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Faculty Resources

Augustine and Culture Seminars: Detailed Course Description


Course Titles:  Augustine and Culture Seminar: “Ancients” (ACS 1000) and “Moderns” (ACS 1001)    

Learning Goals for Course:


  • To provide a foundation of studies in the Humanities, in conjunction with the other Mission courses in Theology and Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Ethics, which students can build upon in their major field of study and in their electives.

·      To help students see the interconnections between the various disciplines of the humanities through the common study of primary texts and the pursuit of fundamental human questions.

  • To advance the intellectual and moral mission of the College by introducing students to the Christian and Augustinian traditions.


·      To advance students in the following skills of critical reading and inquiry, writing, speaking and listening:

o   Analyze and understand difficult and important classical texts;

o   Write clearly and persuasively, supporting positions with argumentation and evidence;

o   Communicate effectively orally, based on reading and in response to the contributions of other students;

o   Work well and learn from other members of the class in a climate of mutual respect.


  • To further the development of a vital intellectual community of scholars and student- scholars who learn from each other as active participants in these first year seminars.
  • To help students apply new perspectives and make connections between the student’s own ideas and values and the texts, and between the texts themselves.

Course Guidelines:

ACS 1000 explores the guiding question of “Who Am I” and includes readings from each of the following:

·      Hebrew Bible (Genesis recommended)

·      New Testament (Recommended: Acts of the Apostles, Gospel of Mark)

·      Classical Greece (suggested readings: Homer, Plato [Symposium, Apology], Sophocles, Aristotle)

·      St. Augustine’s Confessions (required)

·      Medieval Europe

ACS 1001 continues to explore the question of “Who Am I?” and incorporates readings from the Renaissance to the present, including:

·      One play by Shakespeare

·      One Catholic Intellectual Tradition/Catholic Social Thought text  (chosen from CIT list)

·      Two texts chosen by the individual professor from the Moderns Common Texts reading list

·      Two (or more) “open” selections


Readings for ACS 1001 should also meet the following breadth requirements:

·      Texts should include readings from multiple significant eras and movements such as the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the nineteenth century, or the twentieth century

·      They should also represent multiple disciplines and a diversity of voices.


Both 1000 and 1001 should include:

·      Seminar format : discussion intensive

·      At least 30 pages of writing (20 pages of graded writing; 10 pages of ungraded writing (drafts, journals, in-class writing, etc.)

·      Culminating portfolio (five artifacts: diagnostic essay; two analytical essays-fall and spring; one creative assignment; reflective essay)

·      Enrollment cap of 16 students in order to facilitate better class discussion and instruction in writing

·      Required attendance at three co-curricular cultural events outside of the classroom

·      Minimum of one teacher/student conference on the student’s writing progress


                                                                        [Rev. 7/2018]

ACS Requirements for Faculty


COURSE THEME:        “Who am I?”

ASSIGNED TEXTS:      1000:  one text from each of the following:  Hebrew Scriptures, the Greeks, the New Testament, Augustine of Hippo (Confessions required), and the Middle Ages.

                                    1001: Shakespeare; Catholic Intellectual Tradition text (chosen from list); two texts chosen by the individual professor from the Moderns Common Texts reading list; (at least) two “open” selections.


Assignments: A minimum of 30 pages of writing (20 pages of formal, graded writing plus 10 of informal writing (reaction papers, in-class assignments etc.)) Assignments should be kept short and frequent; No research paper required


Writing Conferences: Conference with your students at least once during the semester.


Culminating Portfolio: Mandatory for all ACS (includes materials from the whole year). 5 artifacts: 1 diagnostic on “who am I”; 2 analytical; 1 creative; 1 reflective.


FOUNDATION COURSES INTRODUCTORY ESSAY :“The Life Well Lived”: Mandatory for all ACS; to be assigned and uploaded into Foundation Courses Portfolio within first two weeks of class


Writing Center: Require your students to visit the Writing Center once during the Fall semester (and strongly encourage them to visit in the spring).


Academic Integrity: Include summary in syllabus regarding university policy.

Spend some time in class discussing the “Academic Integrity Gateway” quiz that the students should have taken on-line during the summer. 


Attendance Policy: Freshmen have a maximum cut limit for class; in addition, since ACS is seminar class, it is important to stress to your students that they must attend class.


Cultural Events: Require your students to attend three cultural events over the course of the semester (and write short reaction papers on each).


Final Exams: The policy of the College of Arts and Sciences is that each class must have a final exam; however, since ACS is not a traditional survey course, we recommend less traditional forms of exams, like oral exams, group presentations, etc.


Syllabus: Your syllabus should contain information on: office hours and location; telephone; course requirements; and schedule of readings.  It should be posted on your webpage (see department secretary for help).  Please hand in one copy of your syllabus to the department secretary.                                                  


Activities Money: $50 per section per semester is available for subsidizing any cultural events or off-campus meal you wish to do with your class.