Press Release

The Illinois Humanities Council is Accepting Applications For Free College-Level Classes – Springfield

The Odyssey Project, an eight-month program of college-level humanities courses for low-income students, will begin in Springfield in the fall of 2004.

CHICAGO – The Illinois Humanities Council is pleased to announce that it is accepting applications for the Odyssey Project, a free, eight-month program of college-level humanities courses for low-income adults. Classes will begin in mid-September in Springfield. For more information about the Odyssey Project, or to request an application for the program please call Nancy McKinney at (217) 820-6150.

Founded on the theory that engagement with the humanities can offer a way out of poverty, the Odyssey Project, in partnership with the Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities, offers course participants 110 hours of instruction in five humanistic disciplines. Students explore masterpieces in literature, art history, philosophy, U.S. history, and writing and critical thinking. The Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities (of which the Odyssey Project is a part) is in its seventh year, with approximately 20 sites operating in the 2004-2005 academic year in the United States. The Odyssey Project will be entering its fifth year in Chicago this fall and its third year in Springfield this fall.

“The Illinois Humanities Council is thrilled to bring the Odyssey Project to Springfield again,” explains Angel Ysaguirre, Director of Programs at the Illinois Humanities Council. “After success in Chicago, we are excited to see the course expand and sustain itself statewide.”

Classes meet two evenings a week over a twenty-eight week period. Syllabi and reading lists are roughly equivalent to those a student might encounter in a first-year humanities survey course at a first-rate university. Tuition is free; books, childcare, and transportation vouchers are also provided. Bard College grants a certificate of achievement to any student who completes the course and six college credits to those completing it at a high level of performance.

  • Curriculum

    There are five discrete sections: Philosophy, U.S. History, Literature, Art History, and Writing and Critical Thinking. In addition, the course offers tutoring, especially with writing.
  • Students

    Students must be 17 years of age or older. The only entrance requirement is the ability to read an English-language newspaper and live below 150% of the poverty level.
  • Faculty

    Teachers for the Odyssey Project are professors from the University of Illinois-Springfield, Southern Illinois University, MacMurray College, Richland Community College, and Millikin University.

The Odyssey Project is funded in part by The Seabury Foundation, The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, and WGN TV Children’s Charities (a fund of the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation).


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