The return to tribal identity and its impact on civic life in America

ASU conference featuring Andrew Sullivan and Kmele Foster addresses intellectual orthodoxy on campus, meritocracy and identity politics


March 9, 2022

For the vast majority of their existence as a species, humans lived in tribes of roughly 150 people. Only in recent history was the concept of the individual born and elevated as something to be valued. Columnist, blogger at The Weekly Dish and author Andrew Sullivan argues, however, that there is a return to the state of tribal existence in America today.

Sullivan was the keynote speaker at a conference hosted by Arizona State University's School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, titled “Renewing America’s Civic Compact,” on Feb. 25 and 26. ASU student listening intently to a speaker at a School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership conference. ASU student at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership spring conference. Photo by Blake Wilson Download Full Image

“Individualism as a goal is still essential, but when we create groups that are plainly visible by the color of your skin, by your sex, by your origin, there’s a deep double-down on the sense of group identity,” noted Sullivan in his lecture “We All Live on Campus Now.”

“The human being cannot be reduced simply to the group he identifies with. (This) can swamp our minds and destroy our sense of ourselves. The challenge is to rescue the individual from this intellectual climate,” added Sullivan, noting that “students stepping on a university campus for the first time today immediately wonder: To which group do I belong? And is this group a member of the historically oppressed or privileged class? We call this ‘intersectionality.’”

This tension between group dynamics and individualism was explored throughout the conference, which was attended by 149 guests, including undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and community members. At the end of the event, attendees got a chance to tour the school’s Civic Classics Collection, which includes rare books and first editions of "The Federalist," Martin Luther King Jr.’s "Stride Toward Freedom," George Washington’s "Farewell Address," Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” and "The Gettysburg Address."

In addition to Sullivan’s analysis of college campus culture and its impact on the national consciousness, Kmele Foster, from Freethink and co-host of We The Fifth podcast, and Karen Attiah, columnist for The Washington Post, discussed the significance of individual dignity to achieve social progress. Foster's talk explored race, identity and the dignity of individuality. Other panels explored the role of meritocracy in American democracy, critiques of liberalism, how technology has contributed to the deterioration of our civic compact, and how civic friendship and education may rekindle our culture’s engagement in the democratic process. 

The human being cannot be reduced simply to the group he identifies with. (This) can swamp our minds and destroy our sense of ourselves. The challenge is to rescue the individual from this intellectual climate.


— Andrew Sullivan, author, columnist and blogger at The Weekly Dish

Balancing historical study with present-day critique and forward-thinking solutions, the conference offered an assessment of American civic life.

“The 2022 SCETL conference is an annual opportunity to reflect upon the most pressing challenges to American civic life," noted Carol McNamara, associate director for public programs at SCETL. "Each year, we bring to ASU’s campus some of the country’s top public intellectuals and scholars to dialogue with our faculty, students and community. This year, we were guided by Abraham Lincoln’s words in the first inaugural address: How can Americans move together with a sense of purpose to rebuild the public and private institutions through which we sustain our civic, communal and professional lives?”

The conference was co-sponsored by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU. It was supported by the Jack Miller Center, the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism - FAIR and the Scaife Foundation. Conference lectures and panels are available on YouTube.

Vanessa Reynaga

Communications Program Coordinator, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

480-727-4167

Students to apply Socratic method in fall 2022 ASU course

CEL 394: Comparative Political Thought aims to stimulate critical thinking


March 7, 2022

Arizona State University Assistant Professor Karen Taliaferro has a big course ahead for the fall 2022 semester, and the path is not predictable.

Her course, Comparative Political Thought, is an invitation to students of all backgrounds to examine Western civilization’s fundamental texts of political thought — from Plato and Aristotle to John Locke — in dialogue with texts from different global traditions, including Islam, Judaism, Confucianism and Hinduism. Students talking in a classroom.

These sources are discussed using the Socratic method, a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking.

“The Socratic method allows us to keep an open mind and question our own assumptions,” Taliaferro said.

CEL 394: Comparative Political Thought (class #94866) is open to students of all majors and units. It caters to students dedicated to the humanities, and to those who are seeking an elective that will inspire them to be informed citizens. The course is offered by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. during Session C on the Tempe campus.

In this course, students will engage in participative discussions comparing texts across civilizations, religions and traditions, addressing basic political principles, such as justice and order, from multiple perspectives. 

“Western civilization’s great heritage of political thought calls us to remain vigilant about today’s challenges by diving into humanity’s most important questions of self-governance, justice, individualism and civic life. We understand the present by reflecting upon the principles and texts from the past,” Taliaferro said.

The course will focus on sources of political authority, ideas of membership in a political community, the relationship between reason and religion in a polity, constitutionalism, and natural or human rights. 

“This course is a great opportunity for students of all majors and minors who are interested in our society’s great questions of justice, power, community, reason, religion and how these aspects impact our daily lives. We will read classics of political thought, writings from different traditions and contemporary texts,” Taliaferro said.

Taliaferro has been a faculty member at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership since the school was founded at ASU in 2017 and dedicates her research to ancient and medieval political philosophy, religion and politics, with a particular emphasis on Islamic thought. Her 2019 book "The Possibility of Religious Freedom: Early Natural Law and the Abrahamic Faiths" examines the conflict of divine law and human law in sources ranging from ancient Greece to medieval Islam, and asks whether various traditions of natural law might mitigate the conflict.

We understand the present by reflecting upon the principles and texts from the past.
— Assistant Professor Karen Taliaferro

Karen Taliaferro

Taliaferro graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and French from Marquette University. She then went on to earn a master’s degree and a PhD in government from Georgetown University, as well as additional training in classics from Northwestern University. She has previously taught humanities and great books at Villanova University, and has held research fellowships at the James Madison Program at Princeton University, as well as Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Doha, Qatar. 

Comparative Political Thought integrates the fall 2022 list of courses offered by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The school combines philosophy, history, economics and political science to examine great ideas and solve contemporary problems. Courses such as Great Ideas in Politics and Ethics; Debating Capitalism; Politics and Leadership in the Age of Revolutions: 1776-1826; and Globalism, Nationalism and Citizenship prepare students for careers in such fields as business, law, public office, philanthropy, teaching and journalism, among others.

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

918-859-3013

Visiting scholar to discuss Tocqueville's influence on American democracy

Class offers ASU students a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of American democracy


March 4, 2022

Professor Daniel J. Mahoney is one of the country’s most respected scholars on European and American political thought, and in the fall of 2022, Arizona State University students will get a chance to discuss the foundational principles of American democracy through French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville’s work

The CEL 494/598 course, held Wednesdays from 4:50 to 7:35 p.m., is titled Tocqueville: Problems and Prospects of American Democracy (class #95788) and is offered by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. It is available to students of all majors and units. Painted portrait of French thinker Alexis de Tocqueville. French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859). Download Full Image

“Alexis de Tocqueville is often seen today as the French observer who traveled to America in 1801–32 and praised the country’s institutions and way of life,” Mahoney said.

However, he added, there is another side of Tocqueville that is frequently ignored.

“His writings indicate that he was worried about an emerging democratic world that moved away from the search for truth, and by an individualism that eroded the bonds that connect human beings. He was a friend, but not a flatterer of America, and of democracy more broadly. We very much need his balanced perspective today,” Mahoney said.

In this course, students will learn how the French political thinker saw the American regime, how his writings about America influenced countries around the world, and how Tocqueville’s work can help us reflect on the many challenges and possibilities of modern democratic life today.

Mahoney’s goal is to get students to learn from the past so as to better understand and orient ourselves in the present — that is, as Tocqueville might say, so that we have a better idea of what to hope and fear from our democratic regime and way of life.

Professor Daniel Mahoney

“I look forward to discussing with ASU students how Tocqueville propelled the foundation of American democracy. The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership is becoming a national epicenter for thinking, discussing and educating on American political thought, and it’s such an honor to be invited by Professor Paul Carrese to join the faculty team as a visiting scholar for the fall semester,” Mahoney said.

“Today more than any other time in American history, it is essential to reflect upon our democratic principles, and I can’t think of a better expert than Daniel Mahoney to invite students to this conversation,” said Carrese, director of the school. “We are honored to have him among us in the fall of 2022, and I know students will benefit from their time with him.”

Mahoney is professor emeritus at Assumption University and a senior fellow at RealClear Foundation. He has spent his academic career researching modern democratic societies and liberalism. Among his many books are “The Liberal Political Science of Raymond Aron” (1992); “De Gaulle: Statesmanship, Grandeur, and Modern Democracy” (1996, 2000); “Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Ascent from Ideology” (2001); “The Conservative Foundations of the Liberal Order” (2011); and the upcoming “The Statesman as Thinker: Portraits of Greatness, Courage, and Moderation,” which will be released on May 10, 2022. He has edited and introduced writings of Raymond Aron, Aurel Kolnai, Bertrand de Jouvenel, Pierre Manent and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. He has also been executive editor of Perspectives on Political Science since 2017.

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership is an academic unit of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, combining philosophy, history, economics and political science to examine great ideas and solve contemporary problems. Courses such as Great Ideas in Politics and Ethics; Philosophy, Politics and Economics; Comparative Political Thought; and Globalism, Nationalism and Citizenship prepare students for careers in fields such as business, law, public office, philanthropy, teaching and journalism, among others.

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

918-859-3013

ASU course prepares students for civil disagreement in times of increased polarization

Dichotomy nationalism vs. globalism under the microscope this fall


March 2, 2022

Over the last decade, we have followed the rise of nationalism in the United States, the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, growing dissatisfaction with immigration policies in Europe, other evidence of increased attention to national pride, and topics such as economic and political protectionism.

The "globalist-nationalist" divide is now central to political discourse across liberal democracies. Illustration of a globe and two people holding different country's flags. CEL 494 Globalism, Nationalism and Citizenship prepares students for civil disagreement on important topics.

“Some argue it has become the most important political axis, overriding the more traditional left-right division,” said Trevor Shelley, instructor and the assistant director of graduate studies in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University. 

To understand the political, philosophical and economical forces driving this polarization, ASU students can take CEL 494 Globalism, Nationalism and Citizenship, offered by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and taught by Shelley. 

“In this course, I invite students to consider that the globalist-nationalist divide of our times is but a species of a much larger genus of problem, and so of a tension between particular and universal forms of community as old as political life itself,” Shelley said.

The course is available to students of all majors and minors on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. in Tempe.

Trevor Shelley, Ph.D

Trevor Shelley, instructor and assistant director of Graduate Studies at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

Students will focus on important debates regarding globalization, the nation and varieties of citizenship.

“Situating present debates into a much broader historical and theoretical context, students will better understand the underlying premises and motivations for the opposing views, and reflect on how they as citizens might best navigate this apparently intractable tension of the human political condition,” Shelley said.

In light of this textual variety covering a vast historical span, students will participate in discussions about the philosophical, political, economic and strategic aspects regarding America's role and position in a globalized world. These discussions will provide them with rich insight into the duties and responsibilities of citizens, policymakers and legislators in the present globalist-nationalist context. 

Through a variety of interdisciplinary approaches and texts in political philosophy and history, students will read works in sociology, constitutionalism, economics and literature. 

“This course is particularly relevant to those pursuing careers in law, business, social sciences and teaching, as well as those in the public and private sectors who appreciate multimodal approaches to a problem,” Shelley said. “This learning experience improves their facility to move between different methods and discourses. Students will also be exposed to multiple perspectives, with texts by authors from a variety of backgrounds — American, French, English, Spanish, Israeli, Indian and Ghanian, among others.”

Based on these readings, they will articulate their own views and test them against those of their peers in civil dialogue and disagreement with one another.

This style of debate over a complex series of problems helps to cultivate the virtue of moderation.

— Trevor Shelley, instructor and assistant director of graduate studies in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

Taught in the Socratic method, which invites students to engage in the discussions, the course will focus on sources of political authority, ideas of membership in a political community, the relationship between reason and religion in a polity, constitutionalism, and natural or human rights. 

Trevor Shelley

“This style of debate over a complex series of problems helps to cultivate the virtue of moderation," Shelley said.

“By going beyond apparent cliches about ‘globalists’ and ‘nationalists,’ we can better grasp what is at stake and why the parties are as charged as they are about the issues, so that each of us may in turn adjudicate the passions of our fellows as citizen-leaders."

Shelley is the author of various articles and book chapters, including “Globalization and Liberalism: Montesquieu, Tocqueville, and Manent” (Notre Dame University Press, 2020). He is co-editor (with Carol McNamara) and contributor to the forthcoming collection “Citizenship and Civic Leadership in America” (Lexington Press, 2022).

Globalism, Nationalism and Citizenship integrates the fall 2022 list of courses offered by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, an academic unit of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The school combines philosophy, history, economics and political science to examine great ideas and solve contemporary problems. Courses such as Comparative Political Thought; Debating Capitalism; and Politics and Leadership in the Age of Revolutions: 1776–1826 prepare students for careers in business, law, business, public office, philanthropy, teaching and journalism, among others.

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

918-859-3013

 
image title

ASU students, grads win prestigious fellowships in foreign service

ASU students, grad win prestigious fellowships for global service.
February 11, 2022

Double major Brianna Stinsman is 1st ASU winner of Payne Fellowship

The turmoil in the world can feel overwhelming, but four Arizona State University students and alums have turned their faith in the power of global diplomacy into a career path by winning prestigious fellowships.

Brianna Stinsman (pictured above), a senior, is the first ASU student ever to win the Payne Fellowship, and three others — senior Angel Orozco and alums Monica Orillo and Juan San Nicolas – have won Pickering Fellowships. Both fellowships pay for two years of graduate school in international relations and require the fellows to commit to five years working abroad – at the U.S. Agency for International Development for the Payne Fellowship, and the U.S. Foreign Service for the Pickering Fellowship.

Stinsman, who will spend spring break visiting Johns Hopkins and Columbia universities, where she has applied to graduate school, said that she became hooked on the idea of global service during her first year at ASU, when she took a course called Contemporary Global Trends.

“I realized that there are systems of inequality around the world, and I wanted to be part of the solution,” she said.

“You can influence outcomes in difficult situations through collective action and bringing different people together.”

Kyle Mox, director of the Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarships Advisement, said that ASU’s success in these fellowships illustrates two things: “First, the deep commitment to service that ASU students embody. Second, it illustrates that anyone who is willing to put in the work can secure one of these life-changing opportunities, given the right support and guidance,” said Mox, who is associate dean of national scholarship advisement for ASU.

The staff at the Office of National Scholarship Advisement supports ASU students throughout the entire application process, from selecting the program that would be the best fit, to writing essays and personal statements, to sitting for mock interviews. While the office is part of Barrett, The Honors College, it’s open to all ASU students.

From the time she arrived at ASU, Stinsman was committed to service. She is part of the fourth cohort of the Public Service Academy, and she also took a service-learning class, where she worked with the Welcome to America Project.

“It’s a nonprofit in Phoenix with the mission of turning fear into hope for newly arrived refugees,” she said. “It was hearing their stories of fleeing all sorts of persecution and circumstances out of their control that made me want to explore policy and crisis leadership and learn how to bring that cross-sector framework for solutions to those who are displaced by climate change, armed conflict and things like that.”

Stinsman will graduate in May with bachelor's degrees in global studies, and public service and public policy, and a certificate in cross-sector leadership.

This summer, as part of the Payne Fellowship experience, she will work in Congress, probably with the Foreign Affairs Committee, before beginning grad school in the fall. Next summer, she’ll be on a humanitarian mission with USAID and will receive mentorship from a U.S. foreign service officer with her specialization. After grad school, she’ll work abroad for five years in crisis stabilization and governance, moving every 24 months.

Stinsman found out about the USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program while on an internship last summer with the Washington, D.C., Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.

“I knew I wanted to be an emergency manager, but I want to do it on an international level,” she said.

Her application was due shortly after she returned to ASU last fall, so she scrambled to complete it, receiving help from the Office of National Scholarships Advisement with her personal statement and resume.

Stinsman said she would not have been able to go to college without the financial support that came from her acceptance into the Public Service Academy.

“They gave me the confidence that I could be a leader, that I belong in spaces that I never even thought about before joining the academy," she said. "Being connected to like-minded peers and being around passionate undergraduates who are transforming their fields is inspiring.

“They taught me that I’m an individual capable of creating change. And once you have that instilled in you at 18, you can take that with you your whole life and inspire others.”

This is the first time ASU has had three winners of the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program – the most ever. They are:

Monica Orillo: Orillo is currently fulfilling a term as a Fulbright Award winner, teaching English in Germany. She graduated from ASU in fall 2020 with degrees in political science and German, and a certificate in teaching English as a second language. After graduating, she completed an internship with Phoenix Sister Cities.

While she was an undergraduate, Orillo won a Boren Award for International Study and studied in the Philippines, where she became interested in international relations. She added Asian studies to her major when she got back to ASU and is interested in serving in the Asia Pacific region.

Orillo took a gap year after high school, living with a family in Germany, and knew she wanted to go into public service. She became a campus ambassador for the Peace Corps while at ASU, though her plans to join the corps were scuttled by the pandemic.

 “Part of the ASU experience is being able to make your impact through student organizations,” she said.

 She also was an undergraduate research fellow with the Center on the Future of War, where she helped a journalist in the Philippines.

 “I learned about conflict and disinformation, and that’s what got me interested in the area of peace and conflict studies, where I hope to focus my career,” she said.

Angel Orozco: Orozco is finishing his final semester as an undergraduate at ASU, where he will earn two degrees in May — business, with a focus in global politics, and civic and economic thought and leadership. He’s waiting to hear back from several graduate schools he applied to.

Orozco, a member of the Arizona Army National Guard, said that he was relieved when he found out that he won the scholarship.

“It took a big weight off my shoulders and made me feel more confident about my ability to provide for my family and pursue a career,” said Orozco, whose wife will accompany him.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to travel the world and experience new cultures and learn new languages and those sorts of things that force you to expand your horizons.”

Orozco said said he received great support from School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership during the long application process.

“Their faculty really prepared me, critiquing my essays and meeting with me,” he said.

Juan San Nicolas: San Nicolas, who graduated from ASU in 2019 with a degree in political science, is currently teaching English in South Korea as a Fulbright Award winner. He’ll extend his Fulbright for another year and hopes to attend Georgetown University in fall 2023.

“I was very interested in working with the State Department, particularly in diplomacy,” he said.

“I grew up in Guam, and we had a lot of international events that happened around us. In my personal statement, I talked about North Korea as one of the issues I saw growing up. I was very aware of international events as they occurred.”

San Nicolas said that several of his family members served in the U.S. Army, and he sees diplomacy as another way of serving his country.

“At ASU, I studied abroad in Korea, and it really ushered in international affairs as something I wanted to do,” he said.

San Nicolas said he’d like to serve in the Pacific Island region, possibly in Fiji or Pilau.

“It’s a region I’m very passionate about, and I believe there are a lot of possibilities when it comes to building diplomatic ties to that region.”

Staying on track

Spring is the prime time for students to prepare their applications for these foreign service fellowships, which open in the spring and are due in the fall, according to Shay Masterson, program manager in the Office of National Scholarship Advisement (ONSA).

“The main thing is trying to help them stay on track and working on it, because you can lose a lot of momentum,” she said.

The support from the ONSA staff is a balancing act.

“If they don’t have the time, energy or motivation to continue working on it, I don’t want to make them feel bad about that, or that I’m a nuisance trying to support them,” she said.

“Through the writing process, there’s a balance of giving feedback and guidance, but also, it’s their application; it’s their statement about their experience and needs and goals, so it needs to remain theirs and not ours.”

The advisement team also provides emotional support.

“We check in with them periodically. If they’ve heard that it’s a ‘no,’ we try to be supportive and say, ‘It’s OK. Most people don’t get it. It doesn’t mean you can’t pursue your goals.’”

The application process includes a timed written exercise focusing on a current international situation.

“We don’t know what those will be, so we advise them to stay abreast of what’s going on in the world, especially if there’s a situation that’s recurring,” Masterson said.

“If they’re selected as a finalist, I recommend that they practice a couple of times writing about a current situation in the hour time frame.”

San Nicolas said he would not have gotten the Pickering Fellowship without the support of the advisement office.

“I was not one to seek out help, but I was told to use the resources available to me by my professors,” he said.

“If anyone is interested in applying, I would say don’t be afraid to share your stuff with them, because they know what they’re doing.”

The Office of National Scholarship Advisement will hold a Zoom information session on scholarships and fellowships for students interested in international public service at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31.

Top image: Brianna Stinsman, a public service and global studies senior, is the first ASU student to win a USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News

480-727-4503

ASU master's program teaches students to 'live well and lead well'

Classical liberal education and leadership program impacts students professionally, academically and personally


February 9, 2022

When Carolina Vibbert was a fifth grade teacher, she realized that her passion was classical liberal education and started to look for a master’s program in the field.

“I wanted to make sure my degree focused on the core of who I am as a teacher and what I am hoping to give to my students,” she said. Stack of books on a table. Program in classical liberal education is accepting applications by April 1.

Even though there are several education programs in Arizona, ASU's Master of Arts in classical liberal education and leadership stood out. 

“I was hooked after learning from the professors about the course offerings. My classes, professors and peers have been a blessing to my life ever since," Vibbert said.

The graduate program is offered through Arizona State University's School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and is accepting applications for the fall 2022 semester. Civic leaders, educators, scholars and professionals are invited to learn more about the curriculum and apply by April 1.

Graduate student

Carolina Vibbert

“Being a part of this program has brought so much to my life, both personally and professionally, especially as a teacher hoping to pass on the importance of classical and civic education to the next generation of American citizens," Vibbert said. “In the program, we are challenged to read the great books of philosophy, political thought and statesmanship, and use these texts to grapple with today’s civic and social challenges.”

Vibbert heard about the ASU program through Great Hearts, a network of public schools dedicated to improving education nationwide with a curriculum built upon the classical liberal arts tradition. What is now called “classical education” refers to the approach that focuses on the pursuit of wisdom by analyzing and cultivating moral virtue. In classical education, students are invited to seek truth through the study of the greatest philosophers and authors in Western civilization, and to flourish in mind, body and soul to become virtuous leaders in all aspects of life. Taught by nationally renowned scholars, the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership program combines liberal education, civic education in American principles and institutions, and the study of the art of statesmanship.

Jonathon Hofer, a current student, credits the program for shaping more than his career. 

Jonathon Hofer (center) during a trip to Rome with his students.

Jonathon Hofer (center) during a trip to Rome with his students.

“It gives students who desire to learn, who love to learn, an opportunity to come together and build a community of learners in a liberal way. In a way that supports free thought, discourse and disagreement,” he said. “It is enriching my life beyond the classroom.”

In the program, students reflect on the past, with its rich heritage of liberal education. Informed by that heritage and inspired by its exemplars, they are prepared to take on the challenges of education, citizenship and statesmanship.

Courses include "Classic Texts in Political Philosophy and Justice," "Classic Texts in Historical Leadership and Statesmanship," "Literary Leaders, Faith and Reason," "Liberal and Civic Education" and "Greco-Roman Ideas of Leadership and Politics."

Colleen Sheehan, director of the Master of Arts in classical liberal education and leadership program, takes pride in the academic, professional and life skills taught in the course of study.

“We are equipping future educators, scholars and leaders to think deeply and carefully about fundamental questions, including what it means to live well and lead well, what it means to be a good citizen and what justice and the common good require,” she said. 

Meredith Smith with her son, Henry.

Meredith Smith with her son, Henry.

A teacher as well as a new mom, Meredith Smith is grateful for the program.

“It provides me with an opportunity to augment my education in seminar-style, something I missed out on as an undergrad nearly 20 years ago,” said Smith, adding that the program contributes to preparing her for the challenges of motherhood and education.

“I get to read great works and grow in my vocation as a wife, mother and teacher. I am completing this program to examine what it means to lead a good life," Smith said.

One way the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership is making it possible for professionals and scholars to complete the master’s program is by providing them with financial aid opportunities to help reduce out-of-pocket costs. These include the Lyceum Fellowships, the Cook Family Graduate Fellowships available to classical teachers working at Great Hearts, as well as Student Success Awards for students achieving high standards of academic excellence.

Prospective students are encouraged to check the program’s website for updates about additional funding opportunities. The program also offers research assistantships that include stipends, tuition awards and possible benefits.

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

918-859-3013

ASU conference to draw inspiration from Abraham Lincoln to overcome political divisiveness

Event on Feb. 25 and 26 is co-sponsored by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law


February 4, 2022

Americans are increasingly divided on everything from immigration to COVID-19 vaccines, from racial justice to foreign policy, and from voting laws to climate change. How can we engage civilly amid competing perspectives in politics and governance to rebuild the civic institutions that mediate our differences?

This question will guide an upcoming conference, themed "Renewing America’s Civic Compact," hosted by Arizona State University’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership on Feb. 25 and 26 at the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus. Black and white portrait of Kmele Foster, co-founder and executive producer at Freethink. Kmele Foster, co-founder and executive producer at Freethink.

The event will be held in person and streamed live by Arizona PBS on the school's YouTube channel. The school is accepting registrations here.

This year’s keynote speaker is Kmele Foster, Freethink co-founder and executive producer, who will discuss the limitations of modern social justice movements in the lecture “The World We Want to Live In: Racism, Race and the Dignity of our Individuality.”

“We look forward to discussing crucial challenges in the country during the conference,” said Paul Carrese, director of the school. “Our school is dedicated to promoting civil debates about pressing topics such as the current political polarization, which contributes to today’s civic crisis. By hosting forums for civil disagreement, we hope to help overcome this divide and to renew and enhance America’s capacity for self-governance.”

This divisiveness is also intellectual, and is experienced on college campuses across the country. Columnist, The Weekly Dish blogger and author Andrew Sullivan will join the discussion live via Zoom. He will speak on the impact of campus orthodoxy on American society, with an opportunity for an audience Q&A. 

Conference attendees will also hear from some of the country’s top intellectuals and scholars, who are dedicated to reflecting upon America’s pressing social conflicts and the importance of civic education to finding a path on which Americans can move together to rebuild the public and private institutions to sustain civic, communal and professional lives. 

“This year’s conference will offer an assessment of the challenges to American civic life and its institutions — including the university. We will also address how to rebuild the institutions and unity of our civil society," said Carol McNamara, associate director for public programs at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

The program is guided by Abraham Lincoln’s challenge in his first inaugural address on March 4, 1861: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth-stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

The conference is part of the Civic Discourse Project, a series of lectures with some of the country’s most respected intellectuals and leaders. This year, Foster’s keynote address is also the culminating event of the three-part series “Can We Talk Honestly About Race?” The conference is co-sponsored by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and ASU's Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. It is supported by the Jack Miller Center, the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism and the Scaife Foundation.

SCETL Spring Conference Feb. 25-25

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

918-859-3013

ASU In the News

ASU report ranks cities on ease of doing business


A new report and analysis on the relative ease of doing business in cities across North America shows that lowering barriers to entry makes a big difference for underrepresented founders.

Researchers at Arizona State University ranked cities in the U.S., Mexico and Canada on ease of doing business in its Doing Business North America report. They pulled from 12,000 data points and 111 variables to create 28 data indicators, including ease of starting a business, finding employees, getting electricity, paying taxes, land and space use and resolving insolvency. Download Full Image

Startup hubs such as San Francisco and San Jose, California, Boston, New York City and  Austin, Texas ranked low on the list. San Francisco ranked 64th, San Jose ranked 67th, Boston ranked 30th, New York City ranked 76th and Austin ranked 57th.

Making small changes in regulations could have a measurable impact on the number of businesses started by underrepresented founders, says Alicia Plemmons, an assistant professor of economics at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Particularly, making it easier for people to start a business could potentially have a large effect, she said.

If the Ease of Doing Business score (a value out of 100 potential points) in a city increased by one point, the rate of businesses led by people of color would increase by 3.8%. She defined the rate as the proportion of minority business owners (predicted using surnames classified by the Decennial Census Bureau Surname File) in the city relative to the total minority population within the city. This means that changing regulations, such as simplifying processes or reducing fees could increase the number of Black, Hispanic and Asian-led businesses in the U.S., Plemmons said.

Article Source: Times of Entrepreneurship

Project Coordinator, Center for the Study of Economic Liberty

ASU workshop to home in on the social responsibility of business

Program on Feb. 4 will help 15 students develop skills to strengthen their careers in public, private sectors


February 1, 2022

In a 1970 controversial op-ed, the late American economist Milton Friedman famously argued that "the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.” Recently, this view has been attacked on all sides by politicians and business leaders. Prominent opponents of Friedman's view argue that business leaders should weigh profits against the interests of various stakeholders.

Who is correct? Is earning profits the primary purpose of a business? Or can business leaders help society more by pursuing other apparent benefits? People wearing suits sitting at a table with notepads. Download Full Image

These questions will guide the workshop “Reconsidering the Social Responsibility of Business” from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4.

'Reconsidering the Social Responsibility of Business'

Workshop attendees will explore the issues that arise in the debate about the role of business in society, and practice discussing contentious issues in the context of civil dialogue and shared inquiry.

"The purpose of the workshop is to invite participants to examine dominant views and to move past prejudices to a more nuanced understanding," said the workshop leader, Andrew Humphries, a postdoctoral research scholar with Arizona State University's School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. "Students might never have considered how profits direct businesses to make socially desirable decisions. Many assume that conscious charity is the only way to advance human well-being. But it's not obvious that conscious charity has no role to play in business either. What's the best mix? That's what we need to figure out."

The program is limited to the first 15 students who register. Those who enroll will also receive a complimentary copy of Milton and Rose Friedman’s book “Free to Choose.”

Interested students can register here.

The workshop is a collaboration between the T.W. Lewis Center for Personal Development and the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty as part of an effort to promote ASU’s new Certificate in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, an interdisciplinary certificate that expands students’ perspectives about moral, economic and political issues, and provides them with conceptual tools to understand and address major problems in the world today. By integrating the approaches of philosophy, politics and economics, the certificate offers a holistic understanding of such problems and of possible solutions — great preparation for leadership in the public or private sectors. 

Students who pursue the certificate develop analytical skills and learn useful concepts through a course in each of these disciplines, and have the opportunity to integrate them through both an introductory and a capstone course. These courses complement the students’ degrees and add value to their careers in public office, law, business, philanthropy, engineering and journalism, among others. 

Students interested in this workshop may also be interested in the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty's upcoming reading group on Thomas Sowell's “Conflict of Visions” and Jim Otteson's “Honorable Business.Apply here to participate in the reading group.

The certificate is a collaboration between four ASU units: the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, the School of Politics and Global Studies, the Department of Economics in the W. P. Carey School of Business and the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

918-859-3013

Winner of prestigious Pickering Fellowship determined to improve his life through education

A first-generation college student, Angel Orozco credits his accomplishment to School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


January 29, 2022

Angel Orozco is paving an outstanding path of academic success, service to the country and financial stability for his future.

“I grew up in a community of color and in a low-income area,” he said. “My mother didn't graduate high school, no one in my family had a college education and my father was in prison when I was young and I was separated from him. I knew that the only way to better my life was to get an education. My family encouraged me, but I knew that no one would help me pay for it.” Pickering fellow Angel Orozco sitting in a classroom, gesturing with his hands while speaking. Angel Orozco is the 10th Arizona State University student to ever win the prestigious Pickering Fellowship.

That is where hard work, determination and support from Arizona State University’s faculty and advisory staff come in. Orozco was recently selected as one of the 45 recipients of the competitive Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program, which will provide him with robust financial support for his graduate studies leading to a career in the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service. 

“This program gives me a chance to reflect greatly upon my family, provide a future for my family and serve my country,” he said, adding that being named a Pickering Fellow is a great honor.

The Pickering Fellowship Program is highly sought after, with over 1,500 applicants nationwide, and Orozco is only the 10th ASU student to ever receive the award. As a 2022 Pickering Fellow, he will receive up to $37,500 annually for tuition and expenses for a two-year master’s degree in fields related to foreign service. He will also have two summer internships — one at a domestic office of the Department of State in Washington, D.C., and one overseas at a U.S. embassy or consulate — and mentoring from a foreign service officer. 

Orozco is pursuing two degrees at ASU — civic and economic thought and leadership, as well as business with a focus on global politics. The successful journey, he says, is a result of his experience as a student in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership (SCETL).

“Never would I have even known about these opportunities if it wasn’t for the close-knit culture of SCETL,” Orozco said. “The fact that the professors really care and want me to succeed has been one of the most important pieces to my success in this process and my success as a student overall.”

Video by Vanessa Reynaga

Orozco is following in the footsteps of his SCETL colleague Cameron Vega, who was awarded the fellowship in 2021. With its dedication to teaching classical liberal education, and guided by the principles of the U.S. founders and leaders, the school is able to prepare students with a solid education for public service and leadership roles in civil society. 

“SCETL teaches its students how to be leaders, not just political scientists or anything. It teaches them how to be leaders to help make a better world,” Orozco said. “That level of commitment and pursuit of truth and civic discussion has just been something that I've loved and has brought me here and kept me here. I definitely have enjoyed every day that I've been able to be a part of SCETL and what it has to offer.”

The school combines philosophy, history, economics and political science to examine great ideas and solve contemporary problems. Courses such as "Great Ideas in Politics and Ethics," "Justice and Virtue," "Politics and Literature” and "American Political Economy” prepare students for careers in business, law, public office, philanthropy, engineering and journalism, among other fields.

“Angel is the ideal Pickering Fellow,” said Carol McNamara, associate director for public programs at SCETL. “He is an excellent student and a natural leader, and we take pride in helping him earn the skills and knowledge to prepare for his successful career in the foreign service.” 

Orozco is currently applying for graduate school programs. He will graduate in this spring and begin orientation in June.

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

918-859-3013

Pages