Hendrix College Associate Professor of Politics Dr. Peter Gess has
received an Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation (ENACT) Faculty
Fellowship. ENACT, a program of the International Center for Ethics, Justice
and Public Life at Brandeis University, engages undergraduates across the
United States in state-level legislative change. Twenty-nine colleges and
universities across the United States currently offer ENACT courses.
As an ENACT
Fellow, Gess has made the commitment to teach an ENACT course at least twice in
the next four academic years. The ENACT course Hendrix College offers is
Arkansas Politics, which is scheduled to coincide with the regular session of
the Arkansas Legislature in 2021 and 2023.
Gess, who also
serves as associate provost for engaged learning and director of international programs
for the College, says ENACT presents an experience very much in keeping with
the Hendrix Odyssey Program.
learning about Arkansas politics and the legislative process, students have the
opportunity to experience all things state legislature,” he said. “They
research and develop policy, advocate and lobby for it, and network with
various organizations doing policy work in the state. I think it is very
important today—when it is easy to be cynical about the state of affairs at the
national level—for students to see that they can make a difference. It’s great
hands-on experience for those interested in careers in policymaking or
politics, of course, but also a great experience for anyone wanting to become
more engaged as a citizen.”
Gess and other
ENACT Fellows from across the U.S. will attend a workshop this summer at
Brandeis University to prepare for engaging their students in seeking
opportunities for legislative change at the state level.
“I am really
looking forward to learning from others in my cohort, workshopping ideas with
them, offering ideas and support, and learning from the vast experience of the
network,” Gess said. “Ultimately, this will help me become a better teacher in
the classroom, and more importantly, help our students apply classroom
knowledge to real opportunities to affect governance in the state. There is a
real need for young people in Arkansas to commit to making a difference.”
Gess already has
experience working with members of the executive branch because of the time he
spends training state government officials through the Arkansas Public
Administration Consortium. The ENACT Fellowship means he will work more closely
with the legislative branch to provide engaged learning experiences for Hendrix
“Along with coursework, students will undertake a practicum (internship) to work with an agency or organization advocating for policy changes. The support I get from the ENACT network will help me offer the best possible course-practicum experience for our students,” he said.
A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit www.hendrix.edu.