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  • Humanities Education

    Conversation Toward a Brighter Future

    The Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities’ “Conversation Toward a Brighter Future,” in partnership with the Madison County Regional Office of Education, brings together youth from area middle and high schools to address ways to promote respect, dignity, understanding and forgiveness in their own communities. 

    Students convene at the MJCH to participate in discussions around how we must treat each other if we are to exist as a thriving society, then go back to their schools to create an action plan to yield positive results in their communities. They must address the consequences if students, teachers, administrators and staff fail to embrace respect, dignity, understanding and forgiveness, and how these four pillars can result in a better future for our schools, communities and country.

    Students may earn their school up to $5,000 to fund their two-year research projects. Project proposals must include a statement describing a problem and solutions that will benefit their school or community. If their proposal is approved, students are awarded a fellowship grant for the implementation of their school research project. At the end of the program, students present their assessment and best practices to be selected for a renewal grant of $1,000 for year two. 

    Student Summits 2016

    STEM Hub

    The STEM meets Humanities initiative at the MJCH’s new STEM hub is an innovative exploration of the ways in which enduring humanistic questions can influence student interest in STEM inquiry. Through a partnership with Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, the IRIS Center for Digital Humanities, the STEM Center, and the Madison County Regional Office of Education 41, the MJCH intends to facilitate programming to help students solve the world’s social problems through science and technology with a focus on humanistic perspectives.

    SIUE will provide STEM programming, including digital humanities, science, and math components based on projects that have been successful in minority communities. SIUE will also recruit high school students in these communities to serve as near-peer mentors, bringing them together as a cohort to receive training in hands-on activities out-of-school. The peer leaders will then deliver lessons to younger children in future semesters, with assistance from SIUE undergraduate volunteers, increasing their confidence in science and humanities content, teamwork, and communication.


    The second STEM element of the programming will further explore STEM as a tool for solving community concerns through the use of robotics. Topics like sustainable natural resource acquisition provide opportunities to demonstrate the use of robotics to solve real world problems. Students will start by learning about human problems and explore ways in which those problems are being resolved using robotics. Using Lego, or similar, robotics, students can learn and practice the fundamental computer science and engineering skills to contribute to solutions.

    Math Games

    The SIUE College of Arts and Sciences will support the implementation of a set of mathematical games originally developed by the Young People's Project (YPP) targeting upper elementary/middle school concepts. YPP has recognized the under-representation of African-American students in STEM fields, and by making math fun, they hope to appeal to students from a place of creativity as a means to encourage further participation in STEM activities (Abdul-Alim, 2014). Math games played out of school enhance experiences using the model of youth sports to create collaborative communities that promote student leadership and students' interest in and mastery of mathematics. Using near-peer mentoring, SIUE students will work with area high school students, who will in turn work as “coaches” with the elementary and middle school students in the sports league setting. The successful 2016-2017 pilot in Alton will be continued and expanded to Venice and Madison.

    Honors College

    L&C’s first Honors College cohort will begin in Fall 2017. The Honors College at Lewis and Clark will have a humanities focus and provide an opportunity for students with outstanding potential to complete their first two years of a four-year degree while saving thousands of dollars and taking advantage of other benefits offered by L&C, including small class sizes and faculty mentorship opportunities. The L&C Honors College will be affiliated and work closely with the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities (MJCH®). An undergraduate research project will culminate in an undergraduate symposium during which the students will present their findings in a public forum.