Mission Statement
The mission of the Humanities Program at Aquinas College is to instill in its students knowledge of and appreciation for the history of human cultural achievement, especially in the Western Humanistic Tradition. In keeping with the Dominican charisms of study and community, the program promotes the idea that we, as citizens of the U.S. and of the world, are all members of a larger cultural community, and that increasing our awareness of it enriches our human experience.

Humanities Learning Outcomes

In support of the Aquinas General Education program, the Humanities curriculum addresses the student learning outcomes listed below, in which the student will

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history of the Western Humanistic Tradition
  • Read critically and formulate relevant conclusions (critical thinking)
  • Demonstrate proficiency in communication (writing, reading, listening skills)
  • Continue to develop research and analysis skills
  • Integrate knowledge of diverse perspectives and cultural traditions
Standards Statement
Standards for the course are determined by the Aquinas College General Education Program. The institution's philosophy on General Education is greatly influenced by the Essential Learning Outcomes of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Over the years this philosophy has also been informed by such documents as the Harvard Core Curriculum Report of 1978, its Curriculum Review of 2004 and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's Missions of the College Curriculum.


Matthews, Roy and F. Dewitt Platt, Experience Humanities, 8th edition (McGraw-Hill, 2014)

Homer, The Odyssey, trans. Robert Fagles (Penguin, 1996)

Sophocles, The Three Theban Plays, trans. Robert Fagles (Penguin, 1984)

Virgil, The Aeneid, trans. David West (Penguin 1991)

Dante, The Inferno, trans. John Ciardi (Signet Classic, 2001)

Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, trans. Neville Coghill, (Penguin Classic)

Students should also have a current writing manual with 2009 MLA style guidelines


How the Course Works

This section of Humanities will meet twice weekly for 75-minute sessions which will usually follow a seminar format: students should be prepared to discuss textbook readings in depth during class. Students will also be expected to attend several presentations outside of class time over the course of the semester. A calendar of events from which to choose and a more detailed description of requirements associated with these events is available on the Humanities web site.

Included in this syllabus is a calendar of class meetings with assignments. It is your road map for the course. Consult it often to confirm what your assignments entail, when they are due, and when you are scheduled for an exam. The syllabus is also posted on the Humanities Program website at
Attendance Policy
  • Students are expected to come to each class with their text(s) and having read all assigned material. Students who miss a class meeting must take responsibility for all material covered.
  • Attendance at selected cultural presentations is required for all Humanities students.
  • Intelligent oral student participation is an important element in this class and will be counted toward a student's grade.

In case of absence from class or special events, the following policy will be implemented:

  • With four (4) absences, your final grade for the course will fall a full letter grade.
  • With seven (7) absences, your final grade will fall a second full letter grade.
  • Beyond that, you will receive an automatic no credit for the course.
  • If there is a compelling reason why you cannot attend your class, please contact your instructor in advance.


You will be held responsible for the reading assignments, papers, oral presentations and other assignments. Final grades will be based on the following scale:
Examinations: 60%
Papers (2): 30%
Participation, including In-class presentations: 10%

Note: To receive credit and a grade in the course, students must turn in all assignments. Assignments not turned in by announced due dates will receive a grade reduction. Instructors will explain this policy during the first meeting.

Academic Dishonesty
Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty are not tolerated. See the "Academic Dishonesty" statement in the College Catalog for a full description of the college's policy.


In addition to holdings in the Grace Hauenstein Library, the Humanities maintains a supplemental library in its Resource Room (AB 359). The library also subscribes to numerous databases (First Search, InfoTrac, ArtSTOR and others) to support academic research and learning.
Support Services

Please visit the Academic and Learning Services office in Lower Wege at the first sign of academic difficulty.  The Center employs specialists in study skills, grammar, term-paper preparation, and reading skills. Hours are Mon. through Fri. from 9 am to 4:30.  Walk in or call 632-2166 for an appointment.

The Writing Center is also located in AB 2, and employs specialists in study and reading skills, grammar, and term-paper preparation.  Walk in or call 632-2166 for an appointment.