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Minutes of the Great Books Committee


Members: David Conradt, Rand Evans, Charles Fantazzi, John Given, Cathy Hall, Robert Hammond, Brian Harris, Gordon Hull, Elizabeth Layman, Kevin Moll, James Reho, Assoc. Dean Scott Snyder, John Stevens, Edmund Wall, David Wilson-Okamura, Tricia Wilson-Okamura

Members Present: Fantazzi, Given, Hall, Hammond, Hull, Layman, Moll, Stevens, Wall, D. Wilson-Okamura, T. Wilson-Okamura

Meeting #1, January 14, 2003, held in Bate 2011, 3:30-4:30 pm


Agenda Item 1. Welcome to new and returning members, news of our first unofficial graduate

The membersÕ introductions were followed by Prof. Stevens' discussion of the first Great Books graduate, Bea Sheppard, who garnered a good deal of media coverage at her graduation due to her age of 80+ years.


Agenda Item 2. Election of Officers

Prof. Stevens was elected chair, and Prof. T. Wilson-Okamura volunteered to serve as secretary.


Agenda Item 3. $200 Honorarium

Prof. Stevens proposed Prof. Gretchen Reydams-Schils from the Notre Dame Program in Liberal Studies to be the annual speaker. This proposal was approved by the committee members. Prof. Reydams-Schils has much expertise in designing and running a Great Books program and is expected to speak at some time in late February or early March. Robert Allen, a self-educated scholar, was also suggested as a future speaker. A printed account of his history and achievements was distributed.


Agenda Item 4. Status of Proposal to establish a Great Books Minor

Prof. Stevens discussed the minor proposal, which has been approved by the University Curriculum committee and is currently awaiting approval by the Faculty Senate and Chancellor. Requirements for the minor were viewed and a discussion followed of the requirements and the two Great Books courses, GB 2000 and 4000. The proposal of new courses will be held off until the minor proposal is approved.


Agenda Item 5. Spring and Fall 2003 course Schedule

Great books will be able to fund one course in Fall 2003, and one in Spring 2004 in addition to Prof. Fantazzi's course in the Fall, and discussion of the content followed.


Agenda Item 6. Preliminary discussion of future curriculum development

Members discussed various frameworks for teaching Great Books, including theme-based and chronological, as well as the coordination of course offerings with other programs such as English, Music, Classics, and Philosophy. Multidisciplinary approaches to Great Books and issues of canon were also discussed, as well as methodologies for organization of curriculum and desirable requirements. Profs. Fantazzi and Stevens discussed their experiences with other similar programs, and a lively discussion of the history of Great Books and the evaluation of various approaches followed. Prof. Hammond offered an idea for a History of Science course organized around the great ideas of science.


Agenda Item 7. Webpage update

Members were invited to contribute to the webpage.

The next meeting was set for after the visit of Prof. Reydams-Schils. There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.