Welcome to The Institute for Civic Virtue and the Common Good, a major new research center and initiative at Eastern University and the Templeton Honors College.

Liberty and the Good Society

Made possible by generous donors, the Institute was established to nurture and sustain free and humane citizens and their service to the common good. Its purpose is to cultivate open and honest inquiry into the fundamental virtues, truths, values, and habits required for human flourishing within a free and ordered society, while promoting quality interdisciplinary research and programs.

Human Dignity and the Good Life

The Institute will examine in particular the spiritual, moral, and cultural preconditions of free people and institutions in three major research areas: Freedom and the Good Economy, Liberty and the Good Society, and Human Dignity and the Good Life. The first major program, Citizenship and Civic Responsibility, examines the tensions between post-national or global citizenship and the responsibilities owed to local communities and institutions of representative democracy. The research program will result in lectures and colloquia in a variety of locations, including the Philadelphia region and Eastern University, research grants for Eastern University faculty, collaboration with other universities and organizations, and the publication of original research by Institute staff. The programs and research of the Institute were launched in 2011.

A growing body of research identifies a dramatic shift of citizen involvement and membership in voluntary organizations such as political parties, service clubs, houses of worship, civic groups, and local clubs. Traditionally, these institutions were thought to form civic virtue and pass on culture to individuals while acting as a bulwark of freedom for the individual against encroachment from the state. Further, republics such as ours depend upon citizens having civic or republican virtue so as to be capable of responsible and ordered self-government. Changing patterns of understanding and involvement in civic society will, then, bring about corresponding changes in how virtue is understood and engendered, how individuals relate to the state and what they expect the state to do, as well as understandings of freedom and ordered liberty.

The Institute for Civic Virtue and the Common Good seeks to understand these changes and their implications through interdisciplinary study, both theoretical and empirical. We also hold that human flourishing ought to be promoted and encouraged, and with our studies and findings we will become a leading voice for the promotion of the common good, particularly in the Boston-Washington, D.C., corridor. We also hold that the resources of faith are not inimical to the understanding or attainment of flourishing, but we expansively engage in all domains of inquiry without reservation. As such, we seek also to become the research center of note dealing with the role of faith in relation to civic virtue and the common good.