UCI receives $1 million from the Templeton Foundation for the Anteater Virtues program | UCI News


Irvine California, July 19, 2022 – The University of California, Irvine has received a $1 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to expand its Anteater Virtues project, which promotes intellectual traits that help students become more curious, open-minded individuals. spirit and authentic.

UCI is the only research university in the United States to consistently embed curiosity, integrity, humility, and tenacity at the heart of its curriculum.

The brainchild of Duncan Pritchard, UCI Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Principal Investigator of the grant, Anteater Virtues is a series of faculty-led, interdisciplinary modules that focus on character growth through the study of these qualities. Pritchard launched the project as a pilot in 2019 with support from UCI’s Teaching Excellence and Innovation Division, and now the modules are integrated into the orientation and curriculum of campus undergraduate.

“I am delighted to see Anteater Virtues gaining this support from the Templeton Foundation,” said Michael Dennin, Dean of UCI’s Division of Undergraduate Education and Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning. , who was an early proponent of the program. “With the growth this funding allows, I expect to see more students positively impacted by this one-of-a-kind program.”

The grant enables Pritchard and co-principal investigators Richard Arum, professor of education and sociology at UCI and former dean of the School of Education, and Jason Baehr, professor of philosophy at Loyola Marymount University, to develop the series of modules and further assess its impact on undergraduate student success.

“Intellectual virtues promote ways of thinking, reasoning and seeking truth. Learning intellectual humility, for example, can build openness and respect for the opinions of others, while intellectual tenacity can improve students’ willingness to overcome intellectual obstacles,” Pritchard said. These skills are essential not only for academic pursuits, but also for navigating everyday life that is increasingly online and often riddled with misinformation and manipulation, he added.

Pritchard, together with a team of UCI researchers, will refine the existing curriculum and develop new advanced modules, such as “How to Deal with Disinformation in the Information Age”, which will offer cross-disciplinary perspectives on how to discern and respond to misinformation as deep – fake videos and online disinformation campaigns. A proposed series of capstone modules will combine specific disciplines, such as nursing and engineering, with virtues. The goal is to empower students to put into practice what they have learned about intellectual traits by addressing specific issues that arise in their chosen field of study.

Arum will lead the evaluation of the program. Building on the Mellon Foundation-funded Next Generation Undergraduate Success Measurement Project, on which Arum is the principal investigator, a group will evaluate the effectiveness of Anteater Virtues through a randomized controlled trial testing the utility of the intervention as well as the follow-up of the long-term effects associated with the school program.

“It is imperative to couple exciting educational innovations, such as Anteater Virtues, with ongoing rigorous research to track educational effectiveness,” Arum said.

Already, Anteater Virtues has shown promising results. A recent educational study found that students who completed the modules demonstrated greater intellectual growth than their peers, with this positive effect stable across all major demographic groups.

Pritchard, Arum and Baehr hope the expanded series will increase that success and impact a larger student population.

“The new modules will allow UCI students to progress through Anteater Virtues at the same time as they progress through their degree, bringing what they have learned about virtuous intellectual character to topics in their major’s discipline” , said Pritchard. “We hope that the deeper pedagogical study facilitated by this funding will further demonstrate the pedagogical effectiveness of bringing intellectual virtues to the core of higher education and thereby encourage other universities to introduce similar programs.”

The next phase of Anteater Virtues will launch this fall.

About the UCI’s Brilliant Future campaign: Launched publicly on October 4, 2019, the Brilliant Future campaign aims to raise awareness and support for the UCI. By engaging 75,000 alumni and raising $2 billion in philanthropic investments, UCI seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more . The School of Humanities and the School of Education play a vital role in the success of the campaign. Learn more at https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu/uci-school-of-humanities and https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu/school-of-education.

About University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the top 10 public universities in the nation by US News and World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, leading research, innovation, and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It is located in one of the safest and most vibrant communities in the world and is the second largest employer in Orange County, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion globally. of State. To learn more about the UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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