The University Fellows Great Ideas Summer Institute
The University Fellow's Great Ideas Summer Institute is a unique week-long academic experience hosted on the campus of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. This week offers an opportunity for intellectually ambitious students to enjoy the energy of a college classroom, engage ideas that form the essence of humane learning, and develop friendships with exceptional high school students from around the country.
This year’s institute traces the theme of “Greece, Rome, and the American Republic.” On the first day, students discuss the Greek origins of western politics through works by Pericles, Plato, and Aristotle. Next, we move to Roman political theory, with selections from Livy, Plutarch, and Cicero on the growth of the Republic and the rise of Imperial Rome. Day three examines how 18th century polemicists made the case for the American Revolution utilizing ideas from ancient history and philosophy. On day four, students engage the Federalist and the Anti-Federalist debates surrounding constitutionalism. Finally, we look at different conceptions of republicanism through the works of John C. Calhoun, Abraham Lincoln, and Thurgood Marshall.
All classes are discussion oriented and are led by full-time Samford faculty. Three daily sessions (two in the morning and one in the afternoon) are complemented by speakers, films, and other activities.
Students stay in campus housing, have their meals in the university cafeteria, and live, study, and recreate in much the same way that Samford University students do during the regular academic year. In addition to campus activities, students also explore Birmingham, including a trip to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Breakfast is served at 8:00 am followed by morning classes. Most afternoons will include a break after lunch with the evening class convening at 4:00 followed by dinner at 5:30. Students are assisted in their stay by student representatives from Samford’s prestigious University Fellows Program.