Great Books Educators’ Boot Camp

A Great Books Discussion Course

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Great Books Educators’ Boot Camp

“The unexamined pedagogy is not worth practicing.”

The “Great Books Educators’ Boot Camp” is an online opportunity for Great Books educators (broadly understood) to improve their professional self-awareness — and thus their own practice — by collaboratively reflecting on the theory and history of the modern “Great Books Movement” (also broadly understood). Each weekly session focuses on a particular theme of Great Books education through a discussion of one or more primary texts read in advance of that session. Like all Great Books discussion courses, the initial focus of each discussion will be to understand the authors’ meaning(s). Unlike most other such courses, however, this course will also use these readings as a springboard for a consideration of a wide range of current Great Books issues.




Adam Rose

Educated principally at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago, Adam Rose is a teacher and scholar with over 20 years’ experience leading exceptionally effective, award-winning Great Books discussion courses in Western Classics for adult and undergraduate students of diverse ages and backgrounds. Mr. Rose’s teaching emphasizes the development of students’ cognitive skills (close reading, analytical thinking, careful listening, precise speaking and powerful writing) and critical empathy (viewpoint appreciation) as part of facilitating a multifaceted appreciation of the text(s) studied. Mr. Rose is the President and Education Director of Great Discourses.

Course #: 



  • 7 Weeks


  • 1 hr 45 min


  • Online


US$ 0


In order to maintain the professional nature of this event, registration requires pre-approval. Please contact us, telling us a little about yourself and how you heard of this course.

Section A(Course #: 1806E1A)

Saturday, 10:00 AM CT
Jun 09, 2018 to Jul 21, 2018

Course Documents

Please Note

General Information

Like all Great Discourses discussion courses, this live, interactive online discussion course is designed to facilitate the collaborative close readings of classics in ways that help participants transform the challenging into the exhilarating and elevating through “Aha!” moments of profound discovery. Participation requires an Internet-enabled computer or mobile device. The course is open to great books educators (broadly understood). Students do a modest amount of reading homework in preparation for each live online class session, but there are no papers, no tests and no grades. The readings and discussion are in English.


This readings for this course will be available to you on the course page at the Great Discourses Collaboratory Online Course Center once you have completed your registration for this course.

History of Great Books

  1. Lacy, “Dreams of a Democratic Culture: Revising the Origins of the Great Books Idea, 1869–1921” (2008)
  2. Farrar, “Great Books” (1898)
  3. Erskine, “The Enjoyment in Reading Classics” (1927)
  4. Erskine, “Great Books” (1948)
  5. University of Chicago Library, “The Great Ideas: The University of Chicago and the Ideal of Liberal Education” (2002)

Reading Great Books

  1. Adler and Van Doren, “The Activity and Art of Reading” & “The Levels of Reading” (1972 [1940])
  2. Hutchins, The Great Conversation (1952)

Discussing Great Books

  1. Schneider, “Remembrance of Things Past: A History of the Socratic Method in the United States” (2013)
  2. Mathews, “Literary Clubs” (1874)
  3. Sinaiko, “Socrates and Freud: Talk and Truth” & “Dialogue and Dialectic: The Limitations on Human Wisdom” (1998)
  4. Klein, “The Art of Questioning” (1956)

Studying/Teaching Great Books

  1. Bulletin of St. John’s College 1937-38 (2004 [1937])
  2. Kinnell, The Basic Program at Chicago (1955)
  3. Klein, “Discussion as a Means of Teaching and Learning” (n.d.)
  4. Anastaplo, “The Teacher as Learner” (1992)
  5. Adler, “The Three Columns Revisited” (1987)

Great Books over the Lifecycle

  1. Adler, “Adult Education” (1952)
  2. Knowles, “Andragogy: The New Science of Education” (1980 [1970])
  3. Strauss, “What is Liberal Education?” (2003 [1959])
  4. Adler, “Great Books, Democracy and Truth” (1988 [1977])

Managing Great Books

  1. Cohen, “Robert Maynard Hutchins: The Educator as Moralist” (1964)
  2. Dzuback, “Hutchins, Adler, and the University of Chicago: A Critical Juncture” (1990)
  3. Levitt, “Marketing Myopia” (1960)
  4. Bedbury, “What Great Brands Do” (1997)

Perspectives on Great Books

  1. Dewey, “Challenge to Liberal Thought” (2008 [1944])
  2. Redman & Witticoff, “A Debate on the Great Books Program” (1950)
  3. Fitzpatrick, Great Books: Panacea or What? (1952)
  4. Wilhelmsen, “The Great Books: Enemies of Wisdom” (1987)


To get the most out of this intensive discussion course, you will have to do a substantial amount of reading homework in between class sessions — usually about three hours of reading for each hour of class time.

Questions? Suggestions? Contact Us

What students are saying

Adam Rose runs a class the way I believe it is supposed to run. He guides discussion through questions, and he expects us to be able to support our views with references to the texts. He will provide some background information where necessary, but without giving us a lecture. He does this with a good sense of humor and respect for everyone. He is not afraid to curb discussion when it gets off the subject.

Adam Rose consistently promotes stimulating and even controversial discussion in the classroom, no matter what the subject matter. He pushes you to think carefully and widely about the material and never makes you feel that your contributions are ridiculous. He has a great sense of humor and fun that make learning and discussing memorable. I have learned a tremendous amount under his guidance but mostly learned how to think more clearly and creatively.

When Adam Rose teaches, we learn! He can dissect and explain any text in such a way that I feel I have a handle on the concepts. He never lets the conversation veer off course. He can draw out people’s ideas and he’s a master of Socratic questioning. I’ve never had a teacher who can facilitate a discussion as well or bring more ideas to mind. He makes us think we’ve discovered the ideas on our own and gets our wheels spinning like no one else!

Adam Rose is teaching us how to think, how to analyze literature, how to approach it and ask the right question: What does this author say? And to separate out from that analysis whether or not we agree with it. Further, Adam is helping us draw connections between the periods of history of Western thought. We get to study individual books in all our courses, but seldom see the connections and where particular books fit in the scheme of things. I greatly appreciate his diagrams of significant themes or meanings in the book, the use of the visual to aid in our understanding. That helps us see the structure and the author’s intent. His classes are the best part of my week. Frequently, they are just awesome.