The Sue Rose Summer Institutes for Teachers

Painting by Chris Stott.

A Brief History of the Sue Rose Summer Institutes for Teachers

The Teachers Academy of the Dallas Institute was conceived in 1983 with the “Summer Institute”–a literature class for high school English teachers sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and that called the class a “model for the nation.” The Teachers Academy program at the Dallas Institute offers classes, programs and conferences for school teachers throughout the year but its cornerstone event is this yearly Summer Institute for Teachers–a two-summer sequence of three-week, multi-cultural, interdisciplinary literature courses held at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. In even-numbered years, the course is “The Epic Tradition: Literature as a Mode of Knowledge” and in odd-numbered years, the course is “Tragedy and Comedy: Literature as a Mode of Knowledge.” Teachers are encouraged to attend both summers but they may take one or both classes. In June of 2013, the two-summer cycle of Lyric Tradition courses begins. Alumni of both The Epic Tradition and Comedy and Tragedy are eligible to attend the Lyric Summer Institutes.


The Programs

The Epic Tradition and the Comedy and Tragedy Summer Institutes convene each July for fifteen weekday classes, from 8:45 am – 4:00 pm. The Lyric Tradition Summer Institutes convene each June for five weekday classes, from 8:45 am – 4:00 pm. Mornings in all Summer Institutes classes are given over to a lecture on the reading material for the day and a two-hour seminar exploring the work in detail, trying out ideas and approaches. Afternoon schedules vary to include guest lectures, films and discussions, panels, and writing. Journal writings and a weekly in-class essay are expected of every participant; for those seeking graduate credit, a longer, carefully written essay submitted one week after the course concludes is required.

The Purposes and Aims of the Summer Institutes:

  • to offer K-12 school teachers in the Dallas area a transforming encounter with major literary classics underlying world culture
  • to establish a community of teachers who understand the formative role of the humanities in the life of culture
  • to foster a way of reading appropriate to the form of the work
  • to enable participants to study this body of material not so much as an instruction in competency as an experience in understanding
  • to center attention on the works themselves, with secondary materials used as aids, models, and references rather than as final authorities
  • to provide a coherent approach to recurrent themes and images in the literary tradition through a focusing on major genres (epic, tragedy, and comedy)
  • to offer participants the opportunity to work with a dedicated and experienced faculty in lectures, discussions, workshops, and written expression
  • to strengthen the critical and imaginative powers of participants and hence increase their inner authority in the classroom as teachers in all disciplines
  • to strengthen participants’ higher cognitive skills in reading, thinking, writing, and speaking and thereby to increase their own effectiveness in the classroom

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The Epic Tradition and Tragedy and Comedy Summer Institutes:

  • Three weeks of classes in July at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.
  • Classes meet weekdays: 8:45 am to 4:00 pm.
  • Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are provided each day.
  • Books and materials are provided for Orientation.
  • Mornings are given to lectures and seminars.
  • Afternoons are given to films, workshops, lectures by visiting professors, panel discussions, and writing.
  • Mandatory Orientations are held each spring.

Works studied in The Epic Tradition include: IliadOdysseyAeneidDivine Comedy, Moby-Dick, West African Mwindo EpicThe Epic of GilgameshThe Declaration of Independence, and the Letter from Birmingham Jail. Excerpts from Paradise Lost, the Ramayana, and the Mayan Popul Vuh are typically included. Works studied in Tragedy and Comedy include: Prometheus BoundThe Oresteia, the Oedipus cycle, the Book of Job, Blood WeddingHamletKing LearOthelloPeaceLysistrataMerchant of Venice,Midsummer Night’s DreamThe TempestCrime and Punishment, and Beloved.

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