A Partner Program Continues to Thrive

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts & Ideas at The University of Texas at Austin continues to thrive on campus.  We’re happy to share some highlights on the Center’s major activities and accomplishments during the past academic year.


Aimed primarily at incoming freshman and second-year students in all schools of the University of Texas, the Jefferson Scholars Program is a challenging, six-course integrated sequence in the great books and ideas of the ancient, medieval, and modern worlds.

This spring, the program received almost 400 applications for an entering class of 120. This number is up from about 100 last year, thanks to the program’s success in raising funds to mount more sections of the small, discussion-based classes that are a hallmark of the program. More than half the students are again from outside the College of Liberal Arts, especially from the Business School, Natural Sciences, and Engineering.

Student response and evaluation, in anonymous surveys and requests for comment, as well as from students spontaneously remarking on their experience, continues to be enthusiastic.

Please click here to read more on the Jefferson Scholars Program.


The Certificate Program in Core Texts and Ideas is an introduction to the liberal arts through the study of the great books. It is open to all UT undergraduates and will complement any major with an integrated sequence of six courses, all based on great books and other primary texts.

This year about 20 students graduated in January and June with the certificate along with their diplomas. When the first class of Jefferson Scholars graduates with the certificate in 2018, this number will rise considerably.


The Center’s mainstay Program Coordinator and Lecturer, Erik Dempsey (a JMC Fellow), won the Raymond Dickson Centennial Endowed Teaching Fellowship this spring. Dr. Dempsey is serving this year as director of the Jefferson Scholars Program while Jefferson Center co-director Lorraine Pangle enjoys a year’s leave from teaching and administrative duties to write a book on Aristotle, supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.

Jonathan Koefoed, Jack Miller Center teaching post-doctoral fellow for the past year, secured a permanent, tenure-track position at Belhaven University in Jackson, MS. 

For more on the Thomas Jefferson Center, please see here.