Over 40 seminars and projects have been conducted in the past three years, testing and developing the values model and seminar resources. All of these seminars and projects were carefully evaluated. Examples of these seminars and quotes from seminar participants are stated below.
"I could not have found a better way to spend my time. It provoked thinking on my part that I wish I had engaged in long before this."
"The seminar was thought provoking and extended the debate by the variety of views expressed in class. The ideas and tensions promoted many conversations between Leon and myself between classes and has made me think about our country in a larger way."
"I think it is extremely important to have a face to face interaction in a course like the Idea of America. It might work with teens and kids to have an internet based course but for adults I think face to face is crucial."
"Colonial Williamsburg Foundation urges all citizens to join the debate to sustain our democracy. The need is urgent to get the vast majority of citizens to recognize the erosion of the ideas and values that has been occurring and the resulting degradation to our democracy."
"To salvage our democracy there has to be an ongoing focus, engagement and discussion of the ideas and values that underlie the America we all believe in that involves the vast majority of our citizens. The focus has to be non-partisan to overcome the corrosive influence of the zero sum politics that exists today."
"I felt like I was back in college with engaged professors and students. The format is ideal, the resource material excellent, and the ability to respond with no repercussion stimulated discussion. Keep the group small. Maintain the suggested reading material. I would like to see more advertizing of this wonderful class so many more can participate. GREAT EXPERIENCE!"
Retired high school superintendent
"There could never be a more appropriate time to have taken this course. The election and its aftermath was partially healed by the overview of this course and put it in perspective as part of our history."
"This is the second time I have taken this course here. Though the subject matter remains constant, the face-to-face class participation was what makes each course extremely interesting."
"So maybe those Williamsburg folks are doing the right thing by inviting people to engage in a debate and discussion on the values that have shaped our nation and are defining our future."
"The Idea of America seminar engaged us all. Everyone had something original and interesting to contribute." Retired astro-physicist from UCLA and owner of Old Professors Bookshop in Belfast, Maine.
"The introduction of real historical figures and their stories, the values and legacies created, helped move the conversation from philosophical abstractions--which is where it might have gone--to relevant here and now interpretation and potential action. Wilson's book made a significant shift."
"The Idea of America: Our Values, Our Legacy, Our Future backs us out of current conflicts and gives insight into the values that have made our country such a shining light to others. Now, more than ever, we need to revisit these values and the tensions they create-- and work to fulfill the Idea of America." Jeffrey L. Edleson Dean of School of Social Welfare, University of California Berkeley