Core Conversations Poster 21-22-fatter


The 27th Annual ACTC Conference

Power and the Canon

April 21-24, 2022–University of Notre Dame

Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.

-Frederick Douglass

2022 Conference Registration Form

Paper and Panel Proposal Form

2021-22 Core Conversations recordings are available at:
Live Core Conversations are held at 12:00 noon ET on Zoom at:

Student Conference: Work, Leisure, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Nominations are now open for the 2022 ACTC Undergraduate, St. Vincent College (Latrobe, PA), April 1 & 2. Our theme this year is “Work, Leisure, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Faculty members at ACTC Member Institutions are invited to nominate one or two students by February 1, 2022. Please send your nomination emails to Prof. Michael Krom at, and include an email address for each student you nominate.

Selected students will be asked to submit and then present a five-page essay (that takes no more than 15 minutes to read aloud) that devotes at least one full page to serious engagement with a core text. Students may choose whatever core text they like and engage the conference theme in any way. Students must arrange for their own travel to St. Vincent College, but food and lodging during the conference are covered.

Undergraduate Conference Theme: Work, Leisure, and the Pursuit of Happiness

The mark of a liberal art is that it is pursued for its own sake. Unlike work, which is ordered toward other ends such as production and profit, a liberal activity is in itself edifying and meaningful. In a word, it is leisurely. Thus, liberal arts education cultivates the habits necessary for liberty from ignorance and for truth, from the misery of life in the cave and for the happiness of seeing things as they are.
This noble aim of liberal education is often co-opted for other purposes. Liberal arts colleges market themselves based on how well they prepare students for money-making and other servile ends rather than on how well they cultivate the leisure necessary for the life of the mind. Students are pressured to view college as unpaid work, padding their transcripts with multiple majors and minors in preparation for gainful employment. School (which derives from the Greek word for "leisure") ought to be ordered toward the happiness that is the examined life, but this noble aim is usually observed in the breach.
With a desire to encourage students to think on higher things, we invite submissions on core texts that help us to reflect on any aspect of our conference theme, "Work, Leisure, and the Pursuit of Happiness."


ACTC's flagship program is our annual conference. This year we will gather April 21-24th at the University of Notre Dame. Our theme is "Power and the Canon." Registration is open and we are accepting proposals for papers and panels.

Our student conference will be
April1&2 at St. Vincent College. The theme will be "Work, Leisure, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Nominations will open soon.

Liberal Arts Institute

The Liberal Arts Institute is home to ACTC's special projects and initiatives. Past programs include summer workshops for core faculty and smaller conferences on specific themes.

Institutional members of the Liberal Arts Institute are active participants in ACTC's planning for future programs.


ACTC's Conference Proceedings volumes are peer reviewed by an editorial board led by ACTC's Publications Chair and comprised by representatives from each sponsoring and co-sponsoring institutions for each conference.
We also publish select papers based on presentations at our Liberal Arts Institute conferences and programs

Core Conversations

In this online conference series, ACTC members share recorded remarks about a core text they love (and love to teach) which we post to this website and ACTC's YouTube Channel. Then we host an online conversation about those remarks and texts on which they are based. All of this is free and open to the public.

Past Core Conversations have included Page Laws (Norfolk State) on Margaret Walker, Roosevelt Montas (Columbia) on Frederick Douglass, and Joe Knippenberg (Oglethorpe) on Aristotle.

Institutional Members

Institutional Members support ACTC's work to promote core education in North America and around the world. ACTC works to support our institutional members through conferences; faculty development and research opportunities; consulting on curriculum, pedagogy, and administration; institutional research, and collaborations with other institutions.

Previous Annual Conference Agendas