Summer Seminar Abroad for High School Teachers

Summer 2016 in Athens, Greece

Great Books Summer Seminar Abroad for High School Teachers

"Ancient Athens and the Invention of Democracy"

Download an Application Here

About the Summer Program Abroad

Mercer University has long been known for its innovative Great Books Program, an eight-course sequence that encourages close reading and discussion of some of the most enduring texts of Western Civilization. Now, Mercer's McDonald Center for the America's Founding Principles is pleased to bring the Great Books experience to the nation's best high school teachers.Greece1

In the Summer of 2016, we are offering a Great Books Summer Seminar in Athens, Greece. "Ancient Athens and the Invention of Democracy" will be conducted in the heart of historic Athens.  In seminar, teachers will experience, and be given instruction in, Great Books pedagogy, with a special emphasis on how interdisciplinary topics can be brought together in seminar discussion. This program will run from June 15-26.

The ultimate purpose of the Great Books Summer Seminar is to model for high school teachers how the Great Books texts and distinctive discussion-based pedagogy might be employed to enrich the academic experience of students.

The Great Books Summer Seminar Abroad will immerse participants in the heart of ancient Greece in order to consider the birth of democratic self government and its stunning fruits in politics, philosophy, history, poetry, art, and architecture.


$2,500 plus airfare.

This covers all lodging, food, ground transportation, reading materials, and entrance fees.

Benefits to Participants

  • Collaborative learning with some of Mercer's outstanding Great Books faculty.

  • Lodging in the heart of historic Athens for the entirety of the two-week program.

  • All meals, ground transportation, museum fees included.

  • Complementary copies of all program readings.

  • Lifetime access to the program website and teaching materials, featuring resources for bringing the Great Books experience to the high school classroom.

Schedule and Curriculum

Each workday, we will begin the morning with a briefing on the day's sites and activities. This briefing will include historical and art-historical information as well as some political, philosophical, and literary context.

The group will spend the rest of the morning visiting the remarkable sites in and around Athens, including the Acropolis, Kerameikos, Agora, National Archaeological Museum, Aegina, Temple of Aphaia, Mycenae, Delphi, and Marathon.

After lunch, we will sit together for a seminar, the heart of the program. Here, we discuss the sites we have seen as well as the course readings. Through focused conversation, we will bring together these interdisciplinary texts in order to consider Ancient Greek Democracy in its rich cultural context.  We will also search for the teachings these ideas might have for us as contemporary Americans.  The instructor will model the Great Books pedagogical approach and discuss with participants strategies for bringing that approach into the high school classroom.


Participants have their evenings and weekends free, although there will be opportunities for optional group activities.

To Apply


Teachers in the fields of History, Literature, Government, Economics, Art, Philosophy, Theology, and related disciplines are invited to apply.  


Applications can now be submitted until April 1, 2016.


Applications can be submitted by mail or e-mail to:

Dr. Charlotte Thomas
Department of Philosophy

Mercer University

1400 Coleman Ave.

Macon, GA 31207


Summer Seminar Faculty

Dr. Charlotte Thomas, Professor of Philosophy, Center Co-Director