Teaching Initiatives

Please find below Bob Wright's 2010 report on the Class of 1972 Teaching Initiatives.

Teaching Initiative Report  - 2021

February 20, 2021

To:  Skip Rankin

From:  Bob Wright

Re:  Class of 1972 Teaching Initiatives

We are supporting two new spring courses this year, each on a one-time basis:

1. CLA 203, Professor Joshua H. Billings’ “What Is A Classic?” This is a new gateway course to the Classics Department, to be taught in regular rotation. The course presents a wide-ranging approach to the idea of a “classic” as a space for dialogue between Greco-Roman and other ancient traditions. It offers a new introduction to the discipline as it expands in synchronic and diachronic dimensions and seeks to counter the traditional exclusivity of the Classics by proposing a new, forward- and outward-looking approach.

2. FRE 348, Professor Gorän Blix’s “Democracy and Education”, offered in the French and Italian Department. This course looks at the relationship between education and democracy in Western nations since the French Revolution. How well were the radical ideals of the Enlightenment – notably, universal education – put into practice by post-revolutionary states? By studying literature and social science (in France and elsewhere) from Rousseau to Bourdieu, the course asks how schools prosper and fail, emancipate and discipline, and exclude and assimilate.

Dean Colaguiri reports that, consistent with the vast majority of spring semester courses, both courses are being conducted online, although Professor Billings hopes to convene some in-person meetings later in the spring as conditions improve. She told me both courses attracted good enrollment sizes for the digital format because all participants can fit on one Zoom page, which facilitates better discussion.

Through FY21 we have supported 23 courses (including two years’ support of one of those courses).




A Little History

The background: here.

Teaching Initiative Archive

Previously posted articles on the Teaching Initiative can be accessed here. These include:

  •      Bob Wright's on the letter to the Class on the Coursera initiative
  •      Doug Harrison's commentary on our first open course - Networks, Friends, Money, and Bytes
  •      Skip Rankin's letter from  2012 outlining the details of the initiative 
  •      Skip Rankin's letter from  2013 outlining the details of the initiative 

A tabulation of all Princeton Coursera offerings (including those sponsored by the Class of 72) can be found here: