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UD-Based Association of Core Texts and Courses Names New Executive Director
ACTC and UD understand that core curricula are not just an excellent preparation for all further studies, but also worthy of study in and of themselves at the highest level. -- Joshua Parens, PhD.

Irving, TX (December 18, 2020) — Charlotte “Charlie” Thomas, Ph.D., has been appointed executive director of The Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC), a membership-driven professional association, based at the University of Dallas, which is primarily concerned with the improvement of liberal education through the use of core texts.  

ACTC President Joshua Parens, Ph.D., also Braniff Graduate School dean and director of the Institute of Philosophic Studies at the University of Dallas (UD), said, “ACTC is privileged to have Charlie Thomas as its new executive director. She’s a talented academic and an accomplished administrator of liberal arts programs. Of course, COVID has posed challenges to universities like UD, and those challenges are even greater for academic associations. Charlie has stepped forward in ACTC’s hour of need. For that we’re deeply grateful.” 

“ACTC has been one of the most important and formative organizations of my academic life, and it is a great honor to have this opportunity to serve the association as its executive director,” said Thomas. “In a time when the pandemic is putting extraordinary pressure on academic budgets, it is more important than ever for teachers committed to liberal education to join together to support each other, our core text curricula, and our pedagogies of small groups and open discussions. It is my central goal as the new executive director to redouble ACTC’s long-standing commitment to supporting liberal arts education around the world and to find new ways to respond to the challenges we are now facing.”

UD, which has served as ACTC’s administrative "home" since 2019, is a particularly appropriate location given UD’s reputation as a leading liberal arts university at the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

Parens explained, “UD has some of the most robust core curricula, relying heavily on the Western canon of great works in the U.S. ACTC and UD understand that core curricula are not just an excellent preparation for all further studies, but also worthy of study in and of themselves at the highest level." 

Jonathan J. Sanford, Ph.D., provost of the University of Dallas and professor of philosophy, agrees: “A shared emphasis on a rigorous and animated engagement with the great works of literature that have given shape to our tradition makes UD a natural home for ACTC. I am eager to see the continued growth of this partnership and the fruit that comes from our common work of supporting the education of students for lives of freedom and great purpose.”

Thomas is a professor of philosophy at Mercer University, having earned a B.A. in philosophy and Great Books from Mercer in 1989 and both an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Emory University in philosophy. She has 25 years of experience in liberal arts teaching and administration, including Mercer’s seven-course Great Books curriculum and McDonald Center for America’s Founding Principles. 

Thomas is the third executive director in ACTC’s history.

About ACTC

The Association for Core Texts and Courses brings together colleges and universities that promote the integrated and common study of world classics and other texts of major cultural significance. Founded in 1994, members of ACTC advocate the growth of such programs in order to strengthen undergraduate education in the United States and Canada. ACTC is committed to the education of free citizens, equipped to conduct their public and private lives informed by the best that has been thought and expressed in Western and other traditions. ACTC advocates core text programs at all undergraduate institutions. ACTC helps initiate such programs and develops networks to support existing programs.

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