According to the great texts of the past, the noble life requires removing the scales from one's eyes and seeing clearly. The next step is to "do" the right thing: to be able to choose, in sometimes ambiguous circumstances, the path that leads to freedom rather than enslavement. This twofold process, one which encourages us to live nobly, has formed the basis of Liberal Education and constitutes the foundation on which civilization rests. In introducing you to the essential texts of Western Civilization and allowing you to reflect on works of fine art and film Arete will offer you a taste of how education frees us.
The Arete program was founded by Dr. Louise Cowan, recipient of the distinguished NEH Humanities Award, architect of the renowned University of Dallas freshman and sophomore core curriculum, and founder of the summer program for teachers at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. The lecturing staff is comprised of full-time UD faculty from the Philosophy, Theology, Classics, History, Politics, Art, English, and Comparative Literature departments while the seminar leaders are Ph.D. students in the Institute of Philosophic Studies.
Assistant Director of the Cowan Center & Archives and Adjunct Professor
Dr. Kathryn Smith currently teaches literature at the University of Dallas and directs Arete, UD’s summer program for high school students. A graduate of UD’s IPS program, Dr. Smith has taught literature at both the secondary and post-secondary level. In addition, she is currently engaged in a project to collect and archive the papers of Dr. Louise Cowan, a renowned UD professor and authority on liberal education.
Louise Cowan Chair Professor of Literature
After graduating from UD in English Literature, Dr. Cowan studied at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich on a Fulbright and then took his doctorate from Yale in comparative literature. He taught English at Louisiana State University for thirty-three years, with additional regular teaching assignments in the Honors College ancient-to-modern core curriculum and in the Comparative Literature Doctoral Program. He had visiting appointments at the University of Provence in Aix; at Assumption College, where he was DAlzon Professor; and, in summers, at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.
Dr. Cowan was a co-founder of the Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Comparative Literature at LSU and a member of the Comit scientifique (advisory board) of the LSU Center for French and Francophone Studies. For that program he designed and directed a series of summer institutes on the literature of the Americas that won an NEH grant and two Louisiana state grants and taught over 100 students, most of them college teachers in the Gulf South.
Dr. Cowan has directed 13 dissertations in American literature, comparative literature, and literary theory. He has taught extensively at graduate and undergraduate levels, especially in American and world literature, literary criticism and theory, and interdisciplinary humanities courses. He has organized a half dozen faculty seminars at several institutions and has taught in adult education programs at LSU and the Dallas Institute.
The Arete: An Introduction to the Classics curriculum focuses on the question: how does one live a noble life? To help answer this question, students will read and discuss such texts as Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, Plato's Republic, Shakespeare’s Henry V, and William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning.” The first week of the program will focus on the theme of “right seeing” and the second, on “right action.” To conclude the program, each participant will present a paper that focuses on a text in the curriculum.
Past participants and our staff highly recommend that you have read through all the readings prior to the start of the program. Below is the reading packet that you will receive upon arrival and the texts you will need to purchase for the program.
Students begin each weekday with classes taught by University professors and doctoral students. After class, seminar leaders conduct discussions with students until lunch. During the afternoon, participants in the program will enjoy time on campus to study, relax, or meet with their seminar leaders for one-on-one writing tutorials.
As residents on campus, students will enjoy the community experience typical of dorm life. Whether playing volleyball, chatting in the dorm lounge, or enjoying a cappuccino, students often find the camaraderie with their fellow Arete class members one of the most enjoyable aspects of the program.
The Arete: An Introduction to the Classics program features weekend trips into Dallas and Fort Worth. Students will visit such places as the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Kimball Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Stockyards and attend a performance at the Trinity Shakespeare Festival.