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Symphony Of Wisdom

Core Curriculum Master Teachers ‘Perform’ their Disciplines like Orchestral Musicians


Every great composition requires great performers who unite their gifts, creating harmony that will move and transport the audience. In the same way, our Core Curriculum requires master teachers, each expert in a different way, uniting their gifts for a common end: To form students for flourishing in this life and the next.   

Just as each musician plays a particular instrument but is united in a single ensemble, so the Core Fellows ‘perform’ their disciplines in a counterpoint that harmonizes diverse voices into a single chorus. 

And just as musicians listen on many levels while they play — attending to their own part, the whole orchestra, and their combined movement toward a rousing conclusion — so the Fellows teach their disciplines with virtuosity, in harmony with the others, and with a vision of their ultimate purpose.   

But an orchestra’s performance is only as good as its conductor. Ours is Saint Pope John Paul II. His vision of the Catholic university — born from the heart of the Church and integrating Faith and Reason — gives a tempo, clear direction, and animating spirit to our ensemble. 

And our composers? Though our orchestra reads its music from many parts, our own Bach, Beethoven and Brahms might be Aquinas, Newman and Josef Pieper. Their writings on the disciplines, the great tradition and the Catholic university nourish us while preparing us for contemporary challenges. 

Finally, there is another apt musical image: the jazz band. Here we see the element of improvisation and good humor. To be a great improviser, a musician must know the basic tune and the harmonic changes, while freely — and often playfully — creating new music rooted in them.  Similarly, our Core Fellows creatively advance liberal education for students each day, while never straying from its foundations: The True, the Good and the Beautiful.   

PHOTO CAPTION, From left to right: Assistant Professor Computer Science Dr. Carlos Monroy, Assistant Professor English Dr. Martin Lockerd, Assistant Professor English Sr. Maria Frassati Jakupcak, Professor of Nursing Dr. Kristina Leyden, Associate Professor Philosophy Dr. Brian Carl, Division Dean of Liberal Studies and Associate Professor Theology Dr. Andrew Hayes, Executive Dean of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor of Music Dr. George Harne, Associate Professor Political Science Dr. Chris Wolfe, Assistant Professor Political Science Dr. Megan Russo, Assistant Professor Philosophy Fr. Raphael Mary Salzillo, Associate Professor English Dr. Clinton Brand, Assistant Professor Philosophy Dr. David Squires, Professor of History Dr. Dominic Aquila, Assistant Professor Theology Dr. Corey Stephan, and Associate Professor Theology Sr. Albert Marie Surmanski

About the Author — Dr. George Harne

AvatarAs Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Harne brings a vision of Catholic education to his work that is animated by the thought of Plato, Cardinal Newman, Josef Pieper, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI. In his role as Dean, Harne cultivates the treasures of the School—its faculty, students, and programs—ensuring that it flourishes in light of the greater mission of the University and draws ever more deeply on the sources of that mission: particularly the great Catholic intellectual and spiritual traditions. He also champions the School within Houston, regionally, and in the nation at large.

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