The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture


The Sue Rose program is an essential program of the Dallas Institute for Humanities and Culture. The immediate purpose of this Sue Rose program is to honor and to rejuvenate teachers, who are significantly undervalued relative to the sacred trust placed in them by our society. Our goal is to engage, renew and nourish the love of learning for its own sake – that love that inspired teachers to join their noble profession in the first place. An important indirect purpose of the SRSI program is to benefit the students of the teachers who participate and thereby to enrich the future of our society.

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Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Who was Sue Rose?
Sue Rose, a teacher herself, was a luminous presence at the Dallas Institute’s Summer Institutes for decades. As a former student of the summer institute’s founder, Louise Cowan, Mrs. Rose would greet teachers personally and, as a consummate hostess, ensure that they were comfortable in every way. Originally funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the program was generously endowed by Dallas Institute trustee, Deedie Rose, and her late husband, Edward W. (“Rusty”) Rose in memory of Mr. Rose’s mother.
What's the history of the SRSI?
Established in 1984 by Dr. Louise Cowan, the Summer Institute for Teachers allowed Dr. Cowan to share her understanding of “literature as a mode of knowledge” with K-12 teachers. Our program relies on Dr. Cowan’s genre theory, and its content alternates each summer between the study of epic literature and works of tragedy and comedy.
What is the cost of the SRSI?
All SRSI participants are offered a complete scholarship. Thus the SRSI is completely free for full-time teachers. The scholarship includes tuition, books, parking, University of Dallas graduate credits, daily catered lunches, continental breakfast and snacks – all free of cost. We are grateful to Deedie Rose and her late husband, Edward W. Rose for the endowment that makes possible this gift to our Dallas-area teachers. The estimated cost per participant is $3000. We heartily welcome voluntary donations of any amount, up to and beyond that sum. We and generations of teachers to come will honor your support! Email Kate Martin ([email protected]) for more information on opportunities to support this program.
What's the workload?
The workload for this program is significant. During the epic program, we will discuss the following big books in detail: Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid, Divine Comedy, Moby-Dick, with other epics (e.g. Mahabharata) engaged less thoroughly. During the tragedy/comedy program, we will discuss tragedians and comedians from ancient to modern times, from Aeschylus and Aristophanes to Toni Morrison. There is no way to do all the reading while the program is in session! You must commit to doing the lion’s share of the reading in advance. Fortunately, we will distribute your books (at no charge to you) at an orientation session a few months in advance, so you can get started. A number of short writing assignments are assigned during the program. Time for writing will be provided. These assignments will not be graded, except that those seeking graduate credit (see below) must turn in a final essay to be graded. Assistance will be provided to ensure that participants are capable of writing good essays. On a daily basis, we will work from 8:45am to 4pm each day with an hour-long lunch (provided at no cost to participants). There will be daily lectures, seminars and workshops. If past experience is a reliable guide, all participants (including the professors) will be tired and exhilarated by the end of this program. Although the workload is intense, everyone who undertakes it seems willing to testify that it is worth doing. In fact, we polled our students from last summer and every one reported they would unquestionably recommend the SRSI to others.
What's the teaching style?
We honor teachers’ expertise. We believe that teachers already know how to teach their students better than do SRSI faculty members – who are PHD’s experienced at teaching at the college level. The SRSI focuses on content, not pedagogy. The faculty’s goal is to help participants gain a foothold in some of the most difficult, most profound and most rewarding books ever written.
Should I be a classics expert?
Absolutely not! Many of the participants who have received (and given) the most in our program have never read these books before. It is critically important to us that beginners feel comfortable in our sessions. Required: only intellectual curiosity and a willingness to try. Everyone has something to offer in our seminars. These books and these conversations are for all, and all are emphatically welcome at the SRSI!
Who is eligible to attend?
The SRSI is oriented toward DFW area teachers and pre-service teachers. Others may be placed on a wait-list. Define DFW area, please: If you can reasonably commute by car to the Dallas Institute on a daily basis, you qualify. This would include North Texas communities such as Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, etc.
May pre-service teachers attend?
Yes! You must have completed a bachelor’s degree, but otherwise we welcome those who are committed to joining the teaching profession.
Is this for literature teachers only?
No! Former participants attest that this course can directly benefit all teachers (and indirectly their students), regardless of whether they teach these particular texts or subjects in their courses.
What is the application deadline?
There is no application deadline. First come, first served. We will continue to accept applications until the course fills, then put names on the waiting list.
How do I apply for UD graduate credit?
The University of Dallas has its own registration process. Details will be provided at our upcoming orientation sessions, ahead of the Summer Institute. Please note that students applying for credit must submit a final paper, graded by Sue Rose Summer Institute faculty.
How is the text decided?
Following the design of its founder, Dr. Louise Cowan, the SRSI explores specific literary genres. The program alternately focuses on tragedy and comedy one summer, and epic literature, the next. We read and discuss ancient and modern classics of those genres, ranging from the writings of Homer, Aeschylus and Aristophanes, to Dante, Chaucer and Shakespeare, to Melville, Baldwin and Morrison, etc. We pay attention to classics outside the Western canon, including works such as the Mahabharata, the Popul Vue, the Hopi epic, etc.
What if I have further questions?
Please email Dr. Michael McShane at [email protected]