Rediscovering Integral Humanism

Portsmouth, Rhode Island

June 23 – July 2, 2019

What is the purpose of higher education? Why do we pursue specialized fields of knowledge in a university environment? What is the relationship between education and freedom? How are culture and faith informed by education?


Although education produces knowledge that can further scientific and technical progress, the knowledge we gain can also be directed towards the flourishing of human persons in free societies. This summer seminar will introduce students to the relationship between higher education, authentic freedom and integral humanism. By reading authors such as Augusto del Noce, Jacob Levy, Jacques Maritain, John Cardinal Henry Newman, Jean Leclerq, and Luigi Giussani, we will ponder how an understanding of integral humanism can influence education, culture and community. 

In addition to formative readings and engaging discussions, this program will include group leisure activities such as walks in nature, opportunities for contemplation and prayer, and visits to nearby historical and artistic sites. The seminar will also feature an alumni panel, discussing how they have applied what they have learned in their own educational settings. Students will also have the chance to interact with educators from both college and K-12 institutions who have successfully implemented a classical liberal arts approach in their educational contexts.

Selected Readings Include:

Luigi Guissani, The Risk of Education

Jacques Maritain, Education at the Crossroads

John Cardinal Henry Newman, The Idea of a University

Augusto del Noce, The Crisis of Modernity

Seminar Leader:

Professor Margarita Mooney | Executive Director of Scala Foundation. She received her B.A. in Psychology at Yale University and her Ph.D. in Sociology at Princeton University. She is currently a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. Her research and teaching cover topics relating to philosophy of social science, sociological research methods, and human flourishing.

Guest Lecturers:

Professor Roosevelt Montás | Director of the Center for the Core Curriculum at Columbia College. He holds an A.B., Columbia College (1995), and an M.A. (1996) and Ph.D. (2004) in English, Columbia University. Montàs specializes in Antebellum American literature and culture, with a particular interest in American citizenship. As Director of the Center for the Core Curriculum he speaks frequently on the history, meaning, and future of liberal education. Professor Montás is a member of Scala’s faculty advisory board and is committed to bringing a classical liberal arts approach to students from low-income families.

Alumni Panel | A special session will feature alumni of Scala’s previous seminars sharing how the summer seminar shaped their teaching, research, and professional lives in a variety of settings.

Educators Panel | Another session will feature educational entrepreneurs who have launched programs in higher education or K-12 education that bring a classical liberal arts model into diverse educational contexts.



Logistics: Students will be provided food and lodging on the grounds of the Portsmouth Abbey and School, which occupies 500 acres on the shores of Narragansett Bay. Students are expected to cover their own travel costs. Students will be provided with all books and articles required for the seminar, and all readings will be sent in advance of the program.

Format: There will be three 1.5-hour sessions daily. Our accommodations offer students the opportunity to voluntarily attend daily religious services, if they desire. Free time will include leisure and tours of local sites. The seminar will feature an excursion to Newport, Rhode Island, where we will explore the intersection of education, culture, religion and community in early American history.

Registration Fee: Students accepted to the program will be asked to make a non-refundable payment of $200 to cover part of the program costs.

How to Apply: This seminar is open to advanced undergraduate students and early career graduate students (1st or 2nd year) who are interested in learning more about classical liberal arts education. This seminar is intended for students pursuing a degree at a university in the United States. Applications from more advanced graduate students will be considered, but preference will be given to students applying to or entering graduate studies. Applicants should submit via email ( the following documents:

  • An updated CV;
  • A statement of interest that highlights: a) how this seminar will enhance your current or future studies, and b) how you are prepared to participate actively in classroom discussions and a shared residential experience with other students (maximum 750 words);
  • A letter of reference evaluating your overall academic preparation (letter can be sent directly to;

  • One academic writing sample (15-30 pages).

Application Deadline: All application materials are due Friday, March 15th, 2019. Applicants will be notified if they are accepted by Friday, March 29th.

Questions: Please direct all questions to