The Association for Core Texts and Courses

"Supporting Liberal Arts Core Text Curricula Around the World"


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17th Annual Conference
17th Annual Conference Agenda
Conference Registration Online
2009 Submitted Proposals List

The Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC)
Seventeenth Annual Conference

Theme: The Quest for Excellence: Liberal Arts and Core Texts

Sponsored by
Yale University
and Co-sponsored by
Augustana College, Boston College, and the College of Holy Cross

Thursday, April 14  – Sunday, April 17, 2011
The Omni Hotel, New Haven, CT

Plenary Speakers Thursday through Saturday: Howard Bloch, Director, Program of the Humanities, Yale University; John Dowling, Green Templeton College, Oxford University;  Thomas Hibbs, Dean of the Honors College, Baylor University; G. Felicitas Munzel, Associate Chair of the Program of Liberal Studies, Notre Dame University; Richard Kamber, ACTC President and Professor of Philosophy, College of New Jersey.

Hotel reservations: See below.

ATTENDEE PROPOSAL SUBMISSIONS:  All proposals—paper or panel—should include names, institutional affiliations, addresses, email and phone contact numbers of presenter(s).  All proposals should include paper title(s) and a one-paragraph abstract.  In addition, PANEL PROPOSALS should organize a panel of specific presenters with a title for the panel.  No more than two panel members from the same institution may be present on one panel, but panel proposals with only two presenters are welcome.  ACTC will form panels out of individual submissions or complete panel submissions.  DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS IS DECEMBER 31, 2010.

A volunteer faculty member from one of the sponsoring institutions will be contacting you between October 15th and December 10th to remind you about the conference and to offer help in advancing a proposal to us.  All potential conferees are welcome to contact the Executive Director of ACTC, J. Scott Lee, with questions about panels and proposals:

ACTC papers are short (“essay-seminar style,” 5 pages, double-spaced), treat one core text for, at least, ¾-1 page, and develop the conference theme.  (See “Sample Papers,”  The usual time allotted in panels to each paper is 12-15 minutes.  A mark of ACTC conference panels is real, liberal arts discussions.  Thus, papers tend to range over theoretical considerations, particular interpretations, and classroom or programmatic practices—often involving all these areas.  Panel Proposals should bear these characteristics in mind.  Scholarly papers (10 pages) may be submitted for publication in our selected proceedings, but only the short papers may be read at the conference. For publication criteria, see:

While the submission of a complete paper is not required for acceptance on a panel, attendees whose paper proposals are accepted are expected to come to the conference with the completed paperAll conferees are invited to submit these papers to ACTC for publication in our selected, peer-reviewed proceedings.  More than 200 openings will be available for panel presentations and proceedings submissions.

Registration of your paper or panel proposal, or simply your intention to attend the conference, may be done through the ACTC website by filling out the Online Registration form.  Submission before December 1 increases chances of acceptance. 

VOLUNTEERS FOR PANEL CHAIRS, who serve only as introducers and discussion initiators, will be happily accepted.  If you wish to volunteer, see the Online Registration Form.  Only organizers of panels may serve as chairs and presenters at the same time; all other chairs may not present at the same panel.

Conference Theme

The Quest for Excellence:
Liberal Arts and Core Texts

“There is, indeed, no lack of examples of women renowned for literary study and eloquence that I could mention to exhort you to excellence . . . .  Be encouraged and elevated by their excellence.”  Leonardo Bruni, to Lady Battista Malatesta, on The Study of Literature in 1424.

What kind of excellence must we seek to encourage?   Next to the campus of Yale University, the seventeenth annual conference of the Association for Core Texts and Courses answers that we must quest for excellence in the liberal arts and core texts – for our cultures, our faculty, and our students.

Bruni was an early humanist who sought to revive learning―reading, writing, listening, and speaking―through the study of literature, broadly construed to include not only expressive works, but the works of theologians, biblical writers, rhetoricians, philosophers, historians, generals, as well as poets of every stripe.  He urged the study of language, the arts of rhetoric, grammar, geometry and arithmetic, prosody, melody and harmony, “perceptive observation,” and reading the “best” books. 

In sum, he was a humanistic teacher who made no apologies for excellence and urged his students to it.  Perhaps, as we seek to find and revive the excellence of the liberal arts through core texts, we should keep the care for students – Bruni’s primary humanistic object – in mind.

Many institutions are currently engaged in discussions centering on the formation of the student―intellectually, morally, and spiritually.  The expansion of student services speaks to the enhancement of the collegiate experience, but, in the spirit of Bruni’s wide learning, we are more interested in what the arts of a liberal education and the core texts of cultural traditions contribute to student formation.  As teachers and faculty, we are interested in how our institutions of varying secular and religious affiliations have interpreted core text, liberal arts traditions and learning for their students. 

What questions do our students, upon entering our institutions, really care about? What is their idea of an education?  In answer to the question “What is the good life?” does not higher education―if it is to be higher―have to offer students art, readings, discussions, and thinking commensurate with it? 

It is legitimate for faculty to want to show students that beyond questions of the good life there is the question of the relations of knowledge.  The wealth of disciplines that can produce a curriculum suggests a concern Bruni had: what subjects we should read and discuss. What do the liberal arts bring to achieving curricular and interdisciplinary collaboration?  Can we articulate the arguments and grounds of the excellence of books, so that we can say what texts we want those not in our field to read, and what texts out of our field we should read?

The Quest for Excellence:  Liberal Arts and Core Texts.  ACTC and Yale University, Augustana College, Boston College, and the College of Holy Cross, our sponsoring and co-sponsoring institutions, look forward to Conference attendees discussing this theme and the many texts which affect its meaning.



Registration includes price of six meals (Thursday night reception and dinner, three breakfasts and two lunches) regardless of days of attendance, plus admission to all activities, & subvention for published proceedings of the conference.

All individuals attending ACTC are encouraged to become members.  However, all individuals attending ACTC for the second time must become members, and all individuals presenting papers must become members.  Institutional membership does not cover individual membership.

Registration fee:                             $   295.00 U.S.   (CAD price announced after agenda is set)
Individual membership:                   $   50.00 U.S.   (discounted to $ 25.00 if paid by personal check)
Your Thursday night guest(s):           $   45.00 U.S.   each 

Payment forms will be sent to you in early February after the agenda is set.  ACTC does not accept credit cards, because the cost of using them would have to be passed on to conference attendees.  ACTC cannot and will not pro-rate fees.


Parties interested in book displays or displays for programs or projects should contact the ACTC office at



The Omni Hotel, 155 Temple Street, New Haven, CT:  Single or Double Rate: $ 118.00/night.


Call 1-800-843 6664 (1-800-THE-OMNI).  Use the Group Reference name, ACTC Conference.
Go to, scroll down and click on More Options, select New Haven, enter the arrival and departure dates, and in Group Code field, enter the following number. 14600108602, click Check Availability. You will be given the rate ($ 118) and option to book.

Rooms in the “block” at above rate will be held until FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2011.  After March 25, rooms and rates are subject to availability.  NB: We have a room block in line with historical records of attendance at ACTC.  Once the room block is filled, regardless of dates, rates go up and/or a “spill over” hotel will be used.


The most convenient airport is New Haven, after that, Hartford.  Currently, U.S. Airways flies into New Haven.  Many airlines fly into Hartford.  For directions and transportation to the Omni Hotel, see: It is possible to take the Metropolitan Transportation Authority train (Metro North) from New York City, Grand Central Station, to New Haven:

Again, Conference attendance and paper proposal (not hotel) registration:

Questions?  Write or call:
Rosa Grundig
ACTC Liberal Arts Institute at
Saint Mary’s College of California
1928 Saint Mary’s Road
Moraga, CA 94556
925 631 8597;



Online Conference Registration

Please fill in as much information as is applicable, using the TAB to advance to fields, and be sure to click "SUBMIT" at the bottom of this form. Please feel free to examine the "2009 Submitted Proposals List" on the lefthand sidebar for ideas and papers that your proposal might work with.

You may use this registration to submit a panel or paper proposal.

Required* First Name:
  Middle Name:
Required * Last Name:
Required * Name on Name Tag
School/College within Institution:
Building or Office:
Required * E-mail:
Required * E-mail Confirmation:
Work (Area code)/Phone:
Home (Area code)/Phone:
Name of Core Program:
Your first time at an ACTC conference?:
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Are you willing to be a chair for a panel other than your own?  
CONFERENCE PAPER PROPOSAL - If submitting a conference Paper Proposal, please fill in the information below. Additionally, if you are proposing a panel, please also fill in the CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL information.
Title of Paper Proposal:

Core text discussed:
Four sentence description or abstract of paper:
CONFERENCE PANEL PROPOSAL - If submitting a Conference Panel Proposal, please fill in the information below.
Title of Panel:
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
List names, email addresses and phone nos.:

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Association for Core Texts and Courses & The ACTC Liberal Arts Institute at
Saint Mary's College of California:

1928 Saint Mary's Road, Moraga, CA 94556
Ph: 925 631 8597