David Brooks Challenge Inspires Student Essays in Coursework

An upcoming campus lecture by author and New York Times columnist David Brooks has inspired a campus-wide writing “challenge” issued by Dominican’s Institute for Leadership Studies and the Department of Political Science and International Studies.

David Brooks will visit Dominican on May 2 to discuss his latest book The Second Mountain. His visit is part of the University’s popular Leadership Lecture Series
The David Brooks Challenge was the idea of political science professor Alison Howard, who uses articles by Brooks in her courses to help her students connect the abstract theories and concepts covered in political science to current policy debates.

“With an emphasis on deliberation and reaching consensus in many of his columns, David Brooks shares his insights about what he believes has worked well and what hasn’t in the past, present, and what is possible for the future,” Howard says. “Most importantly he reminds all of us of the importance of discussing and debating different views about policy issues in order to find constructive solutions to current and future problems.”

Open to students in all majors, students are being challenged to find a column or book excerpt by Brooks that connects to their coursework, interests, or life in general. Then, they must write a short essay—no more than three double-spaced pages—that connects his work with their life, major, interests, or something they have experienced while in college.

The winners will meet and have their photo taken with David Brooks when he visits Dominican. They also will receive priority seating for the lecture.
Howard believes that Brooks’ work resonates well with students as he avoids partisanship while focusing on how people can take an active part in ending injustices and bringing about change.

“I try to teach my students that the political process should not be thought of as an arena for corruption and misdeeds, but as a place where marvelous things can and have happened,” she says.

“Democracy requires participation and sadly too few in our country find politics interesting. The cynicism that I try to combat every day is lessened when I people like David Brooks offer their thoughts about our political system and society in general.”

Essays must be submitted to Alison Howard, Alison.howard@dominican.edu, by April 17. Winners will be notified by April 25, 2019.

In The Second Mountain, Brooks explores the four commitments that define a life of meaning and purpose. The lecture is sponsored by the Institute for Leadership Studies in the Barowsky School of Business in partnership with Book Passage.


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