“A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems. And not only so. It gives a relish, and facility, for successfully pursuing the unsolved ones.”
Inquiry, Discussion, Faith, and Reason. They reveal what make us human, and they distinguish the Samford Core Texts Program from other college experiences. From its earliest inception higher education pursued questions and answers that transmitted values from one generation to the next. Many contemporary college and university curriculums neglect this pursuit. Samford's Core Texts Program gives it primacy of place. We equip our students with an intellectual narrative that will help them navigate the modern world's complicated marketplace of ideas. Our curriculum emphasizes the Western intellectual tradition and Christian intellectual tradition, but it also includes important voices from non-Western cultures. We cherish the great writers and thinkers of the past, yet we also recognize that their wisdom must constantly be translated for a new generation. As you survey your child's choices for their higher degree consider what Samford's Core Texts Program offers:
An entire academic year studying great works of literature, philosophy, history, and theology
Small conversational class sizes
Published professors who model the writing and reasoning skills they are teaching
Study abroad opportunities in Athens, Rome, and London
Public events reflecting the themes of the program
The belief that education is fundamentally relational, and as such, involves trust.
You have already invested so much to bring your child to this point in their lives--not just financially, but intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally as well. We understand the late night worries about their future, the hours spent watching them play, study, practice, and grow, the pride felt with their triumphs and the heartbreak with their disappointment. We know you have dreams for them. We take them, and their future, as seriously as you do.
Unique Opportunities for Students
The Core Texts Program offers a number of opportunities that encourage student intellectual development in their first year of college:
- London Core Texts: Each fall faculty nominate the top students from their classes to participate in the London Core Texts Program held every May at the conclusion of Spring semester. This unique two week experience allows talented and ambitious students an opportunity to study important authors and see famous sites from English history and literature while staying at Samford University's London residence, The Daniel House.
- Classics Trips to Athens and Rome: The Core Texts Program helps to identify and encourage first-year students who would like to participate in the Classics Department trips to Athens and Rome. Each January the Classics Department annually alternates a spectacular three week educational experience in Greece and Italy where students can experience the cultures that gave us the foundational literature of Western civilization.
- Student Teaching Assistants: The Core Texts Program is devising a system of student mentoring that utilizes talented upper division students in Humanities majors to assist faculty and first-year students as tutors and discussion leaders. These assistants will represent the best of their majors, and they will help our freshman adjust to the "great conversation" of the Core Texts Program.
- Core Texts Debates/Discussions: The Core Texts Program sponsors three events through the academic year where students witness first-hand a debate or discussion relevant to themes covered in the course: Between Jerusalem and Athens is an annual fall presentation about the theological and philosophical intersection of the Classical and Christian worlds. The Winter Reformation Debate hosted each February covers a significant topic related to the theological issues surrounding the Protestant Reformation. Making Sense of Modernity held each April addressing theological and philosophical issues relevant to the modern and post-modern period.
- Student Paper Award: Each academic year faculty nominate student papers to be considered for the award of best Core Texts Student Paper of The Year. First, second, and third place winners are recognized with a cash prize presented at a spring reception at the president's house.
Is Your Child Ready?
The short answer is yes. For centuries reading great works of literature, history, philosophy, and theology served as an initiation into the life of a mature educated person. The mind and the soul were believed to share a relationship, and curriculums were designed to cultivate the moral reasoning skills required of civilized people. In recent decades universities have largely abandoned this enterprise. At Samford, however, we still value the transformative experience that comes from engaging significant ideas that shape our civilization and its values. Your child is ready for our curriculum simply by virtue of the fact they are human, and humans, both young and old, desire meaning. Our goal is to help your child learn to pursue meaning in the context of important ideas that have withstood the trials of history. While reading for understanding and writing with clarity require discipline, effort, and diligence, you need not worry that your child enter our program already familiar with the substance of the curriculum. Our job is to introduce them to this substance, and to do it in a way that encourages their innate desire to understand. Our motto, Inquiry, Discussion, Faith, and Reason, tells you and your child what to expect in the Core Texts Program. Bring a curious inquisitive mind, a willingness to discuss perennial ideas, a respect for the place of faith, specifically the Christian faith, in learning, and a recognition that rational discourse both civilizes the passions and sharpens the intellect, and your child will flourish in our curriculum. Regardless of their major or their life's work, a student who is taught to engage and converse with the foundational ideas, trials, and triumphs of Western intellectual history will be immeasurably empowered to face the future.