Sheffield Gift Celebrates and Supports Basic Program Instructors
An extraordinary gift from Hope and Jeff Sheffield is helping to support Basic Program instruction.
In an exceptional expression of support for the University of Chicago Graham School’s Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults, Hope and Jeffrey Sheffield made a generous donation to the Basic Program endowment. The gift ensures the program’s commitment to instructors by providing secured funding for several teaching positions.
Noting the difficulties encountered by adjunct instructors today, who often teach at multiple institutions on short-term contracts lacking benefits and stability, this gift funds part-time instructor positions that provide health benefits. Hope stressed the importance of the instructors to the programs experience and her desire to ensure that talented scholars continue to teach and join the program.
“The instructors are just amazing,” said Hope, a 2008 graduate of the Basic Program and a long-time continuing student. “They are committed, incredibly knowledgeable, and generous-spirited. I felt that they were key to the program’s success and all that I was learning and enjoying. We wanted to do something that could benefit their lives and ensure that the Basic Program would continue to be an attractive destination for their talents.”
The focus on instructor support sets the Sheffield gift apart from others, identifying an increasingly important area for future fundraising. Basic Program instructors have already benefitted from the gift, which has helped create part-time teaching opportunities, expanded the roles of instructors, and allowed instructors to increase their teaching in the Basic Program core curriculum while also developing new alumni courses for continuing students.
The instructors are just amazing. They are committed, incredibly knowledgeable, and generous-spirited. I felt that they were key to the program’s success and all that I was learning and enjoying.
“We are honored and exceptionally happy that Hope and Jeff selected the Basic Program Endowment for their generous donation,” said Zoe Eisenman, director of academics at the Graham School and former Cyril O. Houle Chair of the Basic Program. “Their support provides a thriving future for the program and its instructors. This gift allowed us to fund new positions, enabling the Basic Program to provide a more secure form of support to our outstanding instructors, which will in turn enhance the course experience of our students.”
The Basic Program is a 76-year-old program of the Graham School that focuses on nuanced and prolonged study of the great books. The Program gives lifelong learners the opportunity to deeply engage with an intellectual community of learners and to participate in a four-year liberal arts curriculum that draws on the University of Chicago’s strong Socratic tradition.