This course is an exploration of the value of education, the necessity of education, and the role that a liberal arts education can play in the development of our lives and our humanity. We will also examine the possibility of failure, and the obstacles we face on the path toward self-realization. Students in this course are offered an unusual opportunity: you will be asked to learn quite a bit, through reading and discussing a series of classic philosophical, literary and religious texts, centering on the theme of education. Also, by participating in this course, you will engage in a university-wide discussion about the role of a liberal arts education in the modern world. Students in this class can help shape the future of education at SIUE: this is one of the hopes associated with the course. Thus at the outset of your educational career, you are invited to develop and exchange your ideas about education with professors and administrators of the university.

      Books to purchase:
The Epic of Gilgamesh (Penguin)
Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography (Dover)
Jaroslav Pelikan, The Vindication of Tradition (Yale)
Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild (Anchor)
Harold Bloom, How to Read and Why (Touchstone)
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Selected Essays (Bantam).
A Blank Journal.

David L. Mech, The Wolf (selections).
Erasmus of Rotterdam, Colloquies (selections); Adages (selections).
Joseph Addison, “The Education of an Heir” (The Spectator, No.123).
The Book of Genesis, 1-12; Proverbs, 1-4; Koheleth, 1-5.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “My Lost Youth” (poem).
Edgar Allen Poe, “Eldorado” (poem).
William Wordsworth, The Prelude (selections).
John Dewey, “Philosophy and Civilization” (an essay).
John Henry Cardinal Newman, The Idea of the University (selections).
Hannah Arendt, “The Crisis in Education” (an essay).

*Student Work:

1. Class Participation. (20%)
Attend every session. Come prepared to speak intelligently about the readings for the day (you will be assigned ongoing grades for your participation in the classroom).
2. Keep a Reading Journal. (20%)
Purchase a special notebook, in which to keep your notes and to record your reflections. This can also be expanded into a daily journal of thoughts: a day-book and diary. I will collect and examine these from time to time.
3. Précis of Readings. (10%)
Ten short (1-2 pp.) analytical pieces, explaining the leading ideas of the readings: due in class, on the day of discussion.
4. Eight-page paper: “On the Nature and Meaning of Education.” (25%)
A paper based on the course readings and your reflections: a first draft is due at mid-semester. The final draft is due at the end of the course.
5. An oral presentation in the “Seminar on Liberal Arts Education.” (25%)
A further development of readings and the first draft of your paper: what is your current understanding of education? What should it include? How should it be done? What can you recommend to others? What should be the role of a university?
What should be done at our university?

Class Sessions: Readings & Themes

Nature and Nurture: What is Education?

* week 1 *
Mon. August 22
      Introduction and introductions
Wed. August 24
      David L. Mech, The Wolf (selections) – e-reserve
Fri. August 26
      Erasmus of Rotterdam, Colloquies (selections) Adages (selections) – e-reserve
      Joseph Addison, “The Education of an Heir,” (Spectator, No.123) – e-reserve

Part One:
Becoming Human: The Origins of Education

* week 2 *
Mon. August 29
      The Book of Genesis, 1-12; Proverbs, 1-4; Koheleth, 1-5. – e-reserve
Wed. August 31
     The Epic of Gilgamesh
Fri. September 2
     Gilgamesh, continued

Part Two:
Education and the Quest for Maturity

* week 3 *
Mon. September 5
(Labor Day - no class)
Wed. September 7
William Wordsworth, The Prelude (selections) – e-reserve
Fri. September 9
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “My Lost Youth” (poem) – e-reserve
Edgar Allen Poe, “Eldorado” (poem) – e-reserve

* week 4 *
Mon. September 12
      Novalis, Henry von Ofterdingen
Wed. September 14
      Novalis, continued
Fri. September 16
      Novalis, continued
Part Three: 
Self-Education & Life-Long Education

* week 5 *
Mon. September 19
     Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography
Wed. September 21
     Franklin, continued
Fri. September 23
     Franklin, continued
Part Four: 
Tradition and Revolt: What is at Stake in Education?

* week 6 *
Mon. September 26
     Jaroslav Pelikan, The Vindication of Tradition
Wed. September 28
     Pelikan, continued
Fri. September 30
     Pelikan, continued
* week 7 *
Mon. October 3
     Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild
Wed. October 5
     Krakauer, continued
Fri. October 7
     Krakauer, continued
Part Five: 
Education and the Meaning of Life

* week 8 *
Mon. October 10
     Film: “Goodbye, Mr. Chips”
Wed. October 12
     John Dewey, “Philosophy and Civilization” – e-reserve
Fri. October 14
     Dewey, continued
* week 9 *
Mon. October 17
     Harold Bloom, How to Read and Why
Wed. October 19
     Bloom, continued
Fri. October 21
     Bloom, continued
Part Six:
The Role of the University

* week 10 *
Mon. October 24
     John Henry, Cardinal Newman, The Idea of the University – e-reserve
Wed. October 26
     Newman, continued
Fri. October 28
     Newman, continued
* week 11 *
Mon. October 31
     Hannah Arendt, “The Crisis in Education” – e-reserve
Wed. November 2
     Arendt, continued
Fri. November 4
     Arendt, continued
Part Seven: 
The Liberal Arts: a Training in Freedom?

* week 12 *
Mon. November 7
     SIUE documents on General Education
Wed. November 9
     SIUE documents, continued
Fri. November 11
     SIUE documents, continued
* week 13 *
Mon. November 14
     Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar 
Wed. November 16
     Emerson, continued
Fri. November 18
     Emerson, continued
*Thanksgiving Break: November 21-27*
Part Eight:
Seminar on Liberal Arts Education

* week 14 *
Student Presentations:
Mon. November 28
     Student Presentations (Faculty & Administration visitors)
Wed. November 30
     Student Presentations (Faculty &Administration visitors)
Fri. December 2
     Student Presentations (Faculty & Administration visitors)
* week 15 *
Student, Faculty & Administrator Roundtables:
Mon. December 5
     The Potential of Liberal Arts Education
Wed. December 7
     Education and Maturity: The Art of Living
Fri. December 9
     Education for Freedom and Citizenship

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