The Great Books
Executive Committee Minutes

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Minutes of the Great Books Committee

Members: Assoc. Dean Michael Brown, Anne Bunnell, Helena Feder, John Given, Thomas Herron, Su-Ching Huang, Anne Helene Miller, Kevin Moll, Frank Romer, Mona Russell, David Smith, Nancy Spalding, John Stevens, Anoush Terjanian, Edmund Wall, David Wilson-Okamura, Tricia Wilson-Okamura

Members Present: Professors Feder, Given, Herron, Russell, Smith, Spalding, Stevens, Terjanian, Wall, D. Wilson-Okamura, T. Wilson-Okamura

September 21, 2010, Meeting #1, 3:30pm, Bate 3321

Agenda Item 1. Election of Officers
John Stevens was elected Chair, and it was decided that the position of Secretary would continue to rotate, in alphabetical order.

Agenda Item 2. Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the Feb. 2, 2010 meeting were approved.

Agenda Item 3. Report on GRBK 2600: Great Books of the 19th and 20th centuries (Helena Feder)
Professor Feder reported on the success of her GRBK 2600, "Great Books of Radical Thought: Revolution, Evolution, Mind and 'Man'." Students are reading texts by Marx, Darwin, Freud, and Beauvoir. Professor Feder noted that hers was a multidisciplinary group of students, busy with weekly presentations, journals and essays.

Professor Feder was thanked and congratulated by all members of the Committee for her excellent and diligent stewardship of the course.

Agenda Item 4. Course Assessment
Chair Stevens reminded Committee members that we ought to anticipate two forthcoming assessment activities. (1) The first assessment will be of our program, to meet the SACS accreditation process. (2) The second assessment will be of our courses with Foundations Credit.

With regards to course assessment, Chair Stevens suggested a two-step process. First, that Great Books Faculty ensure that they have included statements of how the course outcomes relate to Foundations goals in syllabi. Secondly, he asked Committee members to identify how we would like to measure how they would accomplish these, and to quantify how many students have achieved our stated outcomes in future courses, for record-keeping purposes.

Professor Feder read aloud her course objectives and it was decided that these already met the assessment language criteria. It was suggested that she add an additional point, for good measure, about what students will have accomplished by the end of term.

Agenda Item 5. Report on GRBK 2500: Great Books of the Enlightenment
Professor Smith will be offering GRBK 2500 in the Spring, with the intention of including Faust, Hume, Schiller, and Lady Montague on the reading list.

Agenda Item 6. Honorarium
The Committee approved the use of the Program's honorarium proposed by Professor Stevens.

Agenda Item 7. Faculty reading seminar on Mahfouz's Midaq Alley
Great Books Faculty will meet on Tuesday, November 9th, at 6pm, to discuss the first selection in our Faculty reading seminar, Nobel-prize-winner Naguib Mahfouz's Midaq Alley.

Professor Terjanian suggested that we might want to publicize this event and extend the invitation to other Faculty in the College, and to Administrators, who might also want to participate.

Agenda Item 8. Program Assessment
Chair Stevens picked up our earlier Assessment discussion with proposals for the Committee to consider regarding our Program Assessment, with three suggestions: (a) that we continue to pursue requests for more resources so that we might move towards a more established Program; (b) that we continue to expand our offerings to non-fiction, and non-Western texts; (c) that we continue to work towards building a greater student following.

Professor Russell suggested that our multi-faculty Introductory course, GRBK 2000, offered a good opportunity for assessment wherein each invited Faculty member could write a report assessing their experience in the course, including the level of preparation of the students.

Professor Spalding suggested the creation of an exit survey for students which might include a list of "Great Books" that they may or may not have read, a question asking if they are more likely to pick up a "great book" in the future than before they had taken this course, and/or asking how they heard about this course. Professor Terjanian added that we might start this part of the process immediately by asking students in GRBK 2600 why they selected the course since Professor Feder reported that many of them had heard about GRBK 2000 from their friends and were inspired to do so as a result.

Professor Herron asked us to reconsider how we might foresee integrating our program with the New Honors College - with a "Great Books of Leadership" course, perhaps?

Professor Herron also suggested that we aim to apply for a Whichard Chair.

Professor Terjanian seconded this idea and suggested that we might advertise for someone with program experience as well, to assist us further with the program.

Agenda Item 9. Joyner Library
The Committee discussed whether or not to approach Joyner Library, or the Faculty Senate, or Administrators with concerns about the state of Joyner Library's book collection and its function.

It was decided that a first step would be to retrieve specific information about Library policies before pursuing any sort of statement.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:45pm

Respectfully submitted, Anoush F. Terjanian