Ashley Hall, an independent, all-girls’ school, has developed an initiative focused on teaching the importance of civil discourse to its students. In addition to its civil discourse curriculum, the school has curated its longstanding writers series in partnership with College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center. Both efforts are part of a larger commitment from the school’s leadership to promote an understanding of and appreciation for the universal tenets of civility.
Ashley Hall maintains that for its students to foster change or advance the causes in which they believe, it is crucial that they understand the importance of civil virtue.
“The ability to engage in civil conversations enhances the success of every civic engagement,” shares Mary Webb, an alumna and faculty member at the school. “Ashley Hall’s goals are in line with that of the Center for Civic Education which seeks to foster crucial skills in order to equitably develop enlightened citizens. Enlightenment happens best with the opportunity for exposure to different points of view.”
Head of School Jill Muti believes the ability to engage in respectful, civil conversations enhances the success of every civic engagement.
“Ashley Hall’s mission statement calls for us to empower educated women who are independent, ethically responsible, and prepared to meet the challenges of society with confidence,” Muti said. “The underlying values of civil discourse are embedded in Ashley Hall’s mission, and it is our hope that we are creating a guiding framework for conceptualizing the value of civil discourse with our students and within our community.”
In addition to its civil discourse program, Ashley Hall has dedicated its Writers Series this year to feature a diverse group of authors and noted scholars who will share insights and perspectives about themes that permeate social culture. The first author to be featured is Amrita Myers, Ph.D. Dr. Myers will discuss her book, “Forging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston.” The event will be held on February 3 at 7 p.m. in a virtual presentation. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.
The event will include a question-and-answer session facilitated by Chris Frisby, Ashley Hall’s Upper School history faculty scholar. Dr. Myers is the Ruth N. Halls associate professor of history and Gender Studies at Indiana University. As a historian of the black female experience in the United States, her research interests revolve around issues of race, gender, freedom, and power and the ways in which these constructs intersect with one another in the lives of black women in the Old South.
“Freedom of thought and expression, especially in an educational institution like Ashley Hall, are essential to allowing us to be curious and explore what we do not understand,” Mrs. Muti asserted. “We are fortunate to be a community that strives to make civil discourse woven into the fabric of our School by practicing it on a daily basis.”