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ACTC and Colombian Universities Create ACTC South American Affiliate at Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar in Cartagena

October 20, 2007 -- In the fall of 2004 Patricia Martinez, rectora of a Colombian university, la Universidad Tecnologica de Bolivar, met her former professor, Phil Sloan, President of ACTC, at an alumni reunion. She indicated to him her interest in starting a core text program in her university. Working with Dean Guillermo Serrano, Sloan and Scott Lee, Executive Director, ACTC, traveled to a 2005 conference in Cartagena Colombia to learn more about core text programs. Before and during the conference, the idea of forming an ACTC Affiliate was brought up and the representatives of the universities voted to form such a chapter, pending ACTC Board discussion and approval. Such discussion and voted approval was given in the fall of 2005.

During 2007, Serrano contacted Lee and asked his help in planning a second conference. The second conference was held October 17-20, 2007 in Cartagena. Patterned after much of ACTC's first and second annual conferences, the Cartagena conference sought to interest faculty and institutions in the idea of an ACTC chapter and the idea of forming an institute, or infrastructure, for the chapter, to be based on the Tecnólogica campus. The conference was entitled: INTEGRATING GREAT BOOKS FROM DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE WORLD INTO UNIVERSITIES: HOW TO READ THE CLASSICS WITH YOUNG ADULTS. Lee worked with Columbia University to provide - with Columbia's generous support - two participants in the conference who could discuss a core curriculum with core texts, teaching in the core, and the relation of Hispanic literature traditions to canon issues. Patricia Grieve, who is in the department of Spanish and Portuguese and is the chair of Columbia's Core Curriculum review, and Maria del Pilar Valencia, who is a Colombian national well acquainted with Colombian cultural and educational institutions, a tutor in Columbia's Core, and Patricia's doctoral student, accompanied Lee to the conference. Lee delivered the opening plenary address as well as a slide show on how ACTC has developed its organization over time.

Attendees included representatives from ACTC Liberal Arts Institute at St. Mary's College of California, Columbia University, Universidad de los Andes, Universidad Autonoma de Bucaramanga, Universidad EAFIT, Universidad Minuto de Dios, Universidad del Norte, Universidad de San Buenaventura, Universidad Tecnologica de Bolivar.

There were many addresses on "the classics" and ways to encourage student reading. Presentations and discussions about Antigone, Electra, adaptations by students of Greek tragedies to modern Colombian politics and life, and more modern works and authors, (Dorian Gray, Rayuela, and several famous photographs) were all part of the presentations. These presentations centered on general education courses offered by the attending professors. Curiosity and debate about the idea of core texts was spread over all three days of the conference.

The final day of the conference was administrative. The session solicited conference participants in the formation of the Board of the Colombian Affiliate. With the support of Rectora Martinez, Christian Schumacher, Tecnólogica, was named executive director of a Liberal Arts Institute, and Maria Pilar del Valencia was named ACTC's liaison. It is anticipated that this affiliate will draw on South American universities for membership. In the more immediate future it is anticipated that several members of the affiliate will join the Spring ACTC Annual Conference.

Association for Core Texts and Courses & The ACTC Liberal Arts Institute at
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