Climbing, Camping, and the Classics

by Dave Milbrandt

Professors and administrators in APU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) recently designed a program that blends the study of classic art, music, literature, philosophy, religion, and history with the scenic environment of California's High Sierra.

As participants in the Great Works Option (now High Sierra Semester, about 40 Azusa Pacific students and faculty members will spend a semester living in a Christian conference center at Bass Lake, just south of Yosemite National Park. Students will study the writings of Plato, the artwork of Cézanne, and the theology of Augustine, among other works. The option offers students an opportunity to earn up to 17 units of general studies requirements in either the fall or spring semester. Courses will differ each semester, allowing students to participate in the program both semesters, earning a possible total of 34 units. Christopher Flannery, Ph.D., chair and professor of political science and history, along with other liberal arts faculty, designed the program curriculum. "The study and discussion of these great works provide a powerful introduction to liberal education for those students with high personal motivation to explore life's great questions," he said. >"Students will study the writings of Plato, the artwork of Cézanne, and the theology of Augustine, among other works." Each term, students will engage in an integrated study of art, literature, history, philosophy, science, and theology, focusing on these issues in small groups with faculty teaching the material on site and via the Internet from the Azusa campus. Tuition, room, and board costs are expected to be equivalent to standard semester costs. Rae Newstad, Ph.D., assistant professor of history, said the Great Works Option will benefit students in several ways. "The small class sections will provide more time for discussing and exploring the class readings," she said. "And the coordination of these courses will make each one more valuable than if they were taken separately." "I'm excited about directing a cutting-edge educational program from its inception," said Don Lawrence, Ed.D., director of the Great Works Option. "I wish every student could have the experience of studying in this environment." If you are interested in being a part of the Great Works Option or would like more information, visit

Dave Milbrandt is a writer in the Office of University Marketing and Creative Media.