Concordia University Wisconsin will launch this fall a new learning opportunity that puts primary texts and thought-provoking conversation first.
The Great Texts Pathway (GTP) is geared towards undergraduate students and consists of courses from diverse disciplines that are united by the emphasis on close reading and vigorous discussion of primary texts. The pathway is open to students from any discipline. Those who complete 21 credits of GTP-designated courses and apply for admission to the pathway will receive a certificate of completion and a GTP designation on their transcript.
The Great Texts Pathway is the result of a collaboration between Vice Provost of Curriculum and Academic Innovation Dr. Bernard Bull and Professor of Philosophy Rev. Dr. Greg Schulz, along with input from Assistant Professor of Theology Rev. Dr. Jason Lane, Professor of Theology Rev. Dr. Jason Soenksen, Assistant Professor of Theology Rev. Dr. Brian German, Associate Professor of Science Dr. Paul Strycker, and Professor of Philosophy Dr. Angus Menuge.
“The Great Texts Pathway is intended to form the soul and spirit of our students by giving attention to the meaning of seminal and central texts that have been handed down to us,” says Lane. “There is nothing more central to our life as a Lutheran community of higher education than to be concerned with the external word, as it is read on the page, heard from the chapel pulpit, and contemplated in conversation and writing.”
Concordia is the only university in the Concordia University System to offer a comparable program. While other colleges and universities across the nation have similar offerings, Concordia’s pathway offers more flexibility in that it does not prescribe a major or sequence of courses.
Courses within the pathway will involve deep reading and study of great books—that is, time-tested texts that speak universally to the human condition or cast light on timeless truths. Instructors will utilize the Socratic teaching method, which takes a more discussion-based approach to teaching as opposed to a lecture-based approach. This form of education will allow students to be formed by their own study, reflection, and conversation, with the professor acting as a guide or tutor, says Bull.
Professor of Theology Rev. Dr. Jason Soenksen, whose training included study of primary texts, the Bible, Greco-Roman antiquity, and early Jewish and Christian literature, will serve as coordinator for the program. His role will be to support instructors in the pathway and to identify and recruit more professors to teach within it.
“We think this can be a draw for a growing number of students who have been shaped by a classical philosophy of education, and it’s unquestionably a mission fit for Concordia,” says Soenksen. “The Great Texts Pathway reflects not only our identity and mission as a Lutheran university, but also our spiritual and academic heritage.”
Learn more at cuw.edu/great-texts-pathway.
— Kali Thiel is director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 262-243-2149.
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