The Wright College Great Books Curriculum, the coursework component Great Books Program, is a set of core courses in English, History, Humanities, Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Reading, Religion, and Theatre. Great Books classes are distinguished in that at least half of the readings in the courses are chosen from roughly 275 of the most central and influential thinkers in our civilization. The classes expose students to many of the great ideas humankind has produced, all of which can help students better understand the meaning of their lives and the world. Great Books Curriculum texts, in other words, deepen the soul and widen the mind by exposing students to ideas that have the potential to change them.
The Great Books Curriculum also increases cultural literacy, allowing students to grow into more self-confident and effective readers who will succeed in studying other important books in later college courses. Students who complete four Great Books courses with a GPA of 3.0 or greater receive a certificate of completion affixed to their transcripts, announcing to four-year colleges and employers that the bearer has successfully mastered especially challenging and complex college-level work.
The mission statement of the National Great Books Curriculum mentions the importance of Great Books for under-prepared students: “[The National Great Books Curriculum] came into existence as a labor of love forged out of practical as well as philosophical concerns about how to best help under prepared and minority student populations obtain a meaningful, sustaining liberal education while in the process strengthening such skills as critical thinking.” 1 Professors participating in the Wright College GB Curriculum endorse this position.
Finally, the Wright College Great Books Curriculum is designed to transcend the college’s individual departments and to bring together students, teachers, administrators, and staff to discuss and appreciate great works of literature and to better understand how these works create well-read, confident, and empowered citizens. Many of the works on the Great Books reading list can be taught in more than one discipline, and by creating Great Books syllabi which combine works of natural and social sciences, history, literature, philosophy, and humanities, we are doing our students the great service of allowing them to engage in their educational processes across departmental lines and to see themselves not just as potential majors of a particular field but as students who are educated in the broadest sense. Teachers, too, take a more expansive approach to education, furthering their own development as educators.
As part of the GB Program, the GB Curriculum is further supported by the GB Student Society which organizes extra-curricular activities, such as teacher and student symposia, the Great Books Student Society, the Symposium journal, field trips, panel presentations, guest speakers, and an Intercollegiate student symposium. These events supplement the GB Curriculum by creating opportunities for students, faculty, administration and staff to create relationships among various departments and units within the school and the larger Wright College community.
More information about the program can be found here:
Wright College’s Great Books Curriculum