International Competition: 

The Liberal Arts Institute of the Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC), in cooperation with Columbia University’s Core Curriculum and the University of Chicago’s Core Curriculum, with funding from the Bradley Foundation and the Teagle Foundation, invites applications for an international pedagogy and curriculum development project: “Tradition and Innovation: An inquiry into fundamental questions of politics, morality, and the human condition in texts from antiquity to modernity.”  For a description of the nature and opportunities of the project, see the Announcement Letter at  Institutions interested in entering the competition are asked to submit an Application Proposal (see below) either through the mail or the ACTC website at by 11:59 PM EST, January 22, 2016.  Institutions whose faculty apply for the project do not need to be members of ACTC.

I. Criteria for Selection:

ACTC and the project team seek:

  • -15 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
  • -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.  Ideally, this team would consist of one senior member and one junior member whose contract extends through 2017.

Application Essays:

a) Institutional Interest (750 words): applicants should state why the team and its institution are interested in participating in the seminar.

b) Curricular Development (750 words): Applications should demonstrate a commitment to the development and implementation of at least one core text liberal arts course 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 within those courses, will qualify for consideration.

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

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

-Room and board from late Sunday afternoon June 12 through Saturday morning June 18, 2016, at the University of Chicago, and from June 18 through the morning of June 25, 2016, at Columbia University

 -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 to Chicago and from Chicago to New York City

-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, 2016, without refund)

-Support for two meetings with a faculty group at the campus of the participating institutions, one in the fall of 2016 and one in the second term of the 2016-2017 academic year.  The first meeting should discuss the summer seminar and course plans, and illustrate reading practices.  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 from team participants due one week before ACTC’s Annual Conference in the spring of 2017.  (These reports may also be part of a publication supported by the Teagle Foundation on models for core text curriculum development provided by Columbia University, the University of Chicago, and Yale University).

III.  Seminar Leaders:

Kathy Eden, Chavkin Family Professor of English Literature and Professor of Classics at Columbia University

Richard A. Strier, Sulzberger Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago and Editor of Modern Philology

IV. Seminar Core Texts:

Professors Eden and Strier will develop a list of readings from among texts that regularly appear in core text courses, including: Homer, The Odyssey, Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Shakespeare, King Lear, and Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals.

Two evenings, including dinner, will be reserved for lectures and plenary discussions about using Eastern texts in core text programs.

V. Curriculum Planning and Development:

On the two Fridays of the project, the seminar will turn to curriculum development under the supervision of Roosevelt Montás, Director of the Center for the Core Curriculum at Columbia, and J. Scott Lee, Executive Director of the Association for Core Texts and Courses.  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.

VI. Social and Co-curricular Events:

ACTC, Columbia University, and the University of Chicago will provide opening and closing dinners, special lectures, and directions to local attractions (music, museums, restaurants) in New York City and Chicago.




TRADITION AND INNOVATION: An inquiry into fundamental questions of politics, morality, and the human condition in texts from antiquity to modernity.


This cover sheet must appear with all mailed submitted applications.  Institutions are encouraged to submit the application online at  The application deadline is January 22, 2016.

J. Scott Lee, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Association for Core Texts and Courses

ACTC Liberal Arts Institute

1530 Concordia West

Concordia University Irvine

Irvine, CA 92612

Roosevelt Montás, Ph.D.

Associate Dean

Director of the Center for the Core Curriculum

Columbia College

Columbia University