“Reinventing and Rejuvenating the Liberal Arts in the 21st Century:

An introduction to the texts of the trivium, from the ancients to modernity.”

International Competition:

The Liberal Arts Institute of the Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC), with funding from the Bradley Foundation, and in cooperation with Carthage College, invites applications for an international pedagogy and curriculum development project: “Reinventing and Rejuvenating the Liberal Arts in the 21st Century: an introduction to the texts of the trivium, from the ancients into modernity.”

Download the application to your computer and fill in the fields:
Download Project Application

For a description of the nature and opportunities of the project,
View Announcement of this Project

View Project Syllabus

Institutions and individuals interested in entering the competition are asked to submit an Institutional Application (see above).  The Application, within this Application Packet, is in PDF format.  It should be filled out and, then, sent via email to and and  Or, mailed applications should be addressed to Kathleen Burk, ACTC Liberal Arts Institute, “Reinventing and Rejuvenating the Liberal Arts Project,” 3900 Teleport Blvd #142407, Irving, TX 75014.

Emailed or mailed applications should arrive or be postmarked no later than 11:59 PM EST, January 31, 2019.

Institutions whose faculty apply for the project do not need to be members of ACTC.

  1. Criteria for Selection:

    • ACTC and the project team seek:
      • 15 participating institutions, each with a team of two faculty members or individuals who come as representatives of their institutions;
      • A broad distribution of Carnegie Class institutions of higher education at the doctoral/research, master’s/comprehensive, baccalaureate, and associates-degree granting level;
      • A broad spectrum of affiliations (private and public, secular and religious, national and international);
      • A broad spectrum of types of liberal arts education programs aimed at either a bachelor of arts or sciences degree or an associate of arts or sciences;
      • A likelihood, demonstrated through application essays, that the applicant institution is committed to integrating core texts into an existing or new liberal arts curriculum
    • Institutional Teams:
      • Each participating Institutional Team must be composed of two full-time faculty members.  Accepted individuals will be understood to be representing their institution (see the Institutional Application for administrative approval to run a course using texts from the trivium.)
    • Application Essays:
      1. Institutional Interest (750 words): applicants should state why the team or individual 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 arts course using texts from the arts of the trivium in the institution’s curriculum. Project directors are especially interested in the development of 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 from the trivium within those courses, will qualify for consideration.
  2. Support, Stipends, Obligations, and Opportunities Involving Participating Institutions:

    • The following project costs are assumed by the Bradley Foundation and ACTC’s Liberal Arts Institute:
      • Room and board from late Sunday afternoon July 7 and the morning of July 20, 2019 at Carthage College (near Chicago and Milwaukee).
      • Classroom facilities, varying library privileges, wi-fi, and other campus 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 and from Kenosha, Wisconsin.
      • Institutional cost-share of $2000 for the institution’s team.  (Upon acceptance to the seminar, checks can be made payable to ACTC, due April 1, 2019, without refund)
      • Support for two meetings with a faculty group at the campus of the participating institutions, one in the fall of 2019 and one in the second term of the 2019-2020 academic year.  The first meeting should discuss the summer seminar, illustrate readings, and outline course plans.  The second meeting should discuss curriculum development and pedagogical practices 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 from team participants due one week before ACTC’s Annual Conference in the spring of 2020.  These reports may be edited and publicized by ACTC.
  3. Seminar Leaders:

    • D. Ben DeSmidt, Chair of the Classics Department and Director of the Great Ideas Program, is working on a book-length study examining the influence of legal rhetoric on the development of the novel in the first century CE. B.A. from the University of Chicago, M.A., M.Phil and Ph.D. from Columbia University.
    • Joshua Parens, Dean of the Braniff Graduate School of the Liberal Arts, University of Dallas, has published Medieval Political Philosophy: A Sourcebook, and Metaphysics as Rhetoric: Alfarabi's "Summary of Plato's Laws."   B.A. St. John’s College, M.A. and PhD., University of Chicago.
  4. Seminar Core Texts:

  5. Curriculum Planning and Development:

    • On the two Fridays of the project, the seminar will turn to curriculum development, with discussions conducted by Kathleen Burk, Executive Director of ACTC, and J. Scott Lee, Project Developer and Organizer.  During the Friday sessions, they will consult with institutional teams and the teams will make presentations on their ongoing development of their courses.  Final remarks by seminar staff will conclude the summer seminar.
  6. Social and Co-curricular Events:

    • ACTC will provide opening and closing dinners, special lectures, and directions to local attractions (music, museums, restaurants) in Chicago and Milwaukee.