Sewanee Receives $1.1. Million Templeton Grant To Study Essay Contest

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The University of the South, familiarly known as Sewanee, has been awarded a grant by the John Templeton Foundation to study the Laws of Life Essay Contest. The award of more than $1.1 million will allow principal investigator Sherry Hamby, research associate professor in the Department of Psychology, to conduct a comprehensive mixed-methods evaluation of the essay contest.

The Laws of Life Essay Contest will be familiar to many people who either participated as students or have children who participated in the contest. The contest originated in Franklin County, Tn., the home of Sir John Templeton. The Laws of Life are principles such as the Golden Rule or "honesty is the best policy." Students choose the Law of Life that has been most important to them and write an essay on how it has touched their lives.

The Laws of Life Essay Contest has now celebrated its 25th anniversary and has expanded across the world. More than 100,000 students participate every year. It is one of several Templeton Foundation projects to promote moral character development.

The research project will be the first-ever scientific evaluation of the essay contest. Considerable research on other types of expressive writing and journaling programs indicates that these writing experiences can have long-lasting positive effects. Hamby and co-investigators Victoria Banyard (University of New Hampshire) and John Grych (Marquette University) will talk with people of all ages who have participated in the Laws of Life Essay Contest, as well as with a comparison group of people who did not participate. The study might include as many as 3,000 people from Franklin County and surrounding Tennessee counties.

The researchers will assess a wide range of possible outcomes to provide a comprehensive assessment of the effects of writing the essay and how expressive writing on the Laws of Life might help people as they experience challenges in life.

Ms. Hamby sees benefits to the University of the South, through the involvement of students and alumni in the research, and to its surrounding community. “Most importantly,” she said, “we hope that the results of the project will provide new insight and impetus to efforts promoting positive character development among young people here and in other countries.”

Sewanee: The University of the South, familiarly known as Sewanee, comprises a nationally recognized College of Arts and Sciences and a distinguished School of Theology. Located on 13,000 acres in Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, Sewanee enrolls 1,500 undergraduates and approximately 100 seminarians. 


MathCounts Cancelled This Week

The e-week MathCounts event scheduled for  this Saturday  has been cancelled due to unforeseen schedule conflicts among the competing teams. Jeff Parris, organizer for this event, regrets any inconvenience this may cause those who had planned to help with the event. Jeff can be reached at  423-503-8766 . (click for more)

Lee University YAPD Grant Recipients Announced

The Office of Alumni Relations at Lee University has announced the winners of the second annual Young Alumni Professional Development Grant.  The YAPD Grant program supports alumni participating in initiatives, events, trainings and projects related to professional development. The grant is open to all Lee University alumni, regardless of academic major or professional experience, ... (click for more)

Underground Fire Closes Several Downtown Streets

An underground fire closed several downtown streets late Saturday afternoon. At approximately 5:20 p.m., the Chattanooga Fire Department responded to a reported fire in a man-hole at the corner of Chestnut Street and W. 8th Street. When fire companies arrived on the scene, they found black smoke coming from an underground electrical service line. The man-hole cover had been ... (click for more)

16-Year-Old Who Was Shot In The Head In East Ridge Dies

Monserrate Ferrer, the 16-year-old who was shot in East Ridge on Friday, has died. Investigators will meet early next week with the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office to discuss the case. The shooting that involved two juveniles was at the 4200 block of Bennett Road. Responding officers found a 16-year-old boy in the bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head. East ... (click for more)

The City Failed To Watch The Chattanooga History Museum Dollars

The tell tale signs of the History Museum's folly have been evident for years. When I was a former member of City Council I interviewed Dr. Daryl Black, Ph.D. to determine if I should argue for or against the annual funding of his organization. His interview, the multi-year history of administrative non-performance (despite consistent repetitive funding), and a review of the organizational ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Greenholtz: A No-Brainer

I am going to make this as simple as I possibly can. There are three fine lawyers now running for Criminal Court Judge and anywhere you go there will be people who like and admire Tom Greenholtz, Boyd Patterson and Mike Little. But when we select a judge, it should never be based on popularity. That’s why Gov. Haslam picked Greenholtz over both Little and Patterson this summer to ... (click for more)