The University launched Mercer Lyceum in Fall 2011 to help channel existing lectures and events, as well as new ones, around a single theme. The initiative has been approved for four years, with two biennial cycles focusing on a single theme. The first theme is “Rebuilding Democracy” and will run from Fall 2011 to Spring 2013.
The Lyceum allows for more in-depth discussions and learning, while helping to create new partnerships among the many disciplines on Mercer’s campuses. The term lyceum is an ancient Greek term that dates to the creation of Aristotle’s famous philosophy school. Today, the term is used for any significant context designed for lectures and discussions about the most important issues affecting the life of the community. The Mercer Lyceum seeks to engage in those issues, and encourage Mercer students across the University to do so as well.
The “Rebuilding Democracy” theme was chosen in part to help educate students about the challenges facing American democracy – hyper partisanship, governmental gridlock, low voter turnout and weak understanding of constitutional democracy, as well as outside threats, such as the growing gap between rich and poor, a shrinking middle class and the decline of America’s influence in the world. The Lyceum will help to inform students about these issues, but also help to train them to become better citizens themselves by examining possible solutions to those issues. The intention is for those conversations to help them find ways to address those challenges both as citizens and as professionals in their chosen career fields.