What People are Saying

What People are Saying

By combining time-tested texts, teachers and methodologies with cutting-edge technologies, Great Discourses offers a wide range of professionally designed and led discussion courses of exceptional quality, both online and on location. We are honored, proud and grateful to have received the following generous expressions of support.

Great Discourses is a Great Idea

As a vice president at the Great Books Foundation, a distance learning tutor at Harrison Middleton University, a seminar leader at Classical Pursuits, and a longtime reading and discussion group host, I’ve been involved with Socratic education for nearly 30 years. I know that Great Discourses seminars will include all the essential ingredients for high quality, rewarding discussions. These essentials include the best primary source readings; a rigorous questioning method that focuses on the text and encourages thoughtful interpretation rather than hasty evaluation; a safe environment that invites all participants to think out loud; a respectful environment that allows for healthy agreement and disagreement; and a seminar leading style that respects the adult learner and values the collaborative process of discussion.

With all that has happened over the last fifteen years in the area of distance learning, I’m left questioning why it has taken so long for this great idea, Great Discourses, to bubble to the top. Adult learners should find this program to be an attractive and exciting quality opportunity to talk about the best books with other thoughtful souls.

I wish Great Discourses all the best!

Gary Schoepfel

Internationally Recognized Great Books Educator

It’s about Time for Great Discourses

As a longtime leader in learning vacations organized around the thoughtful exploration of great works of literature, art and music, Classical Pursuits celebrates the arrival of Great Discourses to the field of lifelong liberal education. It’s about time that inquiring adults had frequent, convenient opportunities for thoughtful exploration of a wide range of classics! We are especially pleased that Great Discourses is partnering with us to offer coordinated online courses before and after selected Classical Pursuits trips to create learning opportunities that are greater than the sum of their parts. Vacationers will now be able to enhance the impact of their travel experience through better preparation before they leave, as well as the opportunity to build on their travel experience after they return. We look forward to many happy years of collaboration.

Ann Kirkland


Classical Pursuits

Great Discourses Helps Expand “The Great Conversation”

Adrienne Rich once called upon all of us to “read as if our lives depend upon it.” By that she meant that the quality of all of our lives depends in part on our engagement with the best works by history’s greatest thinkers. Whether it’s William Shakespeare helping us think through the vicissitudes of power, Virginia Woolf helping us understand the consequences of social class, or W.E.B. DuBois helping us rethink the place of race in modern life, reading and discussing great books helps us grow — including in ways that call upon us to act in the world. That’s why the opportunities that Great Discourses offers adults from all walks of life are so important, for they are exceptional opportunities for all of us to engage both the books and each another in this increasingly rare endeavor. Shimer College is proud of our association with Great Discourses, and we look forward to working together to continue expanding what was once called “the Great Conversation.”

Susan E. Henking


Shimer College

Great Discourses Continues and Extends

As I document extensively in my historical research, the “great books idea” was born and nurtured by educators — Clifton Fadiman, Mortimer Adler, Robert M. Hutchins, Scott Buchanan, and several others — committed to the goal of what I call (though they didn’t) a “democratic culture”: the notion that everyone needed and deserved a “liberal” (or “liberating”) education. In their view, this could best be achieved by making the best aspects of American, Western, and World culture universally accessible. As Hutchins put it: “The best education for the best is the best education for all.” In my view, Great Discourses continues and extends this important tradition into the 21st century by using the latest technology to make high-quality, faculty-led Great Books courses easily accessible to adults anywhere in the world. Now, the winning combination of great books, proven teaching methods, superb teachers, and energetic fellow students pursuing the benefits of a lifelong liberal education are “only a click away” from everyone. The early “Great Bookies” would be pleased and proud.

Tim Lacy, Ph.D.


The Dream of a Democratic Culture: Mortimer J. Adler and the Great Books Idea

Great Discourses Brings Seasoned Professionals Online

Great Discourses is part of a recent wave of new opportunities for intellectually active adults from all walks of life and from all around the world to participate in Great Books discussions online. These thoughtful efforts balance the traditional and the innovative in ways that are long overdue. We are especially glad to see the migration of seasoned Great Books professionals into the online space, where wider audiences of both lifelong learners and fellow educators can benefit from their experience and expertise. On behalf of everyone at Great Books Great Discussions, I am pleased to welcome Great Discourses to the growing ranks of Great Books discussion programs and to recommend them to one and all.

Susan Chamberlin


Great Books Great Discussions

Great Discourses Will Offer the Finest Discussion Experience

Having provided great books, great ideas, great conversations, distance learning for more than 15 years, Harrison Middleton University is thrilled to partner with Great Discourses to provide exciting continuing education opportunities. In line with HMU’s vision, Great Discourses great books Socratic Method discussion courses offer adult learners around the world convenient opportunities to participate in lifelong liberal learning of the highest quality through rigorous, collaborative study of primary texts. In addition to dynamic course offerings, Great Discourses has a highly respected, veteran teaching staff that will offer only the finest discussion experience.

David Curd


Harrison Middleton University

Great Discourses is an Extraordinary Opportunity

Socratic-style conversations with Great Discourses via the Internet is an extraordinary opportunity for people to expand their horizons, promote their literary understanding, and hone their ability to read well and carefully. Curious Oyster Seminars is thrilled to partner with Great Discourses to promote the exploration of life’s perennial questions through close reading and thoughtful conversations.


Melissa M. Carl


Curious Oyster Seminars


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