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Drake selected for national Phi Beta Kappa program

The Phi Beta Kappa Key
The Phi Beta Kappa Key

Drake University is one of 11 colleges and universities selected to participate in “Deliberation About Things That Matter,” a series of events sponsored by the Phi Beta Kappa Society for teaching and learning deliberative skills through the discussion of major issues of meaning or value.


For 230 years, Phi Beta Kappa has advocated excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. “Deliberation About Things That Matter” emphasizes the first purpose of the society — to encourage the application of learning and scholarship in the examination of important topics.

“I’m thrilled that Drake was chosen as one of a few Universities across the nation to take part in this project because it shows confidence in Drake’s ability to connect groups across campus and thoughtfully explore the deliberation process,” said Lisa West, faculty adviser for Drake’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.


Events at Drake and the other participating campuses will be funded by a grant of $100,000 to the Phi Beta Kappa Society from the Teagle Foundation. The other colleges and universities selected for the program are Arizona State University, Carnegie Mellon University, Colorado College, Hendrix College, Hope College, Stetson University, Wabash College, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Vermont and Washington State University.

“A main goal is to work collaboratively with other groups on campus to explore deliberation as a style of learning,” said West, assistant professor of English. “Through this series of partnership events we will explore what deliberation is and how it contrasts with other ways of talking about informed decision making.” West said Drake would place special emphasis on the relationship between individual morality and the perception of ‘sound arguments.’


Drake’s first speaker in the series will be Morris P. Fiorina, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Wendt Family professor of political science at Stanford University.  He is scheduled to visit Drake Sept. 20-21. Several other speakers and events will follow, with more details to be announced this summer.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for both teachers and students,” West said. “Drake has a strong interest in exploratory pedagogy in the liberal arts. We see liberal arts as linked to citizenship as well as learning. This program will help us to develop that connection.”