Faculty Participate in Periclean Faculty Leadership Program
(l to r) Maura MacNeil, Associate Professor of Writing at NEC, and Inez McDermott, Associate Professor of Art History at NEC
Project Pericles has selected a new cohort in the Periclean Faculty Leadership Program. Twenty-six faculty members from twenty-six Project Pericles institutions were named to serve from May 2010 to December 2011. The program supports civic engagement in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community.
Maura MacNeil, Associate Professor of Writing, and the NEC Periclean Faculty Leader, and Inez McDermott, Associate Professor of Art History, will co-teach the class “Exploring Community in Our Towns: The New Hampshire Town Meeting” from October 26 through December 7.
The course is structured in a way that provides a unique engaged learning experience for students and an outcome that is tailored to their specific interests and goals. Students across the curriculum, in theatre, visual arts, creative writing, philosophy, political science, and the natural sciences, will engage with the town meeting process and present their experience in ways that express their particular interests and expertise. Their projects will explore the concept of the New England Town Meeting and their actual experience with the process. “The course resonates with the mission of New England College,” notes Inez McDermott. “It is designed to give students access to the workings of the town and opportunities to address issues of civic engagement in a creative way.”
According to Inez and Maura, the traditional town meeting, although the foundation of local governance, is rapidly disappearing with only about one-third of New Hampshire residents living in towns that hold annual meetings.
Students will have an opportunity to examine the history of town meetings and their political and social impact on local communities. In addition, they will take a multi-disciplinary approach to the subject by studying related literature and artistic works that explore the concept of community. The course will draw on the expertise of New Hampshire citizens who provide a variety of perspectives on the town meeting concept. Guest speakers include Rebecca Rule, writer, humorist, and storyteller; Peter Flynn, Town Administrator for Henniker, New Hampshire; colonial meeting house photographer Paul Wainwright; author Howard Mansfield; and several reporters from the local press.
The course will continue into the spring semester and students will have an opportunity to attend local town meetings including Henniker’s meeting in March. “This is an integral part of the course,” states Maura MacNeil. “It provides our students with an opportunity to interact with a segment of the community that they wouldn’t typically share experiences with. This is the best way for them to see community dynamics.”
At the completion of the Periclean Faculty Leadership program, students will present their work to New England College and the Henniker Community.