Great Books Curriculum

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What is the Great Books Curriculum?


Child reading

        Think about your favorite childhood story: a book or a movie, perhaps even the lyrics to a song. What is it about that particular story that stays with you – a personal connectedness -- even into adulthood? Is it a memorable character? Or simply a wonderful line.       

         Great Books are like that one special book that each of us carry within us. Collectively, the classical works endear themselves not to a single life, but span the generations through time and across cultures. They become us, in both senses of the word: The classical works shape our civilization, and, in turn, enhance the realm of the human.

         To experience Homer’s Iliad is to understand the horrific waste of war, all wars; to hear Romeo and Juliet’s first words – a sonnet! – is to recall one’s own first blush of love. To be read aloud the opening lines of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” (“I sing myself, and celebrate myself, / And what I assume you shall assume. . .) is to intuit what it is to be American.

        Our country’s top universities have long offered seminars in the Great Books. And now, community colleges around the country have begun their own Great Books programs designed with our students in mind: transfer students, re-entry, international, each of you. SBCC's Great Books Curriculum is modeled on the nationally renowned program established at Wilbur Wright College in Chicago, Illinois. Our program offers "GB" courses in English and English Skills, Philosophy, Political Science, and Theatre Arts. Upon successfully completing four GB courses, students may apply for a Certificate of Achievement.





Santa Barbara City College would like to acknowledge the Apgar Foundation for the awarding of two generous grants. Included in the funding, the grants have enabled our program to host fall student symposiums with monetary awards for top student essays: "Trees of Knowledge" (2011) and "Plato's 'Crito': The Honorable Life" (2012). The fall symposium was expanded to include student entries from Alta Vista Middle College and Santa Barbara High School, as well as SBCC students. We are also excited to announce the formation of the new Great Books Club. The Luria Library's Elizabeth Bowman serves as faculty advisor. The Great Books Curriculum is honored to have been selected by the Apgar trustees for this award.

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Further Acknowledgments:

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