Roosevelt Scholars Program

 “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”

                                                                                                 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Address at the University of Pennsylvania
September 20, 1940

Introduction

As Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt knew, democracy depends on fostering an active, informed citizenry, one which has been educated and encouraged to act beyond self-interest and consider the broader social good. Throughout the 20th century, educators considered it a given that the essential role of a liberal arts education—and the humanities in particular—was the explicit preparation of students to be responsible citizens in a democratic society.* Many scholars have gone even further. Martha Nussbaum at the University of Chicago has argued that humanities training is indispensable to maintaining viable democracies:

“Cultivated capacities for critical thinking and reflection are crucial in keeping democracies alive and wide awake. The ability to think well about a wide range of cultures, groups and nations in the context of a grasp of the global economy and the history of many national and group interactions is crucial in order to engage democracies to deal responsibly with the problems that we currently face as members of an interdependent world. And the ability to imagine the experience of another—a capacity almost all human beings possess in some form—needs to be greatly enhanced and refined if we are to have any hope of sustaining decent institutions across the many divisions that any modern society contains.”

Recently however, in the eyes of some in the higher education community—including prospective students, parents, policymakers, and some college administrators—the humanities and liberal arts have diminished in value. Since the Great Recession of 2008, students have been attracted at higher rates to fields in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in hopes of minimizing the risk of fewer job opportunities and lower financial returns, particularly as college tuition continues to rise. With the accelerating pace of technological change in the increasingly competitive and interdependent global economy, there has also been a national push to graduate students with a thorough understanding of STEM. This programming has become the focus of investments and initiatives in schools, government, nonprofits and corporations alike—conversely contributing in recent years to a national decline in the number of students pursuing humanities courses beyond general education requirements. (At Harvard, the percentage of humanities concentrators has dropped to about 16%.) Students of all demographics have been impacted, including low-income students who are the focus of this proposal. This current focus on STEM may lead many students to question the relevance and importance of the humanities and how they can be applied to real life. As a result, society risks being left with a shortage of individuals who are well equipped to address pressing social problems using lessons imparted by the humanities. Or, put another way, to quote educator Jan Liss, we may well suffer a dearth of “smart, informed people who are concerned with not making a living but rather making a life.”

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Foundation seeks to address this challenge by providing students with a humanities-driven framework for developing the knowledge, skills, values and professional connections necessary to pursue socially responsible work and increased civic engagement that will have the potential to last well beyond their time at Harvard. Students in this program will be exposed to a structured curriculum that combines readings from American history and philosophy, as well as screenings from film, which will provide continual reference to the many examples of how the Roosevelts addressed a wide array of social problems in the United States during the 1930s-1950s. Additionally, there will be an eight-week summer internship in which students will be paired by interest with a mentor from Harvard University’s Advanced Leadership Initiative to work together on a mentor’s chosen social improvement project. To be clear: our goal is not to shift students’ intended study paths. Rather, we wish to utilize our special program of history and humanities training to subtly alter the trajectory of the students’ chosen careers, so that empathy for others and a desire for public service arc throughout their entire working lives.

As a result of participating in this program, students will:

  • Develop an understanding of American History when FDR and ER had significant impacts on the fabric of U.S. society and beyond (1930s-1950s).
  • Develop an appreciation for the arts and humanities and their role in solving social issues (i.e., how history can be used to frame and address social problems of today).
  • Learn to frame creative and practical solutions to current and future social problems.
  • Develop a sense of civic self-efficacy (belief that one’s civic actions will lead to change). Civic self-efficacy has been shown to lead to life-long civic action.
  • Develop ongoing relationships among the Scholars cohort and ALI mentors that continue after the conclusion of the program year, giving students ongoing access to social support and networking opportunities similar to those provided by Harvard’s private clubs.

The participants in the program will be students from lower-income backgrounds who are receiving Harvard Financial Aid and engaged in work-study. The Foundation chose to focus on this population to address the documented barriers these students face in accessing resources and professional networks, barriers which diminish their ability for civic engagement and the doing of social good.   

Why Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt?

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world… Without concerted citizen action …we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.

                                                                                               –Eleanor Roosevelt
Remarks delivered at the United Nations
March 27, 1958

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, often working as partners and in concert with many others, sought solutions to problems that remain with us today: poverty and economic inequality, civil rights and voting rights, environmental degradation, conservation of natural resources, and—in the wake of World War II—a search for world peace and universal human rights. They both made mistakes. Still, they met their world with an unshakeable faith in the capacity of the American people to participate in democracy and triumph over adversity. They inspired in Americans a sense of faith, hope and charity that created a citizenry that not only met the challenges to democracy of the 1930s and 1940s, but also spread prosperity, democracy and internationalism around the post-war world.  They were optimists and instilled in others the sense that human problems can and must be solved.

Born into America’s aristocracy, ER and FDR shared a commitment to improving the general welfare, particularly for those less privileged. Far more than noblesse oblige, they believed there was a practical morality that obligated everyone—not just the privileged—to work to make the world a better place, and their lives exemplified this bond. The Foundation intends to use their example to reignite that model by immersing the students in the empathetic world-view of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt—where people achieve success by strengthening their communities, their country, and their planet, and through that, themselves.

 

The Roosevelt Scholar Program (RSP)

Research literature has demonstrated that there is a relationship between family socioeconomic status and adolescent civic engagement. Adolescents who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are less likely to come from families that are civically engaged, and that can serve as role models in this area; they are less likely to receive civic education; they have fewer developed civic skills; and they are less likely to be confident in their ability to effect social and political change as adults. It is clear that these incoming Harvard students would greatly benefit from opportunities to develop these skills through mentorship and to make the professional connections that will help them put their ideals into action—in short, they need to overcome what has been termed the “civic engagement gap.”

In winning a place at Harvard, first-generation and lower-income students have already shown a superior sense of drive and dedication by surmounting obstacles not faced by their wealthier peers. What then would happen if a select subset of this group were immersed in a deep-dive of studies that (1) presents them with models for positive political and social engagement, (2) reinforces the necessity of their active civic participation in support of democracy, (3) encourages them to expand their conceptions of empathy and altruism and provides the means to do so, and (4) offers them an unparalleled opportunity to expand and advance their chosen career path while maintaining a commitment towards making the world a better place? Thus, the Roosevelt Scholars Program.

Program Description

In late December of each year, a committee of Harvard faculty and administrators will select fifteen members of the then-current Harvard freshman class to become “Roosevelt Scholars.” (This designation is deliberate, acknowledging the legacies of both Franklin and Eleanor.) These Scholars will come from diverse backgrounds, but will share a single requirement: that they receive financial aid from Harvard and must contribute a specified dollar amount to the cost of their education by working during the school year and summer recess. The Foundation will provide one-year stipends for these fifteen Scholars in the amount of those contributions, thereby freeing them from their job requirement during their freshman spring semester, their first summer as a Harvard student, and sophomore fall semester. In return, they will dedicate eight to ten hours per week in those two semesters, and a summer internship to programming and activities devised by the Foundation.

During their freshman spring semester, the Scholars will spend those eight to ten hours per week in seminars and colloquia designed by the Foundation, to elucidate the history and legacy of Franklin and Eleanor, particularly their exemplary record of public service; to provide intimate learning opportunities with world-renowned experts who will introduce the Scholars to the interconnectivity of the humanities; and to facilitate one-on-one time with world-thought leaders to better understand the issues confronting our interwoven global existence.  (A proposed allocation of this academic time is shown in Appendix A. Sample topics and leaders for these seminars are listed in Appendix B. Proposed evaluation methods are detailed in Appendix C. )

In April of their spring semester, Scholars will be introduced to the Fellows in the then-current cohort of the Advanced Leadership Initiative (“ALI”), the Foundation’s partner in this endeavor.  This remarkable program brings to the Harvard University campus each calendar year about 45 highly accomplished world leaders in all fields—including medicine, law, education, government service, entrepreneurship and social enterprise—who have chosen to apply their skills and practical life experience to help solve significant social problems and focus on public service in the next phase of their careers.

During the spring semester, those ALI Fellows who wish to commit to working with and mentoring a Scholar, and who have substantially developed their plans for solving the social problems they have chosen to address, will be selected as ALI Mentors and matched one-on-one with Scholars interested in the proposed projects of their mentors.

Over the course of the following summer, the Scholars will engage in meaningful work and research on these projects as directed by their ALI Mentors. In their sophomore fall semester, Scholars will continue their work with their ALI Mentors on their projects for 6-8 hours per week and attend guided tutorials arranged by the Foundation for 2 hours per week. The program will complete in December with a presentation by each Scholar on his or her mentor-guided project, which will serve as inspiration to the incoming Roosevelt Scholars cohort in the following year.

The Foundation will carefully monitor the development of each ALI Mentor/Scholar relationship to facilitate a meaningful long-term learning/mentorship experience for each Scholar. It is hoped (and to be encouraged) that these relationships continue throughout the Scholars’ undergraduate time at Harvard and beyond, providing an interconnected networking experience not unlike that of Harvard’s exclusive private clubs, though here based on merit rather than wealth or family connections.

We expect this mentoring program will create a small cadre of Scholar alumni who each year will enter all fields of endeavor with their perspectives sufficiently altered by their RSP experience so as to contribute just a little less to themselves, and, especially as their number grows, a great deal more to their fellow human beings.

 

Goals of the Roosevelt Scholars Program

  • Intellectual engagement with the arts and humanities will enrich the Scholars’ lived experiences.
  • Engagement with thought leaders on contemporary issues will encourage Scholars to frame their own creative and practical solutions to social problems.
  • Project work with the ALI Fellows will build practical problem-solving skills.
  • Personal engagement with the ALI Fellows will inaugurate a mentor-mentee relationship that continues after the conclusion of the program year, giving the Scholars unparalleled access to career networking opportunities, similar to those provided by Harvard’s private clubs. • Succeeding cohorts of Roosevelt Scholars will build a network for future collaboration and the application of the principles of engaged humanism to the public good.

 

Potential for Replication

Other prestigious colleges and universities across the country sponsor post-career leadership programs similar to Harvard’s ALI. The RSP is envisioned as a model for other programs seeking to reintroduce the concept of active humanism and the public good to undergraduate education, as well as providing unparalleled opportunities for inter-generational learning and mentorship.

About the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Foundation

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Foundation is based at Adams House, Harvard University and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that builds on the legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt to address pressing domestic and international problems. Through active cross-disciplinary collaboration between policy-shapers, scholars and students, we seek to introduce tomorrow’s decision-makers to the New Deal philosophy that inspired the most effective and long-lasting reforms of that era:  bold, persistent experimentation and, above all, harnessing the power of hope to promote a spirit of social cooperation and activism.

Our current initiatives focus on:

  • impacts of climate change and automation on high-risk populations
  • threats to democracy across the globe
  • dangers of rising American isolationism
  • building a thoughtful and creative citizenry to better address the disruptions of the 21st century

The FDR Foundation is uniquely positioned to achieve its mission because of our location at the center of one of the most vibrant intellectual communities on the planet: Harvard University. In addition to being able to tap renowned experts in almost every imaginable field of endeavor, each year some 1,500 of the world’s most talented undergraduates arrive at our doors, able to carry the Roosevelts’ message of intellectual vigor, compassion and hope to towns and cities in every nation on earth—but only if they are exposed to it.

While we celebrate the lives of two famous Democrats, we believe the leadership evinced by Eleanor and Franklin transcends party lines, and we count supporters from both major parties in our ranks. Although located at Harvard, we receive only in-kind support from Harvard University. Our activities to date have been entirely funded by individuals and organizations that believe in what we do, and we truly need your help to continue our mission as we seek to develop the Roosevelt Scholars Program.

 

Roosevelt Scholars Program Development Committee 

Jennifer Childs-Roshak, MD – Director, Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts

Kathleen Colemen – James Loeb Professor of Classics, Harvard University

Henry Louis Gates – Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University

Robert Heckart – Senior Fellow Harvard University 2016 Advanced Leadership Initiative; Treasurer, FDR Foundation; Senior Counsel, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

David Huebner – Former United States Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa;  Partner at Arnold and Porter, LLP

Martin Karplus – Theodore William Richards Professor of Chemistry, emeritus at Harvard University, Emeritus; Nobel Laureate, Harvard University

Robert Kiely – Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Professor of English, Emeritus; former Faculty Dean of Adams House, Harvard University

Cynthia M. Koch, PhD – Resident Historian, FDR Foundation; Past Director, FDR Presidential Library

Michael McCormick – Francis Goelet Professor of Medieval History; Chair, Science of the Human Past, Harvard University

Judy Palfrey MD – Faculty Dean of Adams House; T. Berry Brazelton Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Sean Palfrey MD – Faculty Dean of Adams House; Professor of Medicine, Boston University

Paul Revel – Francis Keppel Professor of Practice of Educational Policy and Administration; Founding Director, Education Redesign Lab, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

Hugh Blair-Smith – Spacecraft Computer Scientist; Author

Aubrey Threlkeld, PhD – Educational Consultant; Lecturer, Harvard University

 

References

Throughout the 20th century,  it was considered a given that the essential role of a liberal arts education – and the humanities in particular – was the explicit preparation of students to be responsible citizens in a democratic society (American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2013; Delbanco, 2012; Holm, Jarrick & Scott, 2015).

Many scholars have gone even further. Martha Nussbaum at the University of Chicago has argued that humanities training is indispensable to maintaining viable democracies: Nussbaum, M. C. (2010). Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities. Princeton N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Since the Great Recession of 2008, students have been attracted at higher rates to fields in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in hopes of minimizing the risk of fewer job opportunities and lower financial returns, particularly as college tuition continues to rise. (Berman, 2013; Harvard University, Arts and Humanities Division, 2013; Heiland & Huber, 2014). With the accelerating pace of technological change in the increasingly competitive and interdependent global economy, there has also been a national push to graduate students with a thorough understanding of STEM (American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2013; Delbanco, 2012; Ossola, 2014).

Develop a sense of civic self-efficacy (belief that one’s civic actions will lead to change). Civic self-efficacy has been shown to lead to life-long civic action (Littenberh-Tobias & Cohen, 2016)

This gap stems from differences in groups with respect to access to resources and professional networks, as well as documented lower levels of civic self-efficacy, all of which create barriers to entry to resources for doing social good (Lechner, Pavolva, Sortheix, Silbereisen & Salmela-Aro, 2017; Litterberg-Tobias & Cohen, 2016).

Adolescents who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are less likely to come from families that are civically engaged; and can serve as role models in that area; are less likely to receive civic education; have fewer developed civic skills; and are less likely to be confident in their ability to effect social and political change as adults. (Lechner, Pavolva, Sortheix, Silbereisen & Salmela-Aro, 2017; Litterberg-Tobias & Cohen, 2016).

 

 

Berman, RA. (2013). Humanist: Heal Thyself. Chronicle of Higher Education, June 10. Available at Http://chronicle.com/blogs/conversation/2013/06/10/humanist-heal-thyself/ (accessed 11 July 2018).

Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences (2013). The Heart of the Matter: the humanities and Social Sciences for a Vibrant, Competitive, and Secure Nation. Cambridge, MA: American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Available at: http://www.humanitiescom.org/_pdf/hss_report.pdf. (accessed 11 July 2018).

Delbanco, A. (2012). College: What it was, is, and should be (Vol. 25). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Harvard University, Arts and Humanities Division (2013). The Teaching of the Arts and Humanities at Harvard College: Mapping the Future. Cambridge, MA: Harvard mapping_the_future_31_may_2013.pdf. (accessed 11 July 2018).

Heiland, D. and Huber, M.T. (2014). Calls to action for arts and humanities in the US. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education. 13 (9-16).

Holm, P., Jarrick, A., & Scott, D. (2014). Humanities world report 2015. Springer.

Lechner, C. M., Pavlova, M. K., Sortheix, F. M., Silbereisen, R. K., & Salmela-Aro, K. (2017). Unpacking the link between family socioeconomic status and civic engagement during the transition to adulthood: Do work values play a role? Applied Developmental Science, 1-14.

Liss, J. (2009). Making the Case for the Humanities and Social Responsibly. www.projectpericles.org/projectpericles/news_events. (accessed 11 July 2018).

Littenberg‐Tobias, J., & Cohen, A. K. (2016). Diverging paths: Understanding racial differences in civic engagement among White, African American, and Latina/o adolescents using structural equation modeling. American journal of community psychology, 57(1-2), 102-117.

Nussbaum, M. C. (2010). Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities. Princeton N.J.: Princeton University Press.

 

Appendix A

Spring Academic Syllabus 

Overview: The academic portion of the RSP year is designed to give Scholars a thorough grounding in the most formative period of the 20th century, with an emphasis on how these events continue to shape the world today—and will shape that of tomorrow. That being said, the goal is not the accumulation of passive historical knowledge. Rather, the intent is to demonstrate how history may be wielded as an effective tool, fostering critical understanding of past successes and failures that can embolden by example, empowering our Scholars to seek imaginative new ways to tackle the problems of the future.

 

Format:

12 weeks

Each week:

2.5 hours reading

3 hours seminar

3 hours cultural activity

1.5 hours Friday lunch speaker

 

Pre-course
Scholars will watch Ken Burns’ The Roosevelts (14 hours) during winter break and intercession to provide general historical context.

 

Theme One: The Great Depression: Explorations of Inequality
Four weeks:

  1. Historical Introduction to the Great Depression
  2. The Dustbowl and the Impact of Human-Caused Environmental Disasters
  3. “Above All Try Something”: Experimentation and Economics
  4. Race and the Great Depression

 

Theme Two: The Fragility of Democracy
Four weeks:

  1. Introduction: The Roots of Liberal Democracy
  2. Interwar Years—Challenges to Liberalism: Communism, Fascism, Colonialism
  3. America’s Role in WWI and II as a Fight for Democracy
  4. Current Dangers

 

Theme Three: The Roosevelts and the Post-War Order
Four weeks:

  1. Introduction: The Roosevelts’ Post-War Vision
  2. Eleanor Roosevelt & the Promise of the Declaration of Human Rights
  3. Dismantling the Vision of an International World Order
  4. Reinventing the Vision: Possibilities and Promise

 

 

Appendix B


Sample Weekly Syllabi
Week Two of Theme One: The Great Depression: Explorations of Inequality
The Dustbowl and the Impact of Human-Caused Climate Change

Reading: James Agee and Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.  Scholars will read selections from the classic field notes and view photographs of three tenant families in the rural South during the Dust Bowl  — 3 hours
Visual Media: Movie: The Grapes of Wrath (1940John Ford’s movie-version of Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel.  — 2 hours
Seminar (Lecture and Discussion):  Michael Weishan, “The Dustbowl” power point; Cynthia Koch, “AAA: The New Deal Roots of Agribusiness.” —  3 hours
Friday Luncheon (Lecture and Discussion): “Poverty and Democracy: Modern India and the U.S.”                                                                                                                                                
Weekly Digest and Conversation       (Optional after lunch)
Online review and test to be taken before Saturday noon  — .5 hour

 

Sample Weekly Syllabi
Week One of Theme Two: The Fragility of Democracy
The Roots of Liberal Democracy

Reading: Selections from Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Politics, John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government (second treatise), and the Declaration of Independence. —  3 hours
Visual Media: Movie: “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939)  How government for the people was supposed to work.              — 2 hours
Seminar (Lecture and Discussion): Jed Willard: “Ancient and Modern Roots of Liberal Democracy”   —    3  hours
Friday Luncheon (Lecture and Discussion):  Yascha Mounk: “Does Liberal Democracy Have a Future?”    —  1.5 hours       
Weekly Digest and Conversation      (Optional after lunch)
Online review and test to be taken before Saturday noon —  .5 hour


Sample Weekly Syllabi
Week Two of Theme Three: The Roosevelts and the Post-War World Order
Eleanor Roosevelt and the Promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Reading: Mary Ann Glendon, A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, preface- chap. 3; chap. 9-epilogue. —   3 hours 
Visual Media: “Judgment at Nuremberg” (1961) Spencer Tracy and the fight for justice post WWII. —  2 hours
Seminar (Lecture and Discussion): Cynthia Koch: “Eleanor Roosevelt: First Lady of the United Nations”—3 hours
Friday Luncheon (Lecture and Discussion):  Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: “Women Leading the Way”  —1.5 hours        
Weekly Digest and Conversation  (Optional after lunch)
Online review and test to be taken before Saturday noon— .5 hour

 

Appendix C

Evaluation Design and Metrics

In order to evaluate the new Roosevelt Scholars Program, a mixed-method research design will be utilized incorporating both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analyses. This evaluation will be conducted under the direction of Dr. Jenny Bergeron, Director of Educational Research and Evaluation at the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning and her research team, Jeff Solomon and Courtney Hall.

The evaluation will focus on program implementation and both the RSP’s short-term and long-term impacts. This information will provide data-based answers to the following questions:

Formative evaluation: Is the RSP being implemented as anticipated, according to the views of Scholars, RSP staff, and Mentors? Are there any changes that need to be made? What are the facilitators and barriers to implementation described by RSP staff and participants (both Scholars and Mentors)? How well has the pairing strategy worked? What are the dynamics between Scholars and Mentors like? What facilitators and barriers do Scholars and Mentors report, respectively? What changes need to be made to how Scholar-Mentor dyads are put together, if any?

Summative evaluation: To what extent will participation in the program result in: Scholars’ perceived sense of community among one another and with Mentors; an increased perceived sense of civic-self-efficacy; greater civic engagement; and an understanding of, and appreciation for, the relevance of the humanities—as covered in the program curriculum—to contemporary social problems? What are Scholars’ interests in pursuing an honors thesis and additional service learning opportunities, both at the beginning of the program and at the end of the program? Have these interests increased as a result of participating in the program? How has the program influenced Scholars’ post-graduate and career plans? How has the RSP affected Mentors’ attitudes toward their own professional work and their interest in working with additional students in a mentoring capacity?

Multiple methods of data gathering at multiple time points will allow for validation of study results, based on triangulation of methods and data sources. Quasi-experimental design approaches will be used where feasible.  For the undergraduate population, we will rely on a natural comparison group: students from low-income backgrounds who are selected and yet choose not to participate in the program.

  1. Input Data

Undergraduate Application Survey: To collect information on potential participants’ background characteristics, perceived civic self-efficacy and engagement, future plans and program expectations, an application survey will be administered to all applicants interested in participating in the program.

Undergraduate Background Variables: Admissions data will be collected to control for student background characteristics. This will be collected from the Office of Institutional Research and will include: 1) academic background characteristics such as GPA, test scores (i.e., SAT, verbal, analytic, and/or quantitative scores); 2) participation in service learning; 3) financial aid; 4) post-graduate/career expectations; and 4) other student background characteristics such as gender, race/ethnicity, and highest educational attainment of mother and/or father.

Mentor Application Survey: We will also elicit from Mentors what their pre-program expectations were for the mentoring relationship and its outcomes, their motivations for serving in a mentor capacity, and how their participation relates to their broader professional and personal objectives.

  1. Implementation

Formative evaluations: We will conduct formative evaluations to monitor and evaluate program implementation. This will include student exit surveys and focus groups each year to evaluate training, professional socialization opportunities, and mentoring experiences.

The focus groups will address participants’ views (both Scholars and Mentors) of how the program is being implemented, and the various effects the program might be having on them. Focus groups will be conducted towards the end of the program.

Moreover, we will assess Mentors’ views on how well they were matched with students, the extent to which they found their work with students both satisfying and successful, and what recommended changes they might have for the role of Mentors in subsequent iterations of the program.

To gage the perspective of RSP staff who are implementing the program, we will have ongoing conversations with them. Following each of these conversations we will document key points pertaining to how the program is running from their perspective.

III. Outcomes

Short-term outcomes: We will evaluate via a student exit survey Scholars’ perceived social and support; changes in student civic self-efficacy, and their appreciation for studying the past through historical examples and ethics/political philosophy (i.e., humanities) in helping to understand present social issues.

From the Harvard-wide Undergraduate Student Exit Survey we will evaluate student participation in service learning opportunities while at Harvard, completion of an Honor’s thesis and postgraduate plans/career placement.

We will also assess the potential transformative impact of the Mentors’ mentoring experiences on their approach to their own professional and civic involvement, their connection to Harvard University and their motivation to work with additional groups of students.

Long-term outcomes: To evaluate the program’s long-term outcomes, Scholar alumni surveys will be administered one and five years after graduation, to learn about their educational and career paths and civic engagement.

How Marguerite LeHand Shaped the Franklin D. Roosevelt White House

During the New Deal, Eleanor Roosevelt redefined the role of first lady and Frances Perkins broke ground as the first woman in the cabinet. And then there was Marguerite LeHand, whose official position was personal secretary to the president, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

But a new book, Kathryn Smith’s “The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership That Defined a Presidency,” and the private letters and other documents on which it is in part based, reveal that LeHand’s unceremonious title masked the outsize role she played. (Just like Perkins, she was a secretary, as most people understand the job title, in name only.)

LeHand was also Roosevelt’s companion, confidante, adviser and hostess at the White House and at Warm Springs, in Georgia. She counseled him on cabinet and court appointments and was the only staff member who referred to him as “F.D.” She also, at times, had the sole authority to forward a call at night to his bedroom, as she did when her fiancé, Ambassador William C. Bullitt Jr., telephoned from Europe in 1939 to report that Germany had invaded Poland.

Read More in the New York Times

Conference: “The End of a Dream”: Harvard, Imperialism, and the Spanish American War 12/1

“We are now engaged in cursing out the sacredest  thing in this great human world — the attempt of a people long enslaved to attain freedom and work out its own destiny.”  William James

“America has lost her unique position as a leader in the progress of civilization, and has taken up her place simply as one of the grasping and selfish nations of the present day.”  Charles Eliot Norton

We are false to all we have believed in. This great free land which for more than a century has offered a refuge to the oppressed of every land, has now turned to oppression.” Moorfield Storey

It has been a splendid little war, begun with the highest motives, carried on with magnificent intelligence and spirit, favored by that Fortune which loves the brave.”  Secretary of State John Hay to Theodore Roosevelt

The Spanish American War, Harvard, & the Rise of American Empire

The Spanish American War of 1898 lasted barely ten weeks and is largely forgotten today, but the conflict was one of those rare nexus points in history that shaped the destiny of four continents. In Spain, the sudden loss of almost all colonial territories generated a national crisis of confidence that set the stage for the Spanish Civil War. In the Caribbean, Cuba began the long journey to Castro and beyond. Puerto Rico half-lurched into the American confederacy — its future still not resolved today. In the Pacific, the US became an uncomfortable colonial power in the Philippines, ostensibly under the banner of high altruism, but in reality motivated by poorly disguised commercial and strategic interests — a fact not lost on Harvard academics like Charles Eliot Norton and William James, who mourned the war as the end of the American dream. TR and his Great White Fleet, the naval race between Great Britain and Germany, the Panama Canal, FDR’s views on naval power and US involvement in WWI and WII, the rise of modern journalism, even the role of Harvard as a center of global policy — all these and many other seemingly unrelated events can trace their origins directly back to a fateful day in April of 1898.

Join us on the 120th anniversary of the Spanish American War as the Foundation takes a multi-disciplinary look back at ten weeks that forever changed the modern world.

 

Fireside Chat: First Feminist? Eleanor Roosevelt and Women’s Rights 11/6

When her husband came out for women’s suffrage in 1911, Eleanor Roosevelt proclaimed herself “somewhat shocked as I had never given the question serious thought.” She was never a member of the Woman Suffrage Party, yet she was an avid supporter of the Women’s Trade Union League and the League of Women Voters. In the 1920s she opposed the Equal Rights Amendment, led by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman. In her first book, Its Up to the Women, published in 1933 as her husband assumed the presidency, Roosevelt wrote that she was not interested in the abstract idea of equality with men. It did not really improve women’s ability to change society. So, was Eleanor Roosevelt a feminist? Or something else?

 

About the speaker: CYNTHIA M. KOCH is Historian in Residence and Director of History Programing for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Foundation at Adams House, Harvard University. She was Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York (1999-2011) and subsequently Senior Adviser to the Office of Presidential Libraries, National Archives, Washington, D.C. From 2013-16 she was Public Historian in Residence at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY where she taught courses in public history and Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Her most recent publications are “They Hated Eleanor, Too,” “Hillary R[oosevelt] Clinton,” “Demagogues and Democracy,” and “Democracy and the Election” are published online by the FDR Foundation http://fdrfoundation.org/.

Previously Dr. Koch was Associate Director of the Penn National Commission on Society, Culture and Community, a national public policy research group at the University of Pennsylvania. She served as Executive Director (1993-1997) of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was Director (1979-1993) of the National Historic Landmark Old Barracks Museum in Trenton, New Jersey.

7 PM, FDR Suite (B-17), Adams House

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His Bravery Unsung, Varian Fry Acted to Save Jews

The American journalist Varian Fry in 1967. He helped artists like Marc Chagall and Marcel Duchamp escape the Nazis during World War II

In June of 1935, two years after the German government falsely portrayed the burning of the Reichstag as a Communist plot to overthrow the state and just at the moment that it had banned all but “Aryans’’ from serving in the military and made homosexuality a crime, Varian Fry, a young Manhattan editor who was preparing to take over a magazine called The Living Age, traveled to Berlin.

About one month into his stay, he witnessed a night of gruesome rioting in which Jews were kicked, bloodied and spat on, leaving him to provide one of the earliest accounts of Nazi cruelties in the American news media. Relaying his observations to The Associated Press, Fry remarked that the police “nowhere’’ seemed “to make any effort whatever to save victims from this brutality.’’ Occasionally, he said, “they attempted to clear areas for motor traffic,’’ or to keep people from congregating in front of beloved cafes, but “that was all.’’ The crowds — made up of people young and old, well-bred-looking and common — chanting “‘The best Jew is a dead Jew,’” he continued, conducted themselves as if “in holiday mood….’’

Read more in the New York Times