The Great Books: Executive Committee Minutes

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Minutes of the Executive Committee


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

Members Present: C. Fantazzi, J. Given, G. Hull, J. Stevens, E. Wall, D. Wilson-Okamura, T. Wilson-Okamura
Special guest: Anoush Terjanian of the Department of History

Meeting #1, September 22, 2004, 3-4 p.m. in Bate 2002.

Agenda Item 1. Current Class

Prof. Stevens read a report from Profs. Reho and Hammond, who were unable to attend, on the curriculum of the new course they are teaching in the Great Books of Science. Five students registered for the team-taught course, and are learning a curriculum of original sources from the ancient world to the modern on the fundamental questions of what it means to conduct scientific inquiry.

Agenda Item 2. Future Classes

Prof. Terjanian was enlisted to teach a course for Spring 2005 on connections between Great Books and Economics and Business. Her course, "Commerce and its Critics" will feature sources on the origins and moral ambiguities of commerce from the ancient world to the early modern, culminating in a discussion of Adam Smith's, "The Wealth of Nations".

Agenda Item 3. Speakers

Prof. Stevens agreed to invite Prof. Gretchen Reydams-Schils of the Notre Dame Program in Liberal Studies to speak on a topic of her choosing and then to explain the organization of the Notre Dame program.

Agenda Item 4. Development of Great Books Program

Prof. Stevens discussed why no progress had been made on the initiative to get depts. to create Great Books sections of GenEd. courses. There are various difficulties including that the objectives of introductory courses do not easily square with using original texts, that depts. have little motive to offer a small seminar when the same resources could be used to attract a large lecture class etc. Prof. Stevens also expressed concern that to have a proper Great Books curriculum, the university would need to hire dedicated faculty. The committee discussed the desirability of creating an introductory curriculum that would attract a wider following, including the possibility of team teaching. It was agreed to take this subject up again before scheduling courses for Fall 2005.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:15 p.m.