Taussig Selected as Mellon Periclean Faculty Leader

Next fall, Ursinus students will partner with the Pottstown Mercury to publish a series on inequity in public schools under a new course taught by Doron Taussig, a visiting assistant professor in journalism, through the Mellon Periclean Faculty Leadership Program in the Humanities.

Project Pericles is a nonprofit organization that encourages and facilitates commitments by colleges and universities to include social responsibility and participatory citizenship as essential elements of their educational programs. Ursinus College is a founding member.

Earlier this year, the Mellon Foundation made a $500,000 commitment to Project Pericles to support a Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Program in the Humanities. In collaboration with community partners, Periclean Faculty Leaders create new courses across the humanities that incorporate community-based projects addressing six challenges: climate change, education access, immigration, mass incarceration, race and inequality, and voter engagement.

In Taussig’s course, Ursinus students “will research and produce multimedia journalism about the practical effects of public-school funding disparities in Pennsylvania, by interviewing administrators, teachers, parents and students in different school districts about their experiences in their neighborhood schools,” according to his proposal.

“We’re going to put our student journalists on this issue,” Taussig said. “We’re going to be developing stories and doing the reporting with Mercury reporters and our students will be producing professional-caliber journalism. It will help them understand how a news story fits into the larger narrative about the life of their community. Working on this project gives our students chance to immerse themselves in that and give them a first-hand look at an issue.”

During the spring 2019 semester, Taussig taught a solutions journalism course in which students investigated and reported in issues related to narcotics anonymous and Perkiomen Watershed cleanup. Their stories were also published in the Pottstown Mercury.

The PFL Program encourages campuses to incorporate civic engagement into the curriculum while empowering students to use their academic knowledge to tackle real-world problems. Project Pericles provides a $4,000 grant to each Periclean Faculty Leader. —By Ed Moorhouse