Lynchburg College’s Senior Symposium and the Symposium Readings Program

In 1976 Lynchburg College developed the Senior Symposium, a two-hour course required of all graduating seniors. Through lectures by visiting scholars on related current issues and small-group discussions based on the lectures and readings, students grapple with the great issues facing humanity from the perspectives of Western and non-Western civilizations. The college publishes its own ten-volume set of classical readings for the course through the University Press of America. Lynchburg College Symposium Readings—Classical Selections on Great Issues addresses themes such as poverty and wealth, tyranny and freedom, the nature of the universe, imagination and creativity, faith and morals; human nature, education: ends and means, science, technology and human values, and war and peace.

In 1989, the college created a bold approach to liberal studies by extending the use of the symposium readings across the curriculum and engaging students in the discussion of these texts throughout their four years at Lynchburg College. An “LCSR Course” is a regular Lynchburg College course in which at least 20 percent of the grade is based on written and oral communication related to reading assignments from the Lynchburg College Symposium readings. The Lynchburg College Symposium Readings Program is an innovative approach to integrating selections from classic works into supplement regular class material and provide elements of integration, depth, and broad perspectives, within the context of regular courses. Our mission is to foster interdisciplinary study by all students, so that they read from texts of classic and modern significance, and write and speak about them in the context of contemporary society.

Description submitted by: Peggy Pittas, 2001