Frequently Asked Questions

Why a Great Books education?

The texts contained within the Great Books of the Western World are considered great because they speak to us in more than one way. The authors raise persistent human questions, and their different interpretations of those questions reveal a variety of independent and yet complementary meanings. Whether the works are epic poems or political treatises, and whether the subject matter is scientific, historical, or philosophical, they are all linked together.

In following the great authors across time, you will find that they introduce, support, or criticize each other. In this sense, the authors converse with each other, and in this way they draw the reader to take part in a continuing conversation. The goal is not only to gain a knowledge of the past, but also to reach for the best wisdom of all the ages.

Why primary source documents?

Harrison Middleton University primarily uses the Great Books of the Western World as the approved texts for all degree programs. By using the Great Books, students are reading the sources where much of western civilization began and developed. It is important for students to learn and understand the origin of persistent human questions before they can begin to identify solutions or provide answers. By using a combination of primary source documents from the Great Books of the Western World and the Great Books' Additional Readings, as well as the Great Books Foundation's publications, the Annals of American History, Supreme Court cases, and great art, students will craft a program of study rich in primary sources crucial to the study of the great ideas. Selections may be available in many popular editions or collections such as Penguin Classics (http://www.penguin.com/). Prices vary by selection. Students should be advised that in some cases selections are out of print or rare books and may not be readily available from the Additional Readings. Students can work with their Mentor to choose editions of harder-to-find texts not available in Penguin paperbacks.

Students can read the primary texts and come to their own questions and understanding of the selections because their thoughts are not filtered through secondary sources or influenced by professors or modern day philosophers. Students have the opportunity to learn and explore the wisdom of generations and apply their knowledge to current issues. Students can read the primary texts as originally written and consider the issues raised in them on their own merits.

What are the technology requirements to enroll at Harrison Middleton University? 

In order to fulfill the requirements of the Harrison Middleton University course curriculum all students are expected to have, or have access to: 1) a personal computer; 2) an e-mail account that will accept all e-mails, including attachments, from the domain name hmu.edu; 3) a word processor program such as Microsoft Word; 4) a telephone and the ability to call a toll-free telephone number in the United States (may also use a voice-over-IP service like Skype); 5) a Skype account; and 6) an appropriately working web camera.

Why Shared Inquiry?

The "Shared Inquiry" or Socratic method is at the heart of Harrison Middleton University's teaching methodology. Participants in the Shared Inquiry process search for meaning, for answers to fundamental questions of human existence raised by primary texts. This search is inherently active; it is in essence a conversation between the author, the student, and the tutor. In the course of conversation, students will work to interpret the primary text, employing critical skills and drawing upon their own insights and experiences. Throughout their studies, students will have a series of one-to-one discussions (via telephone or Skype) with tutors over the coursework they designed.

For additional understanding of the great books, great ideas discussion method used at Harrison Middleton University, it is recommended that students enroll in The Great Books Foundation's Adult T100 Core Sequence Workshop. In this workshop, students will gain experience in formulating interpretive questions and participating in discussion. For information about courses and workshops offered near you, call The Great Books Foundation at 1.800.222.5870 or visit The Great Books Foundation website.

What does accreditation mean?

Harrison Middleton University is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) (formerly the Distance Education and Training Council – DETC). The DEAC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Additional information may be found on the Distance Education Accrediting Commission website.

Distance education accreditation is certification by a recognized body that a distance education institution has voluntarily undergone a comprehensive study and peer examination that has demonstrated that the institution does in fact meet the established standards. Basically, accreditation is a process that gives public recognition to institutions that meet certain standards. It is a promise that an institution will provide the quality of education it claims to offer. Accreditation assures the student that the institution operates on a sound financial basis, has an approved program of study, qualified instructors, adequate facilities and equipment, effective recruitment and admission policies, and advertises its courses truthfully.

"Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for."
~ Socrates