Liberal arts faculty are often asked to teach outside of their disciplines in great books, core curriculum, and general education courses. Rarely, however, do these faculty have the chance to meet with colleagues from other institutions to discuss the challenges (as well as to share the joys) that this kind of interdisciplinary teaching entails.

The TCIT Biennial Summer Institute provides liberal arts faculty with a week-long residential seminar designed to promote teaching and learning strategies focused on the seminal texts of the Christian Intellectual Tradition. Valuing rigor and collegiality, the seminar allows faculty to become students again, reading the great texts together while collaborating on approaches and assignments that help them to become better teachers of the tradition.

This institute was a great professional experience. Not only am I now confident in my vision for teaching the entire Commedia, but this seminar will impact courses I teach where Dante won’t be used. I will go back to my institution and insist that our faculty, at least, do some version of this kind of seminar next summer. I don’t want to go through another summer without doing something like this again.--2015 institute attendee

Virgil and the Modern Christian Imagination (2017)

Seminar Description

In “What is a Classic?” (1944), T.S. Eliot boldly claimed that Virgil stands “at the centre of European civilization, in a position which no other poet can share or usurp.” For Eliot, the “great ghost who guided Dante’s pilgrimage” and “led Europe towards the Christian culture which he could never know” should always guide the West because he produced not just a “universal classic,” but the “classic of all Europe.”

“Virgil and the Modern Christian Imagination” will provide faculty from across the disciplines the opportunity to explore the influence of Virgil on twentieth-century Christian poets and intellectuals, and to discuss strategies for teaching that influence to undergraduates. Designed primarily for non-specialists, the seminar will open with a discussion of the Eclogues, the Georgics, and the Aeneid, and then turn to twentieth-century writers indebted to Virgil, including, but not limited to, Eliot, Haecker, Tate, Auden, Radnóti, Heaney, and Boland.

Daily Schedule and Assigned Readings

Directors

Bryan Johnson, Director of the University Fellows Program and Professor of English
Shannon Flynt, Assistant Professor of Classics
Christopher Metress, University Professor

Participants

Bryan Carlson, Fort Worth Country Day School
Patrick Downey, St. Mary’s College of California
Elizabeth Fredericks, Valparaiso University
John Glass, University of Tennessee at Martin
Bliss Green, Alabama A&M
Chris Hill, University of Tennessee at Martin
Maria Poggi Johnson, University of Scranton
Pamela Longo, Lehigh Carbon Community College
Joshua Matthews, Dordt College
Elizabeth-Jane McGuire, Villanova University
Julie Ooms, Missouri Baptist University
Christine Perrin, Messiah College
Sharon Portnoff, Connecticut College
Trent Sanders, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Spencer Kyle Smith, University of Dallas
Kevin Spicer, University of St. Francis
Carl Springer, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
Avery Springer, John Burroughs School
Michael Utzinger, Hampden-Sydney College
Bryan Whitfield, Mercer University

News and Notices

Samford Hosts Faculty For Unique Humanities Experience

Teaching Dante’s Divine Comedy (2015)

Seminar Description

Designed for non-specialists from across the disciplines, the inaugural TCIT summer institute will focus on Dante’s Divine Comedy. Faculty in great books, core curriculum, and general education courses often teach portions of the Divine Comedy, but a sustained discussion of the entire poem is a rare opportunity, one we hope to provide this summer. Hosted by faculty from Samford’s University Fellows honors program, the seminar will move freely between discussions of the poem and strategies for teaching it, with a special interest in the often-neglected cantos in Purgatorio and Paradiso.

Daily Schedule and Assigned Readings

Directors

Bryan Johnson, Director of the University Fellows Program and Professor of English
Shannon Flynt, Assistant Professor of Classics
Christopher Metress, University Professor

Participants

Karl Aho, Baylor University
Patrick Downey, St. Mary's College of California
Bliss Green, Alabama A&M
Rachel Griffis, Baylor University
Bryan J. Whitfield, Mercer University
John Lassiter, Anderson University
Josh Matthews, Dordt College
Matthew Moser, University of Loyola Maryland
Julie Ooms, Missouri Baptist University
Maria Poggi Johnson, University of Scranton
Walker Reid Cosgrove, Dordt College
Nathan Smolin, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill

News and Notices

Samford Hosts Scholars for Dante Seminar

Samford, Dordt Exemplify Benefits of Lilly Fellows Program

Read the Classics, Live the Classics