December 08, 2006

SIUC Dewey center gets new grants

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Center for Dewey Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale received an $85,000 grant from Michigan couple Donald F. Koch and Barbara Sawyer-Koch and a $10,000 grant from the Makiguchi Foundation for Education of Japan.

Scholars established the Center for Dewey Studies on the SIUC campus in 1961 to collect, edit and publish the works of America's quintessential philosopher-educator John Dewey (1859-1952). His philosophy of education focused on learning by doing rather than memorization. By virtue of its publications and research, the center is the international focal point for research on Dewey's life and work.

The center will use the Koch award to publish an edition of John Dewey's early lecture notes, taken by his former students.

"Don Koch is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of Dewey's early works, and therefore understands the importance of releasing a record of how Dewey's thought developed in the classroom in advance of the publication of some of his major works," said Larry A. Hickman, director of the center.

The Dewey Center works with Soka University in Tokyo and the Makiguchi Foundation for Education on a number of projects. Hickman said the Makiguchi grant "is a part of a cooperative venture that includes the establishment of a center for Dewey research in Japan."

During the last 12 years the center has helped found centers for research into the life and work of Dewey in China, Germany, Italy and now Japan. Hickman expects to inaugurate a Dewey center in Hungary next summer.

For more information on the center, visit

Enhancing the culture of research and scholarship is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.