My honors research started from an interest in responding to the exploitative attitudes we see around us in our modern communities and cultures. With guidance from Dr. Mackler, it has grown into a much more expansive and personal offering than I could have imagined that first day I began reading articles for it. Drawing on a rich work of pedagogical theory recommended to me by Dr. Abby Kluchin (The Ignorant Schoolmaster by Jacques Rancière), it focuses first on what I call “intellectual access.” Developing an understanding of intellect that increases students’ confidence in their ability to access the intellectual world, I argue, is a central concern of modern education. To this, I add a second concern: spiritual access. Working with the ideas of Hanan A. Alexander and William James, this form of access argues that it is important students be able to bring their spiritual and religious selves fully into a schooling world that is often designed to keep those parts of them out. Finally, I contextualize these two access concerns by looking at their importance in our efforts to truly capture the goals of a democratic republic and respond to the lackluster state of American citizenship and communities. Overall, I argue that increasing the intellectual and spiritual access students believe they have is necessary for continuing to work towards the goals established by our country’s founders.
Matt has been accepted to law school at the University of Minnesota. He plans to focus on education law and related fields such as union and civil rights law.