Faulkner University creates new Center for Great Books and Human Flourishing

Photo: Michael Maibach, center, stands with (L-R) Dr. Jason Jewell, Dr. Allen Mendenhall, President Mike Williams and Dr. Grover Plunkett.

Faulkner University publicly announced this week the creation of a new Center for Great Books and Human Flourishing on its Montgomery campus.

“Participation in our Great Books Honors Program has long been a high point of many students’ Faulkner experience,” said President Mike Williams. “This new center will operate within Faulkner’s Christian mission to create even more opportunities for all Faulkner students and members of the broader community to take part in this tradition.”

The new center will focus on student programming and public events meant to advance understanding of the good life and the good society.

“We see a growing need across Alabama and the rest of the country for a renewed appreciation of traditional virtue, civil discourse, good citizenship, and the institutions of civil society that have always been so important in shaping American character,” Williams stated. “The Center for Great Books and Human Flourishing is part of Faulkner’s effort to spread that message in the River Region and beyond.”

Dr. Jason Jewell, the director of the new center, agrees. “We hit the ground running this fall and have several exciting events planned for Faulkner students and others in the community,” he said. “In addition to public lectures by nationally known speakers and student-oriented events like documentary film screenings and intensive discussion colloquia, we expect to offer professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers and resources for local churches interested in community development.”

Already in September the center has helped host a campus visit by Michael Maibach, a former vice-president of Intel. Maibach spoke to more than 100 business majors about how a commercial republic like the United States helps its citizens develop certain virtues.

The Center for Great Books and Human Flourishing is funded entirely by grants and individual donations.

“We recognize and are grateful for the trust placed in us by our donors,” Jewell said. “Our goal is to be good stewards of these resources and seek more partners in this work as we advance Faulkner’s mission through student programming and public engagement.”

The center operates under the supervision of Faulkner’s Vice-President for Academic Affairs. Its Executive Committee is drawn from the College of Arts and Sciences. For more information, contact its director at jjewell@faulkner.edu.

On October 8, the center will host a public lecture by Mark David Hall, author of the forthcoming book Did America Have a Christian Founding? The lecture will take place at 2:00 p.m. in the Lester Chapel in the Harris-Parker building at the front of Faulkner’s campus. Montgomery-area residents are welcome to attend. The center will convene a faculty colloquium on the book in January in cooperation with Faulkner’s Institute of Faith and the Academy to discuss its implications for teaching and scholarship.