BGSU receives $1.6 million grant to grow PPEL program

Money from the Charles Koch Foundation to expand the Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law Program

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Bowling Green State University has received a $1.6 million program grant from the Charles Koch Foundation to expand the Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law (PPEL) program, which is one of the fastest growing majors at the University.

"We are grateful to the Charles Koch Foundation for this generous gift that allows BGSU to expand PPEL but also create more robust experiential-focused learning opportunities for our students," said Dr. Raymond Craig, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "Expanding these multidisciplinary opportunities will lead to a rich and innovative teaching, learning and research environment."

The PPEL program and minor was established in 2014; the major in 2017. PPEL brings together distinct disciplines and provides students with an integrated curriculum, drawing on methods and insights of philosophy, political science and economics. PPEL students must grapple with the moral and historical bases of political and economic life; the program prepares these students to apply rigorous analytic thinking skills and problem-solving skills, which are so important regardless of career path graduates choose.

The grant will fund two new faculty positions for the next six years, support various conferences and speaker series as well as the PPEL Club, which gives students an opportunity to explore topics in philosophy, politics, economics, and law with their peers outside of class. The enrichment opportunities will foster critical reflection on the production, maintenance and interaction of social, political, legal and economic institutions, and help students build the analytical abilities they need to address difficult questions more effectively.

Fifty-eight students are currently enrolled for fall 2019 classes across the pre-PPEL program, major and minor; 11 new students are expected to enroll. While they pursue their degree, students will have opportunities in both the public and private sector, to explore advocacy efforts and international and domestic internships in a variety of industries.

Graduates of the program have a variety of options to pursue including law school, policymaking and analysis, government careers — both domestic and abroad — journalism, business and entrepreneurship.

"We are excited to support this program, which prepares students to deal with the difficult questions they will encounter in the workplace and in society," said Ryan Stowers, executive director of the Charles Koch Foundation. "Through a multidisciplinary approach that encourages students to consider different perspectives, the PPEL program also will help students learn about themselves, identify their aptitudes and refine their critical-thinking skills."

The Charles Koch Foundation supports educational programs that enhance students' ability to develop their talents to engage in a rapidly developing world and funds research in areas such as criminal justice and policing reform, free expression, foreign policy, economic opportunity and innovation.