Recent work in Colombia

ACTC Liberal Arts Institute Work in South America

Current Plans

Guillermo Serrano, faculty member of la Universidad Tecnólogica de Bolivar and Scott Lee, Executive Director of ACTC and its Liberal Arts Institute, are currently working on the development of an international conference in the fall of 2011 on Teaching Core Texts to Today's Students. The conference will be attended by selected ACTC faculty and administrators, Tecnólogica faculty, and faculty from Colombian and other South American higher education institutions. Current plans call for the conference to incorporate (translated) video clips of classroom teaching of core texts into the discussions of the conference. The conference will be the third in a series of conferences promoting liberal arts, core text curricula and teaching in Colombia and South America.

Interested parties may contact Scott Lee at

October 2007 Conference in Cartagena, Colombia

During 2007, Serrano contacted Lee and asked his help in planning a second conference. The second conference was held October 17-20, 2007 in Cartagena. Patterned after much of ACTC’s first and second annual conferences, the Cartagena conference sought to interest faculty and institutions in building the infrastructure of an ACTC chapter and the idea of forming an institute for the chapter, to be based on the Tecnólogica campus. The conference was entitled: INTEGRATING GREAT BOOKS FROM DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE WORLD INTO UNIVERSITIES: HOW TO READ THE CLASSICS WITH YOUNG ADULTS. Lee worked with Columbia University, NYC, to provide – with Columbia’s generous support – two participants in the conference who could discuss a core curriculum with core texts, teaching in the core, and the relation of Hispanic literature traditions to canon issues. Patricia Grieve, who is in the department of Spanish and Portuguese and is the chair of Columbia’s Core Curriculum review, and Maria del Pilar Valencia, who is a Colombian national well acquainted with Colombian cultural and educational institutions, a tutor in Columbia’s Core, and Patricia’s doctoral student, accompanied Lee to the conference. Lee delivered the opening plenary address as well as a slide show on how ACTC has developed its organization over time.

Attendees included representatives from ACTC Liberal Arts Institute at St. Mary’s College of California, Columbia University, Universidad de los Andes, Universidad Autonoma de Bucaramanga, Universidad EAFIT, Universidad Minuto de Dios, Universidad del Norte, Universidad de San Buenaventura, Universidad Tecnólogica de Bolivar.

There were many addresses on “the classics” and ways to encourage student reading. Presentations and discussions about Antigone, Electra, adaptations by students of Greek tragedies to modern Colombian politics and life, and more modern works and authors, (Dorian Gray, Rayuela, and several famous photographs) were all part of the presentations. These presentations centered on general education courses offered by the attending professors. Curiosity and debate about the idea of core texts was spread over all three days of the conference.

The final day of the conference was administrative. The session solicited conference participants in the formation of the Board of the Colombian Affiliate. With the support of Rectora Martinez, Christian Schumacher, Tecnólogica, was named executive director of a Liberal Arts Institute, and Maria Pilar del Valencia was named ACTC’s liaison.

October 2005 Conference in Cartagena, Colombia

In the fall of 2004 Patricia Martinez, rectora of a Colombian university, la Universidad Tecnólogica de Bolivar, met her former professor, Phil Sloan, President of ACTC, at an alumni reunion. She indicated to him her interest in starting a core text program in her university. Working with Dean Guillermo Serrano, Sloan and Scott Lee, Executive Director of ACTC, travelled to a 2005 conference in Cartagena Colombia to discuss core text programs with faculty representatives from nine Colombian universities. Before and during the conference, the idea of forming an ACTC Affiliate was brought up and the representatives of the universities voted to form such a chapter, pending ACTC Board discussion and approval. Such discussion and voted approval was given in the fall of 2005.