From the Executive Director

Welcome to Scala Foundation!

Professor Margarita Mooney Suarez, Scala’s Founder and Executive Director. Learn more about Professor Mooney Suarez at her website.

I started Scala because I believe that restoring liberal arts education, grounded in beauty and wisdom, is crucial to renewing our culture.  

Scala proposes a classical model of liberal arts education, a millennia-old vision in which education takes place in a community that is grounded in friendship and open to beauty and transcendent truth. 

Many schools and colleges teach essential knowledge, but we believe that the ultimate goal of education is wisdom. Wisdom includes knowledge—but it also indicates the habits and virtues that make for a flourishing, well-lived life. A wise man or woman knows how to use his or her freedom. We at Scala believe that schools, colleges, and arts and culture need to inspire young people to pursue wisdom and chart a path towards obtaining it.   

And, a free society like America’s needs wisdom even more than other societies. Without wise citizens who can govern themselves, a society will soon cease to be free and democratic. 

Today, many colleges neglect beauty and wisdom. They believe that their job is to teach professional skills and leave students to choose for themselves what is right and what is wrong. But the result of value-free education is to leave students bereft of meaning and purpose. Skyrocketing rates of mental illness and attempted suicide among young people testify to their desire for meaning—and to educational institutions’ failure to provide it. 

Scala is counteracting colleges’ neglect of the liberal arts by teaching and empowering key agents of cultural renewal: teachers, professors, educational entrepreneurs and culture creators. Every person who participates in Scala programming can go on to affect hundreds or thousands more.

When they attend Scala’s programs, these cultural entrepreneurs engage in serious intellectual work in a community that emphasizes beauty, wisdom, and friendship. 

Scala’s programs are grounded in the conviction that human beings are created in the image of God, with the capacity to love beauty and seek wisdom, and that education should help each person discover his or her unique calling. Here are some of the things that our participants learn:

  • Education begins with beauty. Education should encompass the aesthetic dimension of the human person, and develop our capacity for poetic knowledge. As Socrates argues in Plato’s Symposium, beauty inspires us with admiration and makes us want to achieve wisdom. Like a spark, it ignites a passion for true learning. 
  • Education should cultivate a love of wisdom. Education is not merely for the sake of achievement, but for the sake of living a good life. Wisdom is essential to the good life—it is the fruit of a good education. Wisdom is the hard-won power to judge rightly in service of our communities and our world.
  • Education is rooted in great texts. Education needs to include study of the great texts of Western civilization because they are a repository of wisdom, beauty and goodness. At the same time, human beings continue to think, reflect, and produce works of beauty and profundity. The core curriculum in K-12 and higher education is never final and can expand to include excellent new works. 
  • Education can show students how to integrate many disciplines. The human mind grows by being exposed to different forms of learning, including the natural sciences, philosophy, social sciences, literature, music, grammar, rhetoric, and logic. All fields of knowledge ultimately lead to a unified truth.
  • Education can enrich lasting friendships. Friendship and hospitality are central to building communities of learners who know how to listen to each other and learn from each other. 
  • Respectful disagreement is essential to learning. No one is “cancelled” at Scala, and participants are welcome to share all views with respect. Having one’s views challenged is an essential part of learning, and Scala equips participants to oversee classroom disagreements in the most productive manner possible. 

If you share Scala’s belief in the power of liberal arts education in beauty and wisdom, please get involved. You can:

  • Sign up for Scala’s newsletter for regular publications and program announcements
  • Check out our upcoming events to find a program in your area or a webinar you can join from anywhere
  • Read our blog or check out our video page, where you can find rich content on beauty, wisdom, and the liberal arts
  • And you can make a difference. Help renew our culture by supporting Scala today 

Renewing American culture will take many people working together, so please get involved. I hope to see you soon at a Scala webinar or event! 

Sincerely,

Margarita Mooney Suarez, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Scala Foundation