Samford University


History of the Program

In the fall of 1997, Samford University introduced an entirely new Core Curriculum for its undergraduate programs. Referred to simply as "the Core," the new curriculum replaced an outdated and disparate list of general education requirements with an integrated course of study to be completed the first two years of college.  This curriculum has become an essential part of Samford's undergraduate experience.  It touches every aspect of university life by serving as the centripetal scholarly force uniting the humanities, the sciences, and the professional schools. 

A general element of the Core Curriculum is Cultural Perspectives, a two-semester introduction to the humanities. Led by Dean Rod Davis, Dr. John Mayfield, and Dr. Rosemary Fisk, Howard College faculty designed a course that would introduce freshmen to their intellectual heritage and challenge them to think beyond that heritage. As professors from many disciplines, they decided to put their diversity to good use to create a course that is interdisciplinary yet interconnected. To that end, all sections of Cultural Perspectives share a common chronology and certain common texts, but each professor approaches the material by drawing from the strengths of their disciplinary training. 

During the first two years of the new curriculum, professors experimented with readings that complemented the common texts. Every section's list was different, yet certain works appeared consistently. It seemed advisable to bring these readings together in a shared sourcebook for the sake of convenience and cost.  The sourcebook is just that--a book of sources, materials which can be used in class, in research projects, and for personal enlightenment. We do not pretend that these readings form a canon of any sort; they represent only a tiny fragment of the thousands of documents that have shaped our culture. They are, however, a starting point, an introduction to our common conversation with the western intellectual tradition and other intellectual traditions from around the world.



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