ACTC  Liberal Arts Institute at the University of Dallas


“Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts in the 21st Century: an introduction to the texts of the trivium, from the ancients to modernity.”

At the University of Chicago Campus, Chicago, IL

Funded by the ACTC Liberal Arts Institute, the Bradley Foundation, and a private donor who wishes to encourage thinking about and using the liberal arts.

July 17-26, 2022

International Competition: 

The Liberal Arts Institute of the Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC) with funding from the Bradley Foundation and a private donor invites applications for an international pedagogy and curriculum development project: “Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts in the 21st Century: An introduction to the Texts of the Trivium, from Ancients to Moderns.” This is the second summer seminar to address this topic.   

In 2019, ACTC held its first pilot seminar on the liberal arts.  In its announcement of the first seminar, ACTC emphasized that the liberal arts of the trivium are central to Western invention, and, thereby, to freedom and joy in learning. Core text programs, the humanities, and liberal education would benefit from far more extensive inclusion of books by classical and modern authors on the actual core text inventions and developments of the liberal arts of grammar, rhetoric, or logic and dialectic over 2300 years. Using the lessons learned from 2019, ACTC offers a new 2022 seminar. ACTC will balance acceptances between new teams and teams re-applying from the 2019 session. We seek to expand the reach of liberal arts, so institutions whose faculty apply for the project do not need to be members of ACTC.

The syllabus and schedule may be found at

This grant comes with support for private rooms at the Hyatt Place—Chicago South (Hyde Park) Hotel, board for all nights except the mid-Saturday evening meal, a stipend for participants, and use of a University of Chicago seminar room for convening. Many of the readings of the syllabus will be available online, but participants will be responsible for buying some books and their transportation to and from Chicago.

Institutions interested in applying are asked to submit their application and letter of institutional support by 11:59 PM CST, March 28, 2022.  Applications will be reviewed immediately, and applicants will be notified by April 4, 2022.

I.  Criteria for Selection:

ACTC and the project team seek:

  • 10 participating institutions, each with a team of two faculty members;
  • A broad distribution of Carnegie Class institutions of higher education at the doctoral/research, master’s/comprehensive, baccalaureate, and associates-degree granting level, whose degrees aim at either a bachelor-of-arts or sciences degree or an associate of arts or science; leading academic schools will also be considered.
  • A broad spectrum of affiliations (private and public, secular and religious, national and international);
  • A broad spectrum of types of liberal arts education programs, especially those seeking to establish core text programs;
  • A likelihood, demonstrated through application essays, that the applicant institution is committed to integrating core texts of the trivium (and quadrivium) into an existing or new liberal arts curriculum.

Institutional Teams: Each participating Institutional Team must be composed of two full-time faculty members. This team would consist of at least one tenured, senior faculty member and possibly one junior member whose contract extends through 2024.

Application Essays:

  1. Institutional Interest (750 words): applicants should state why the team and its institution are interested in participating in the seminar.
  2. Curricular Development (750 words): Applications should demonstrate a commitment to the development and implementation of at least one core text liberal art course, using works from or like the seminar syllabus’ in the institution’s curriculum.  Alternatively, a proposal that envisions and commits to a serious infusion of works from the syllabus into an existing course would be acceptable. Project directors are especially interested in the development of multiple or sequenced courses embedded in broader curricular structures and accompanied by ongoing support for faculty teaching them.   Serious plans for review of standing courses, accompanied by inclusion of new core texts within those courses, will enhance consideration by the directors of the project.

II.  Support, Stipends, Obligations, and Opportunities Involving Participating Institutions:

The following project costs are assumed by ACTC’s Liberal Arts Institute, the Bradley Foundation, and a private donor:

  • Room and board from late afternoon July 17 through noon July 27th, 2022, at the Hyatt Place Chicago South (Hyde Park) Hotel. Participants may stay at the Hotel three days before and three days after these dates at their own expense at the seminar rate.
  • Classroom facilities, wi-fi, and other campus or hotel privileges
  • Stipends for attending faculty: $ 1000 for each participant

The project supports course and pedagogical planning with the expectation that the institutions will assume the administrative costs of course development and implementation. There are no indirect-cost benefits to participating institutions.

Participating institutions will be expected to provide:

  • Transportation to and from summer seminars for participants, including travel to and from Chicago.
  • Institutional cost-share of $2000 for the institution’s team.  (Upon acceptance to the seminar, checks can be made payable to ACTC, due April 15, 2022, non-refundable)
  • Support for two meetings with a faculty group at the campus of the participating institutions, one in the early fall of 2022 and one in the second term of the 2022-23 academic year. The first meeting should discuss the summer seminar, including questions about liberal arts within the larger contexts of invention and art (broadly conceived) and team course plans. The second meeting should discuss curriculum development of the pilot course(s)
  • Support for development and implementation (including any necessary release time) of the participating faculty’s core text courses
  • A report to the Co-Directors of the project from team participants due one week before ACTC’s Annual Conference in the spring of 2023.
  • Expected but not required would be attendance by one faculty member to discuss their report at a panel on the project at the annual spring ACTC conference.

III.  Seminar Leaders:

  • J. Scott Lee author, Invention: The Art of Liberal Arts,” (2020), Seminar Organizer and Faculty
  • Joshua Parens, Dean, Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts University of Dallas, Program Faculty
  • Charlotte Thomas, ACTC Executive Director

IV.  Seminar Core Texts:

See the “Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts Syllabus”

V.  Curriculum Planning and Development:

On July 26, the seminar will turn to curriculum development. Initial discussions/presentations by participants of their plans to use the seminar in course and curriculum development as expressed in their application to participate can begin these discussions. Changes in plans and textual selection for courses should be considered. Twenty-five minute presentations by teams to the group for comment and discussion of what they will try to implement in their institutions. These sessions should also be thought of as part of the presentation to faculty at the home institution after the seminar. Those home-institution presentations should include references to the seminar's syllabus and discussions.

VI.  Social and Co-curricular Events:

Chicago and the University of Chicago neighborhood are world class settings, terrific dining, and  enormous cultural institutions.  Seminar organizers will send information.  There will also be plenary dinners for the seminar participants.

Charlotte Thomas, Executive Director, Association for Core Texts and Courses

J. Scott Lee, Ph.D., Seminar Organizer

ACTC Liberal Arts Institute at the University of Dallas

Association for Core Texts and Courses

Anselm Hall - Suite 212

1845 E. Northgate Drive, Irving, TX 75062

Phone: (972) 265-5794