John Anthony is the college organist. Anthony's courses include Making Music at the Keyboard, Basic Keyboard Skills, Seminar in Music History, and History of Western Music.
This Pathway, by exploring the meaning of the liberal arts from its historical origins to the present, will allow students to make informed assessments of the continuing relevance of the liberal arts as a model for higher education and engaged citizenship. What does it mean to say that Connecticut College is a liberal arts college? Where does this model come from? What is its significance today and what might it look like a century from now? By requiring students to engage with disciplines represented by the seven traditional areas of the liberal arts, this Pathway offers students the opportunity to take part in the liberal arts tradition while critically examining it.
While students will construct their own animating questions, some possible examples might be:
- What does one need to know to be a free person?
- What is the relationship between the arts and sciences?
- What are the social implications of providing a liberal arts education?
- Is the liberal arts constrained by its Western origins?
Soon after arriving at Connecticut College, Leslie Brown worked with the department to start a new major in astrophysics and a minor in astronomy. Believing that student involvement is important for both her and the students, Brown includes students in her research and has also acted as adviser to students' theses and independent studies.
W. John Coats Jr. was the recipient of the College's 2003 Nancy Batson Nisbet Rash Faculty Research Award for excellence in academic research.
While pure mathematics occupies a great deal of Professor Hammond's attention, he also maintains an active interest in the liberal arts, particularly in topics relating to literature and religion. He is delighted whenever he can find connections between mathematics and the arts. He has given several talks on Dante's use of mathematical imagery in the Divine Comedy, as well as a lecture on the place of science and mathematics in Gulliver's Travels.
Tobias Myers comes to Connecticut College from Columbia University, where he taught literature in translation as well as ancient languages. In his teaching he aims to share with students his fascination with the ways in which the ancient Greeks and Romans are strange and yet familiar to us today, and his conviction that we cannot understand the present without understanding the past.
Fred Paxton sees himself as both a humanist and a social scientist. He regularly teaches courses on European history from 200 A.D. to the present, early Islamic history from Muhammad to the Mongols, and History 101, "Big History: From the Big Bang to the Future of the Cosmos." Recent advanced courses have included New Approaches to World History, The Middle Ages in Big Historical Perspective: Northwestern Eureope and the American Southwest, 400-1400 A.D. and The Carolingian Age in Europe.
Darryl Phillips is a historian of ancient Rome, focusing on the culture and history of Rome in the late Republic and early Principate. His research and teaching interests have always been interdisciplinary, encompassing history, law, religion, art and architecture, and topography. His approach to the period is to privilege continuity over change while considering cultural practices in their topographical and historical contexts.
Among the courses Sharon Portnoff teaches are The Holocaust and Post-Holocaust Responses, Religious Ethics and Jewish Traditions. Portnoff's areas of research include Leo Strauss’ influence on Emil L. Fackenheim and Primo Levi’s use of Dante’s Commedia in If This is a Man. Portnoff also coordinates the Miriam Melrod Lecture in Judaic Studies and the Leah S. Rubin '32 Endowed Travel & Research Fund.
Teaching courses on Dante's Divine Comedy and on the Renaissance in Italy are two of the joys of Robert Proctor's life. He wants to inspire in students a love of Dante's great work and a desire to make Dante's journey through the afterlife a companion in their journeys through this life. He wants as well to introduce students to the beauty of Italy, and to the enduring power of works of art and literature created during the Renaissance.
Ric Ricci brings 36 years of coaching experience to the Connecticut College men's rowing program.
The Thematic Inquiry will be a single team-taught course, consisting of six two-week units. There will be a substantial graded assignment at the end of each unit. An opening question for the course will be: “What does the liberal arts mean? Why did I choose to attend a liberal arts college?” The course will culminate with students stating their animating questions and proposing their future Curricular Itinerary and Global/Local Engagement. Units will typically include an overview of the origins of the liberal arts; the cultural and political context of the liberal arts (including athletics); mathematics and the liberal arts; astronomy and the liberal arts; music (or some other creative art); and philosophy or theology. The overall purpose of the course is to provide a thoughtful and unified introduction to the liberal arts, from which students will branch out to consider a wide variety of disciplines and animating questions.
All students in the Pathway will complete at least three Curricular Itinerary courses, based on their specific interests and animating questions. The following courses have been approved in advance by the core faculty of the Pathway. Students may also petition to have additional courses counted toward the Curricular Itinerary, as appropriate.
Suggested Global-Local Engagement
As the Pathway intends to provide opportunities for comparative study, students may also seek out study away opportunities across the globe that provide engagement with global antiquity and contemporary concerns, such as exploring the sciences in Northern Africa, Mexico, and Peru. Current identified options include College Year in Athens and Morningside and Boya Colleges in China, as well as a possible TRIP to Sicily.
Students may identify internships that assist them in understanding the foundations or uses of liberal arts knowledge. Possibilities include hospitals, museums, governmental institutions and research opportunities with colleagues in the liberal arts.
Pathway faculty will work with Community Partnerships and other campus resources to identify and develop appropriate community-based learning opportunities in our courses to enhance student learning and contribute to putting the liberal arts into action. Possibilities include liberal arts day, or in local schools, or admissions open house; astronomy public open houses, or in local schools; public performances, music or theater, perhaps in local schools; classical or comparative mythology day in local schools; student teaching; Costumes; Slater Art Museum/Lyman Allyn docent; arboretum outreach; architectural tours of New London (New London Landmarks); Flock Theater; graveyard analysis, tours; history of New London courthouse.
For more information, please contact Christopher Hammond or any other member of the core faculty.