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'Cornerstone Learning for Living' Grant Awarded to the SLU University Core


Saint Louis University has been awarded a $25,000 Teagle Foundation/National Endowment for the Humanities “Cornerstone Learning for Living” planning grant (June 2021-June 2022) to build pathways through the new University Core curriculum.

These pathways will be oriented around “transformative texts.” The texts are books, selected by SLU faculty, that expand individual consciousness and organize knowledge in ways that challenge, in creative ways, existing division between forms of knowledge and inquiry in the humanities and the social, biological and applied sciences. These texts will be used to create pathways throughout our core curriculum that are specifically oriented toward the goal of bringing STEM students into contact with the rich tradition of humanistic inquiry. 

In their successful application for this planning grant, a team of SLU Humanities faculty proposed to adapt the “transformative text” model to SLU’s curriculum in ways that focus all students’ attention on issues of diversity, global interdependence, and structural inequity by anchoring our Humanities pathways in the Core’s three “Equity and Global Identities” attribute areas: Identities in Context, Global Interdependence, and Dignity, Ethics and a Just Society.

Grant-funded Pathway Directors Jennifer Popiel, Ph.D., (History),  Pascale Perraudin, Ph.D., (Languages, Literatures and Cultures), and Harold Braswell, Ph.D., (Healthcare Ethics) were appointed at the start of the Fall 2021 semester. In the coming months, these Pathway Directors will be leading efforts to coordinate collaborative faculty conversations focused on building curricular pathways rooted in our new Core’s “Equity and Global Identities” attributes. 

The directors are seeking faculty interested in forming part of a dynamic community of readers, as well as an ambitious educational project. They are particularly interested in working with departments and programs on campus that are looking for new ways of engaging the university’s new core. Contingent on future funding, participants may have opportunities for stipends that would allow them to develop their own courses in the “transformative texts” model. 

Grant project leaders are currently collaborating with the Core’s Associate Directors of Eloquentia Perfecta 2: Oral and Visual Communication and Ignite Seminars to develop first-year gateways to the Core. Interested faculty are invited to join the directors for a presentation on how to teach transformative texts by Roosevelt Montás at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 4. The event will be on Zoom.

This will be the first of a series of events related to the Teagle/NEH Pathways initiative. For more information, contact Ellen Crowell, Ph.D., Director of the University Core, at