Too many courses today consist of in-class lectures based on reading assignments from expensive and quickly outdated textbooks.
Often the information in the textbook is simply regurgitated in the lecture, thus making the course content frustratingly redundant. The textbooks themselves summarize information that was first articulated in more nuanced and difficult primary sources. At the end of the course, the students take a test on the material covered in the lecture and the textbook, and their ability to recall information on the test determines their grade in the class. This results in students whose main skill is short-term memorization of second-hand information.
Saint Constantine College approaches class differently.
All of the time spent in our core Great Texts Tutorials is dedicated to in-depth Socratic discussion of key primary sources from world history. The readings proceed chronologically from the classics of the Ancient Middle East, Greece, and Rome through Late Antiquity and the Medieval World to the Modern Era.
Students grapple firsthand with the great ideas and stories that have shaped the contemporary world. In discussion they are challenged by their peers and professors to articulate what they think about these texts and why. Over time, they build a community of reading, discussion, and scholarship that encourages rigorous preparation for class discussions and learning to speak the truth in love concerning the most important questions that humanity has ever faced: questions of ethics, politics, religion, and human relationships.
We do not have time to waste on second-hand ideas watered down and soon forgotten. The great thinkers, teachers, and justice-seekers of the ages await our engagement, and at Saint Constantine, we rise to meet them.
General Education: Years 1 and 2
During the first two years at Saint Constantine College, students complete their General Education units through our Great Texts core curriculum.
The Bachelor of Arts: Two Tracks
Those wishing to continue their study at the upperclassmen level can continue on into one of our two Bachelor of Arts Programs:
Orthodox Christian Studies, which is granted by Saint Constantine College
English, which is granted by William Jessup University
In the upperclassmen years, students study great writers, especially Plato, Dante, and Shakespeare, in tremendous depth, and are apprenticed in the research, writing, and dialectic required at the graduate level. A Bachelor of Arts culminates in a Senior Thesis, wherein the student conducts original research and produces a scholarly, article-length essay on a writer of their choice. The Saint Constantine student who completes their course of study has dedicated their undergraduate years to the slow work of forming a humble soul, a virtuous character, and a discerning mind.
Orthodox Christian Studies Track
Students who complete a Bachelor of Arts in Orthodox Christian Studies are equipped to lead and serve in many settings, especially in Orthodox Christian ministry, theological study, and Christian education. The upper division classes in Orthodox Christian Studies include both Great Texts discussions and tutorials, as well as courses in Theology, Orthodox culture, Christian literature, and Biblical and liturgical languages.
William Jessup English Track
Students who complete a degree in English through William Jessup University are equipped to go on to a wide range of careers and/or graduate school in education, literature, law, or the broader humanities. The upper division classes in the WJU English track include both Great Texts discussions and tutorials, as well as courses in English and American literature, literary theory, and contemporary literature.
Academic Standing and Letter Grades
Because of the small class sizes, students are required and expected to actively participate in each class session. The curriculum is diverse and rich, offering students many opportunities to demonstrate their ability to wrestle and interact with the material. It is assumed that each student is capable of pursuing their studies until there is clear evidence to the contrary. Progress is noted by tutors throughout the semester, and regular attendance is required. All absences and instances of being clearly unprepared for, or lack of participation in, tutorials are taken into consideration when determining academic standing.
Rather than merely working for grades, students are encouraged to develop their powers of understanding. Therefore, within Saint Constantine, grading is not of central importance. Students are told their grades only on request. The tutor’s comprehensive judgment of a student is reported each semester as a conventional letter grade, A, B, C, D or F, where C indicates that the work is at a satisfactory level. Such a grading system is necessary for students who wish to enter graduate or professional school, or to transfer to another institution. If it becomes evident that a student is not progressing or that the learning process has stopped, the student is asked to leave Saint Constantine.