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Dean Randy Diehl of the College of Liberal Arts has filed with the secretary of the Faculty Council the proposed addition of the Core Texts and Ideas certificate and the request to recognize it on the University transcript. The dean of the college approved the changes on May 14, 2009. The secretary has classified this proposal as legislation of general interest to more than one college or school.

The Committee on Undergraduate Degree Program Review recommended approval of the change on October 28, 2009, and forwarded the proposed changes to the Office of the General Faculty. The Faculty Council has the authority to approve this legislation on behalf of the General Faculty. The authority to grant final approval on this legislation resides with the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs with notification to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

If no objection is filed with the Office of the General Faculty by the date specified below, the legislation will be held to have been approved by the Faculty Council. If an objection is filed within the prescribed period, the legislation will be presented to the Faculty Council at its next meeting. The objection, with reasons, must be signed by a member of the Faculty Council.

To be counted, a protest must be received in the Office of the General Faculty by November 9, 2009.

Greninger Signature

Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty and the Faculty Council

Distributed through the Faculty Council web site on October 29, 2009.


If the administrative unit requesting to recognize the certificate on the University transcript, please see the Minimum Criteria for Certificate Recognition on the Transcript section. The criteria in that section must be incorporated into the catalog language and included in the proposal.

1. Type of Proposal: new program

2. Official Certificate Name: Undergraduate Certificate: Core Texts and Ideas

3 Proposed Implementation date: Fall 2010

4. Administrative Unit Awarding the Certificate: Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

5. Statement of Objective (Include pages in undergraduate catalog where changes will be made): page 302
Creation of a new certificate in Core Texts and Ideas and for its recognition on the University transcript.

6. Number of students expected to receive the certificate each semester: 50 or more

7. Number of hours required for completion (Please note if there is a minimum or maximum number of hours): 18 credit hours

8. List faculty who are on the certificate program faculty committee. (For inclusion on transcripts, the faculty committee must have a minimum of five members and at least 2/3 of the committee must be tenured or tenure-track.) Note with an asterisk those faculty who are tenured or tenure track. Please also note the program chair, who will be responsible for authorizing the students’ certificates. Specify changes to the committee membership by noting those no longer on the committee and those added to the committee.
Name of Faculty Member College/Department Title at UT Austin Highest Degree and Awarding Institution
*Daniel Bonevac Liberal Arts/philosophy Professor Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
*John Butler Business/Management Professor Ph.D., Northwestern University
*Larry Carver Liberal Arts/English Professor Ph.D., University of Rochester
*Eli Cox Business/Marketing Professor D.B.A., Indiana University
*Karl Galinsky Liberal Arts/classics Professor Ph.D., Princeton
*Ernest Kaulbach Liberal Arts/English Professor Ph.D., Cornell
*Hans Mark Engineering/Applied Research Laboratories Professor Ph.D., MIT
*Lorraine Pangle, program chair Liberal Arts/government Associate Professor Ph.D., University of Chicago
*Thomas Pangle Liberal Arts/government Professor Ph.D., University of Chicago
*Devin Stauffer Liberal Arts/government Associate Professor Ph.D., Boston College
*Jeffrey Tulis Liberal Arts/government Associate Professor Ph.D., University of Chicago
*Paul Woodruff Liberal Arts/philosophy and classics; Undergraduate Studies Professor and Dean Ph.D. Princeton

9. Academic course requirements:
Course Abbreviation and Number
Course Title
CTI 301 Ancient Philosophy and Literature
CTI 302 or CTI 303 Classics of Social and Political Thought; Competing Visions of the Good Life
CTI 304 World Religions: Traditions and Texts
GOV 312P or GOV 312R America's Constitutional Principles: Core Texts; America's Constitutional Principles: The Challenge of Equality

10. Other certificate requirements:
Six hours chosen from a list of approved electives.
Twelve of the eighteen CTI hours required for the certificate must be completed in residence.
All criteria for certificates and for transcript recognition have been incorporated into the CTI certificate description in the Undergraduate Catalog.

11. Give a detailed rationale for change(s):
The Program in Core Texts and Ideas was designed in response to the Commission of 125’s call for reforms to UT’s core curriculum.

The Commission believes that while the current system offers students myriad courses of study, it fails to equip undergraduates with a core body of knowledge essential to a well-balanced education. For too many degree plans, the current curriculum resembles little more than a vast á la carte menu. While this makes for great flexibility and variety, course-selection decisions are frequently driven by class availability, convenience, and whim rather than by a well-conceived plan of instruction.

Students and alumni have cited other shortcomings such as inadequate development of writing skills, lack of exposure to the great books of civilization, [and] overspecialization of study in professional education at the undergraduate level.

The Task Force on Curriculum Reform, building on this analysis, wrote that the curriculum “should serve to give coherence and integrity to a student’s overall undergraduate education.” “The University,” the Task Force observed, “does a superb job teaching specialized classes that satisfy degree plan requirements. It is less successful in developing courses and programs for students outside their majors that add breadth or that integrate knowledge from different disciplines.” Rather than implement a single unified core sequence of courses for all students, the task force called on faculty to devise multiple new integrated programs or strands through the core: “core courses [should] be coordinated into clusters or thematic strands that will provide a deeper, more coherent learning experience.”

The Certificate Program in Core Texts and Ideas is one response to this call. Its premise is that, especially for talented and highly motivated students, one of the best foundations for a liberal education is an integrated study of the great books. The works studied in this program are all characterized by a deep exploration of basic questions in ways that contemporary and subsequent thinkers, artists, and political leaders have found especially compelling or provocative of further thought. These works reward close reading and require considerable effort and skill to distill and to analyze their arguments, both explicit and implicit. The program is unified by a sustained engagement with these fundamental questions and by a focus on teaching students to become skilled readers and interpreters of such profound and challenging texts. The program is further unified by a concern to reenact and to evaluate the debates and controversies over basic questions—both explicit and implicit—that all of these works enter into.

For many students in the University, exposure to the great books is limited to one of the English department’s courses in the masterworks of literature, the required 316K courses. Our certificate program aims to build on this successful model to create and bring together similar courses, both departmental and interdisciplinary, based on the great works of classics, philosophy, political philosophy, science, mathematics, the social sciences, and the arts. Through a sequence of these courses, students will find that books from many cultures, epochs, and fields of study are engaged in a common and mutually enlightening dialogue and debate about the meaning of life, the power and reach of human knowledge, and the fundamental principles of ethics and politics. The focus in the four required courses will be on ideas and debates that have shaped the Western world and are increasingly influencing political, economic, and social life everywhere; in addition, the program will include courses that examine Eastern answers to the same questions and courses that bring Western and Eastern ideas into dialogue with each other. Inviting students to enter into this discourse, the program will train them in writing, critical reasoning, and questioning; it will encourage them to think in an interdisciplinary way; and it will give them a perspective on and a capacity to respond thoughtfully to the urgent challenges and conflicts of our own time.

College/School Approval Process:
Approver: Richard R. Flores on May 14, 2009
Title: Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

To view the edited version of the catalog changes click the PDF link at the beginning of this document.