New research center to start next fall

What do civic virtue, the common good and freedom have in common? According to the newly created Institute for Civic Virtue and the Common Good, these three things should have a great deal of similarity.

The Institute is a new research center housed at Eastern and the Templeton Honors College. Their web press release says that the Institute’s purpose “is to cultivate open and honest inquiry into the fundamental virtues, truths, values and habits required for human flourishing within a free and ordered society.”

Dr. R. J. Snell is the Interim Director of the Institute, as well as the Director of the Philosophy department at Eastern. He is working closely with Eastern’s president, chancellor and provost to make sure the program begins smoothly. 

According to Dr. Snell, the Institute’s main goal will be to offer research colloquia and grants to students and faculty who want to apply to the program. 

However, the Institute is not just about research. It will also host conferences and lectures, give opportunities to participate in essay contests and offer connections to internships and off-campus jobs. Two new faculty members will be hired for the THC and the College of Arts and Sciences at no cost to the university. 

All of this is possible thanks to a generous contribution from an anonymous donor which was given to Eastern in August.

The decision to create the Institute was based on Eastern’s concern for social justice, especially in the field of freedom and liberty in society. The Institute hopes “to become the research center of note dealing with the role of faith in relation to civic virtue and the common good.” 

“There’s a main question for the Institute,” Dr. Snell said. “How do we remain a free and ordered society within the Christian faith?” 

Currently, the Institute is set to begin next fall, but early networks for internships and lectures will be offered sometime in the Spring semester.

For more information, contact Dr. Snell at

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