEH funding helps strengthen students’ foundation in the humanities at Transylvania. The goal is to assist students with gaining confidence in approaching and discussing transformative texts so they can boost their own understanding of the world and take steps towards making meaningful connections with others on campus and in the community.

“By grappling with complex problems and thorny questions and collaborating with classmates and faculty in the kinds of academic exploration that lead to real personal transformation, our students will build both their intellectual confidence and their intellectual humility while seeing how they can participate in centuries-long conversations,” said Rebecca Thomas, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the university.  

Over the next two years, project directors and professors Brian Arganbright, Simonetta Cochis and Zoe Strecker will use the funding to enhance Transylvania’s required first-year seminars by organizing several sections around transformative texts. They will then launch the university’s first Learning Community of Engagement with a transformative text component where students can choose to pursue a pathway consisting of three humanities-based courses. 

“How do we best prepare our students to navigate, manage and embrace these tumultuous times and opportunities? The faculty at Transylvania University have been thinking thoroughly and creatively about the ways that we can best do that in accord with our mission, our core values, our strategic focus and our aspirations for our students,” said President Brien Lewis. “The approach offered here is rooted in strong and effective humanities and liberal arts traditions and provides both foundational and capstone bookends that intentionally connect the profound ideas and implications that students will explore throughout their undergraduate experience.” 

About The Teagle Foundation

The Teagle Foundation works to support and strengthen liberal arts education, which it sees as fundamental to meaningful work, effective citizenship and a fulfilling life. Its aim is to serve as a catalyst for the improvement of teaching and learning in the arts and sciences while addressing issues of financial sustainability and accountability in higher education.

About Transylvania University

Transylvania University, located in the heart of downtown Lexington, Kentucky, is a top-ranked private liberal arts college featuring a community-driven, personalized approach to a liberal arts education through 48 majors. Founded in 1780, it is Kentucky’s first college and the 16th oldest institution of higher learning in the country, with approximately 1,000 students.