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Community Seminars in Annapolis

Enrich your life with continuing education classes, open to the public and offered at St. John’s College since the early days of the New Program—the distinctive curriculum based on the study and discussion of the great works instituted by Stringfellow Barr and Scott Buchanan in 1937. Barr and Buchanan led seminars on classic works for members of the Annapolis community, a tradition that continues today.

With its weekly seminars, Saturday seminars, and weekend seminars, the Continuing Education program helps fulfill the mission of the college. Many kinds of students can benefit from the methods of reading and discussion central to the college curriculum.

What is a St. John’s College Seminar?

A seminar is a conversation among participants and one or two faculty members about a text they have all read beforehand. The purpose of the conversation is to explore the ideas raised by the text. There is no agenda, no attempt to reach some preconceived end, and no ultimate answer. Participants explore the issues as ideas occur to them. The values of our conversation include openness, reason, clarity, respect, and civility.

The Role of the Tutor

At St. John’s, members of the faculty are called tutors. A tutor opens the seminar conversation by asking a question based on the reading. From then on, the tutor keeps the conversation moving, clarifies issues when necessary, and raises questions helpful to the conversation.

The Size of the Seminar

Seminars are made up of 15 to 20 participants, including one or two tutors.

How to Prepare

Read the assigned text in advance. No previous knowledge of the subject or author is required. Outside research is not expected. It is your own ideas that are important in the seminar. If you have time to reread the text, you will find that more ideas present themselves and that ideas from your first reading become clearer.

A full refund is provided should you cancel at least two weeks before the first seminar meets. No refunds are provided if you cancel less than two weeks before the seminar meets.

Should we need to cancel due to weather, you will be notified by e-mail and the seminar will be rescheduled.