ACTC Conferences have become an important part of the landscape of Higher Education in North America and, increasingly, the world. This is in large part due to the excellence of so many ACTC members as scholars and teachers, but also because of our institutional commitment to a conference format that fosters serious, open-ended conversation.
Panels at our conferences are round tables. Papers must be unconventionally brief- no more than five pages long. And our panel sessions are unconventionally long — we strive to protect at least half of every session for open discussion. Each ACTC panelist must also commit at least twenty percent of their paper to serious engagement with a core text (with “core” being defined or problematized in whatever way the author sees fit). So, unlike at many conferences where papers are longer and Q&A is brief, at ACTC, we are deeply committed to creating opportunities for real conversations anchored by important texts.
We are also committed to interdisciplinarity. While many of the papers presented at ACTC would fit neatly within the conventions of an academic discipline, we also welcome essays that transgress those boundaries. So, we offer a distinctive opportunity for faculty and administrators to discuss timely issues of art and science, politics and individuals, the literary traditions of the West and the World, ethnicity, multiculturalism, and gender through the lens of thousands of years of texts and many intertwined traditions.
We also explicitly invite discussions of teaching. We have panels on learning communities, on how to conduct discussions, on how and why particular seem to be so effective, on the impact of writing and technology, and the many other efforts that programs and teachers put into making instruction more effective and more intellectually alive for our students. In short, we are about the special relationship forged by teachers and students over a good book.
And, we invite some of the most thoughtful, important voices in liberal education to be our plenary speakers. These are speaker who committed to producing scholarships at the highest levels and are just as deeply committed to thinking about the pedagogical and curricular challenges of teaching core courses.
Our plenary speakers and the attendees from North and South American, European, Middle Eastern, and Asian institutions bring with them the interests and concerns in building liberal arts curricula for undergraduates composed of core texts, that is, world classics.
These distinctive earmarks of ACTC conferences exist in their own ways in all of our conference programs, whether in North America or abroad, whether those gathered are professors, instructors, administrators, graduate or undergraduate students.