Great Books Seminar II
“The mind is not an empty vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”
Level 1: Grade 7 - Grade 10
Level 2: Graduating Seniors
60-min weekly seminar (2-4 students per group)
2021 Summer Sessions:
Dates & times by arrangement
The inquiry-based weekly Great Books Seminar uses both classical and modern texts, such as William Shakespeare’s plays and Virginia Woolf’s novels, to help students build intimate connections with the great minds in human history. In line with the student-centered philosophy, the selection of texts varies based on students’ individual interests.
In lively seminar-style conversations, the instructor will ask probing questions that inspire students to develop new perspectives and insights into themselves and the world they live in. In a community of learning, students will form a humanistic mindset and embark on a life-long intellectual expedition.
The skills and habits honed by the program — careful observation, close analysis, effective argument, imaginative comparison, openness to ideas, and global vision — provide a solid foundation for students to succeed in the complex and changing world.
Instructor: Dr. Prusko
Dr. Prusko is a university educator with over two decades’ experience teaching literature, writing, and communications courses. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. She is the recipient of a Faculty of Arts Teaching Award and the William Hardy Alexander Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. While teaching is her main focus, she also researches and publishes in the areas of Shakespeare, early modern drama, and children’s literature.
PhD. in English
Barrie, J. M.: Peter and Wendy
Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness
Frazier, Charles: Cold Mountain
Ishiguro, Kazuo: Never Let Me Go
McCarthy, Cormac: All the Pretty Horses
Marlowe, Christopher: Dr. Faustus
Tolkien, J. R. R.: The Hobbit
As You Like It
Henry IV, Part 1
Homework & Feedback
Classes will be structured around a close-reading of selected texts and a discussion of the complex questions they raise. The student will compose a piece of writing that presents a thoughtful, reflective exploration of each text for the instructor to critique. Regular feedback on the student's class performance will be provided throughout the course.
“Dr. Prusko embraces and celebrates innovative and novel ideas, which allows her students to truly thrive in their own explorations of literature. She has been a huge inspiration in both the academic and personal facets of my life.”
“The writing methods she introduced have proven to be invaluable across a variety of subjects and situations; when my friends are struggling with their writing, I recommend the techniques I learned from Dr. Prusko. Her enthusiasm and skill are truly remarkable.”
“I absolutely loved this course. Dr. Prusko is an amazing teacher who really cares about her students and takes time to make sure they understand the material. She is always willing to help and provide constructive feedback and is great at promoting class community and discussion.”
“Dr. Prusko is an incredible teacher and clearly knowledgeable and passionate about literature. Her class was challenging, but she provided constructive and helpful feedback and really encouraged us to do our best. She encouraged class discussions which were always interesting and helpful to the topic we were discussing.”
“I found myself working hard in this class because I felt compelled by the topic, and because I felt Dr. Prusko was very invested in our advancement in the class.”
“I think that the way Dr. Prusko is prepared, honest, humorous, and knowledgeable made learning more interesting and I enjoyed it. She was easily my best teacher.”