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Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing

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"We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education."

– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The Purpose of Education,” 1947 

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To flourish means to live well, to thrive. We believe that humans flourish when they develop to their fullest potential as rational and moral creatures living in healthy communities.

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The mission of the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing is to advance the science of virtue and to promote the flourishing of OU Students and all Oklahomans. Learn more

Latest News

May 10, 2019

Extended Deadline for European Liberal Arts Conference

Institute director, Nancy Snow, will present a keynote address at an international conference in Spain next year. We include here the call for papers. The deadline has been extended to July 1, 2019.

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III European Liberal Arts and Core Texts Education Conference
Caring for Souls: Can Core Texts Educate Character?

University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain)
17-19 October 2019

Plenary Lectures:

Rosalía Baena (University of Navarra)
“Reading for Pleasure: from Narrative Competence to Character Education”

David Carr (University of Edinburgh)
“From Characterization to Parable and Allegory: Varieties of Moral Imagination in Fictional Literature”

John F. Crosby (Franciscan University of Steubenville)
“Newman’s Vision of the Intellectual Virtues”

Alkeline van Lenning (Tilburg University)
“The World’s Desperate Need for Small Heroes”

Nancy Snow (University of Oklahoma)
“Virtue, Vice, and Saintliness in The Brothers Karamazov

Plenary Round Table

  • “Character Projects: Learning from Practice and Research”
  • Confirmed participants:
  • Concepción Naval (University of Navarra)
  • Edward Brooks (University of Oxford)

Topic summary 

Recent debates on higher education are focusing on interdisciplinarity and problem-solving skills, but tend to forget the classic goals of a liberal education, namely, personal growth and the engagement with the fundamental questions of being human.

The reading of core texts – i.e. classic texts from philosophical, historical, literary, cultural, or scientific traditions involving ‘the best that has been written’ – eminently allows for a reflection on the great questions of human existence. They allow the student to develop certain intellectual dispositions or character traits whereby the student gains agency in navigating the different knowledge areas within the realm of the university and life outside it.

Can core text education provide for character education and, in this way, promote intellectual development and personal growth, resulting in students who are engaged with, and care for, the world? And, if so, how, and which virtues? Which virtues or vices are discussed in particular core texts? How does core text education promote community?

Call for papers

The conference invites proposals on any topic related to liberal arts and core texts education in the European context. However, in line with the focus of the conference we are especially keen to receive paper proposals that address the role of character education in universities and, particularly, those proposals that connect core texts to the formation of character, both in the core texts themselves and in core text education. 

Papers are required to be seminar style essays: approximately 5 pages double spaced. The usual presentation time allotted to each paper is 25 minutes (including Q&A). The language of the conference, including contributed papers, is English.

The extended deadline for paper proposals and / or panel proposals is Monday, 1 July 2019 (midnight). Proposals are submitted by sending the following information to coreconference@unav.es:

Your name, affiliation and e-mail address.

  • A title for the paper(s).
  • An abstract for the paper (max. 500 words).
  • For panel proposals only: a title for and description of the panel theme (max. 250 words).

You will be notified whether your proposal can be accommodated before 20 July 2019. Should you need an answer before that date, please indicate so in your submision. For questions or further information about the conference, please contact coreconference@unav.es or a member of the organizing committee.

Undergraduate students may send paper proposals. There will be special panels for them. Please, indicate clearly if you are an undergraduate student.

Publication

Selected contributed papers will be considered for publication in a volume on  "Character education in universities".

 

Deadline for submission of the paper (max. 8000 words): 10 January 2020, by email to coreconference@unav.es

The Scientific Committee will evaluate proposals with the following criteria:

  • The topic of the paper is "Character education in universities".
  • The quality of the foundation of the theoretical framework and the methodology used.
  • Scope of the results.
  • Quality of the discussion and conclusions.

Organizing committee

  • Kathleen Burk (ACTC)
  • Emma Cohen de Lara (Amsterdam University College)
  • Reyes Duro (University of Navarra)
  • Rebekah Howes ( University of Winchester)
  • Gesche Keding (Leuphana University)
  • Álvaro Sánchez-Ostiz (University of Navarra)
  • José M. Torralba (University of Navarra)

 

For further information about the conference, see: https://www.unav.edu/en/web/instituto-core-curriculum/congreso-europeo-actc/home

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The Institute is made possible by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation
and by support from The University of Oklahoma and the Kirkpatrick Foundation.