By Sarah Pride
Patrick Henry College
Dr. Mark Mitchell, Associate Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College, will be spending the next academic year (2008-9) at Princeton University in New Jersey, researching and writing on a prestigious James Madison research fellowship. This program at Princeton awards up to six visiting fellowships each year to “support scholars conducting research in the areas of constitutional law and political thought.” Mitchell, who has invested himself heavily both in teaching his students and in writing scholarly articles for organizations like the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), is looking forward to his temporary change of pace.
“Having a chance to write makes us better professors—or so I’ve been told,” he grins. “Especially with our heavy teaching load, we get lots of ideas. This is a chance to flesh them out and explore them.”
He plans to work on several projects—two co-edited books and a monograph on politics and culture. The latter will deal with two concerns that Mitchell believes are related: the modern problem of ingratitude and the problem of scale. As he says, "We live in an age of ingratitude, to God, to our forebears, to the natural world, and one of the effects is a loss of orientation about what is properly fitting for a human being. We find ourselves enmeshed in a culture that has lost a sense of propriety, proportion, and beauty."
The PHC community will miss both Dr. Mitchell’s personality and teaching acumen this next academic year, although everyone is happy for his opportunity. Thankfully, a proliferation of new professors is fleshing out the faculty ranks this coming Fall, so all necessary classes will be covered.
“We often talk about our Ivy League aspirations here at Patrick Henry College. Well, here is one of our professors getting Ivy League recognition, with the chance to gain Ivy League experience, which he will bring back to our college community,” says Dr. Gene Edward Veith, Academic Provost.
Mitchell has been teaching at PHC since Fall of 2002. Currently, his main focus is the Political Theory track of the Government major.