The Civic Humanities Project at North Central College

We are excited to announce the pilot phase of the Civic Humanities Project, a program of Socratic seminars, academic mentoring and civic engagement devoted to exploring human nature and the principles of good government.

With generous funding from the Teagle Foundation, we join a growing network of colleges and universities around the country hosting programs under the Knowledge for Freedom initiative, which invite underserved high school students to study humanity’s deepest questions about leading lives of purpose and civic responsibility.

In June, 2021 we will invite up to 10 rising high school juniors and seniors to help plan our program, primarily through twice-weekly, online Socratic seminars on what it means to be human and how we should govern ourselves.

With insights gained from our conversations this summer, we will open the Civic Humanities Project in full in June, 2022, when we will invite 20-30 rising high school seniors in June, 2022 for a three-week residential program of Socratic seminars, presentations by North Central College faculty, field trips around Chicagoland, and a variety of related activities.

There will be no cost to participating students; the Civic Humanities Project will be entirely free. Students participating in the 2021 pilot phase will receive a certificate of completion, a letter of recommendation from North Central College faculty, books and school supplies to keep for use in further courses, a t-shirt or ball cap, and a $250 gift card to the store of their choice.

Students interested in participating in the pilot planning seminars in June, 2021 can apply here.

Questions or requests for additional information about the Civic Humanities Project can be addressed to:

Dr. Stuart Patterson, Chair of the Shimer Great Books School at North Central College, at or Dr. Janis Fitzsimmons, President of the Center for Success in High-Need Schools, at