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Academy Newsletter Summer 2021

Greetings, friends of the Academy at Houston Baptist University!

As our community grows and extends its reach outside of Houston, it is more important than ever for us to find ways to remain connected. In this newsletter, you will find information about current and upcoming events as well as an invitation to submit your own news and updates.  

I’d like to draw your particular attention to the schedule of events for this year’s Academy Orientation, which will take place on August 18 from 10 am-3:30 pm. Although this orientation is primarily intended for new and returning Academy students and their parents, this event will also serve as an excellent preview of the Academy for any prospective students you may want to invite. This event will also include an Alumni Panel, so if you’re an Academy alum and you’d like to participate, please email me at TheAcademy@hbu.edu. Please make sure to read the short C.S. Lewis essay (linked below) before August 18 so you’re prepared for the Socratic discussions! 

 Also included in this newsletter is an announcement of our annual Academy Award winners (our red carpet was virtual this year); an interview with one of our current Academy students, who shares her favorite memories of her time in the Academy as well as advice for new and returning students; an interview with one of our current Academy faculty members, who reflects on the value of reading Dante with high school students and offers encouragement to students undertaking the rigors of dual-enrollment courses; and a list of our on-campus Academy classes offered for 2021-22.  

Julianna Leachman

Director, The Academy
Houston Baptist University

Featured in this issue of the Academy Newsletter:

2021-2022 Course Offerings

  • Intro to Great Books and Composition B (non-credit) 

    Intro to Great Books and Composition B

    Professor: Ty Korsmo
    Recommended for 7th-8th grade students. 

    Introduction to Great Books and Composition B is a college preparatory, in depth literature and writing course.  Student will read and discuss works from authors such as Plato, G. K. Chesterton, J. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis. The class also uses Harvey’s English Grammar for composition lessons, with a particular emphasis on the argumentative essay. 

    *This course is middle school/junior high school level and cannot be taken for high school or college credit. 

    HBU Campus
    T/R | 11:00-12:15 p.m
    $800 per year, no college credit. 

    Intro to Great Books B Reading List 2021-2022 

  • The Art of Cinema and New Media 

    CNMA 1302: The Art of Cinema & New Media
    Professor: Chris Hartwell
    Recommended for 9th-12th grade students. 

     A comprehensive overview of the video production process, including an introduction to camera operation, lighting and sound equipment, general set protocols, post-production software, and workflow. Students will also be introduced to cinematic storytelling with the chance to make short films and other productions throughout the class. 

     Tuesday/Thursday – 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
    $1000 per year, 3 units of transferable college credit. 

    Required Supplies/Materials for CNMA 1302 

  • Great Books I: Composition and Literature I 

    English 1313: Composition and Literature I
    The Greeks, Romans, and Early Christianity
    Professor: Ty Korsmo
    Recommended for 9th-12th grade students. This course is a pre-requisite to Great Books IV. 

    A student-driven, Socratic-style classroom environment, integrating training in composition with a special emphasis in the literature of the Greek and Roman period. 

    Reading list includes: The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Three Theban Plays, The Republic, Nicomachean Ethics, The Aeneid,  Meditations, Confessions, The Consolation of Philosophy, and much more. 

    We recommend that the course be counted as both high school English and history credit. Students will earn three undergraduate credit hours in English 1313 from Houston Baptist University. 

    HBU Campus
    T/R | 12:30-1:45 pm.
    $1000 per year, 3 units of transferable college credit. 

    GBI Book List 2021-2022 


  • Great Books II: Western Civilization I 

    History 2311: Western Civilization and the Foundations of Europe
    Professor: Daniel Broadwell
    Recommended for 9th-12th grade students. 

    A student-driven, Socratic-style classroom environment, integrating training in university-level essay writing and a comprehensive understanding of the major shifts of Western Culture, with a special emphasis in the literature of the Medieval period. 

    Reading list includes: Beowulf, The Divine Comedy, Le Morte D’Arthur,The Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare, Aquinas, Calvin, Erasmus, and much more. 

    We recommend that this course be counted as both high school history and English credit. Students will earn three undergraduate credit hours in History 2311 from Houston Baptist University. 

    HBU Campus
    T/R | 2:00-3:15 pm.
    $1000 per year, 3 units of transferable college credit. 

    GBII book list 2021-2022 

  • Great Books III: Introduction to Philosophy 

    PHIL1313: Introduction to Philosophy
    Professor: Dr. Rachel Pope
    Recommended for 11th-12th grade students. 

    A student-driven, Socratic-style classroom environment, with a special emphasis in the literature of the modern period. Beginning with the 17th Century and ending with the great English novelists of the Victorian era, Great Books III explores the great works of the modern era. 

    Reading list includes: Second Treatise on Government, Meditations on First Philosophy, Pensées, Leviathan, Utilitarianism, The Scarlet Letter, and Frankenstein. 

    We recommend students get credit for both high school English and History. Students will also receive three units of college credit in Philosophy 1313. 

    HBU Campus
    T/R | 9:30-10:45 a.m.
    $1000 per year, 3 units of transferable college credit. 

    GBIII Book List 2021-2022 

  • Great Books IV: Composition and Literature II 

    ENGL 1323: Composition and Literature II, The Moderns
    Professor: Brittany Guzman
    Recommended for 11th-12th grade students. 

    Prerequisite: ENGL 1313.  Please note, this course can only be taken after Great Books I or upon submission of a college transcript showing successful completion of Freshman Composition I. 

    This course continues the study of composition and rhetoric introduced in English 1313: Composition and Literature I. Students will gain an understanding of why reading literature is deeply important for Christians, learn the conventions of such literary genres as poems, stories, novels, and plays, study methods of literary analysis, interpret literature from a Biblical perspective through the exploration of Biblical archetypes, typology, language constructions, and metaphor in classic works of Western literature, and learn to write well-constructed and well-written arguments about literature and life in standard English including the use of research in MLA format and the writing of a fully developed research paper. 

    We recommend that the class be counted as both high school English and history credit. Students will earn three undergraduate credit hours in English 1323 from Houston Baptist University. 

    HBU Campus
    T/R | 12:30-1:45 p.m.
    $1000 per year, 3 units of transferable college credit. 

    GBIV book list 2021-2022 

  • US History to 1877 

    HIST 2313: US History to 1877
    Professor: Jim Holston
    Recommended for 9th-12th grade students. 

    History 2313 is a survey of American history from its roots until the Reconstruction. Students will read original source material alongside Paul Johnson’s History of the American People as they gain a thorough grounding in the story and events of our nation’s founding years. 

    Students should receive high school credit for American History, and will also receive three units of transferable college credit in History 2313 from Houston Baptist University. 

    HBU Campus
    T/R | 9:30-10:45 a.m.
    $1000 per year, 3 units of transferable college credit. 

    HIST 2313 Reading List 2021-2022 

Academy Announcements

Congratulations to our Academy award winners for the 2020-2021 academic year!

Order of Chrysostom – Eniya Kaleemullah.  Awarded to the Student Who Has Best Demonstrated the Ability to Match Clarity of Thought with Eloquence of Expression 

 Order of Dante – Makenna Cooper and Helen Wagner.  Awarded to the Student Who Has Best Demonstrated an Artful and Compelling Command of the Written Word 

 Order of St. Augustine – Skylar Reyna and Leah Hotze.  Awarded to the Student Who Has Best Demonstrated the Ability to Pursue the Truth Thoughtfully and Courageously through Reading, Writing and Discussion 

Student Spotlight: Makenna Cooper

How did you first discover the Academy at HBU? 

My mom found it on the internet. 

What is your favorite memory so far of your time in the Academy? 

I remember when we used to meet in those classrooms in the fitness center. My Intro to Great Books A class was held in a classroom where there was a gap in the wall that separated us from the hallway because of a window. The gap was large enough to fit a hand through. My professor was talking about how God was everywhere, and it was at that moment someone in the hallway decided to rattle the blinds to the shared window. My professor said, “Jesus?” and we all burst out laughing! It was hilarious! 

The Academy curriculum is rigorous; what is one piece of advice you can offer to incoming Academy students who might be daunted by the reading lists? 

It’s easy to be hard on yourself when you can’t get everything done, but it’s important to remember that your best is the best you can do. Hard work almost always pays off, and every professor I’ve met at HBU appreciates that dedication. Being stressed about doing something always makes it harder. If you expect too much of yourself, you’ll never be content. You can’t give something you don’t have. 

What is the most challenging book you’ve read during your time in the Academy? 

The Peloponnesian War. 

What is your favorite book that you’ve read during your time in the Academy? 

Beowulf. I’ve read it twice now—in Intro to Great Books B, and Great Books II—and I loved it both times! I really enjoyed the way the battles were written, especially Beowulf’s epic battle with the dragon! 

You have taken advantage of the option for upper-classmen to enroll in traditional, one-semester courses alongside college students. What classes have you taken, and what has been your experience in these classes? 

I took General Biology I and II. Both of my biology professors were very encouraging and treated me like the others students which I appreciate. I did very well in both of them, probably because I had a lot more time than the others students. I enjoyed taking these classes, and they were much cheaper! 

How will you make the most of your final year in the Academy? 

I’m going to take Great Books IV and General Chemistry I and II. By the time I graduate high school, I’ll probably be done with my freshman year of college! 

How do you think the Academy has prepared you for life after high school? 

I’ve been home-schooled for my entire life, which I greatly appreciate. However, before I took the Academy classes I hadn’t been in a traditional classroom setting before. It was the first time I’d encountered hard deadlines and unchangeable grades. It stressed me out at first, but I learned how to make schedules that helped me work efficiently. Fast forward about four years when I took General Biology I and II with college freshmen. I found myself giving them advice at times. I was very comfortable with the class structure because that was the experience I was used to. I know much more about college than I know about high school! 

What might you say to a student or family who is considering enrolling in the Academy? 

I feel like taking even one Academy class (including the introductions) can really prepare you for college, especially coming from a homeschooled background. Since the course is stretched out over two semesters, the load is lower than it would be if you took it in college, but you’ll get both high school and college credit. I highly recommend these classes. 


Faculty Feature: Daniel Broadwell

You graduated from HBU with your Masters in Liberal Arts. What first attracted you to HBU and this graduate program? 

My undergraduate degree is an interdisciplinary Liberal Studies bachelor’s from Florida College, and when I began working, I had a desire to pursue a graduate degree at some point. After moving to Houston, a mentor told me about the MLA program at HBU, suggesting that the exploration of history and the great texts from a Biblical worldview would be an enriching experience. That was true beyond my expectations.  

 This will be your third year teaching for the Academy. What drove your initial desire to teach in the Academy, and what keeps you coming back year after year? 

Two things: 1) The opportunity to continue what was so enriching about my undergraduate and graduate education—an immersion in the history and literature that shaped our civilization. 2) The relationships I get to develop with students as they interact with this important material at a time in their lives when they are starting to think critically about their faith and the world around them.  

 We’re looking forward to having you teach on HBU’s campus this year, but for the past two years, you have taught Academy classes at one of our partner schools. What do you think are some of the benefits of a partnership between the Academy and a local school? 

It’s a way to extend the reach of The Academy’s mission to more students. When I ask my students at Logos Prep at the start of the year why they are in the class, many of them (honestly) tell me they are in it for the college credit. But by the end of the year, I believe most of them are walking away with a newfound appreciation for the history and literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.  

 This year was a challenging one in many ways. What is one surprising benefit that came out of teaching during a pandemic? 

When we first went “remote” in the spring of 2020, I felt like I got to know my students better because we were communicating more frequently, meeting virtually in smaller groups, and tackling a challenging situation together. Going into the 2020-21 school year, we had more tools available to us, enabling us to stay more closely connected as a class. 

 What is your favorite text to teach in the Academy and why? 

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. On one hand, it represents the (under-appreciated) spirit of the Middle Ages—a view of the universe constructed by God with a deep spiritual order that points to His glory. On the other hand, it previews the best of the Renaissance—an honest exploration of humanity’s filth and virtue, particularly by showing what it looks like for the individual to journey from the darkness of sin to the brilliance of the Divine Presence.  

 Teaching isn’t your only job; tell us a bit more about your full-time vocation. How do you balance this work with teaching? 

For the last seven years, I’ve worked as a preacher and Bible teacher here in Houston (currently with the Bellaire church of Christ). In some ways, I see it all as the same ‘vocation’—building people up through a deeper knowledge of God. The Bible is the most important pathway to that goal, but the texts we read in The Academy can serve the same goal in their own way. In terms of workload, it can be a challenge to fit in all that reading, writing, and prep, but my teaching at the church is almost exclusively done on weekends and evenings, so during the week I can mostly arrange my prep time and other appointments around my Academy schedule.  

 You’ve got a lot going on outside the classroom other than preaching. Tell us about some of the exciting things happening at the Broadwell house. 

In January 2020, we adopted our son Asher, so he is coming up on being 18 months old. The last year and a half has been such a joy for us, and life right now is full in so many ways. We are thankful for our son, and thankful to everyone at HBU and Logos for supporting us and sharing in our joy. And for adjusting while we were in Arizona for three weeks when Asher was born.  

What encouragement can you offer to new and returning Academy students? 

Someone once told me, “We are all influenced by books we have never read.” The books taught in The Academy have all played their role in shaping our civilization and our culture — and yet most people have not read them. This is your opportunity to do what most people will never do. The reading and writing are intentionally tough, but if you engage fully, your Academy course will challenge you, stretch you, and fill you up so that you will be a better person by the end of it.

Upcoming Events:

Academy Orientation: August 18, 2021

Students and parents, mark your calendars for August 18! We will be offering an all-day Academy Orientation that you don’t want to miss. This orientation is designed primarily for new and returning Academy students and their parents, but it will also serve as an excellent preview of the Academy for any prospective families you may want to invite. Although we have events scheduled for parents all day, these events are strictly optional. Student attendance at all events is strongly encouraged, however. Lunch will be provided.

Students, make sure to read the short essay by C.S. Lewis before orientation so you will be prepared for the Socratic discussion. (Parents, feel free to read the essay, too!)

Submit Your News!

Academy students, alums, and faculty: we want to hear from you! Let us know what you’re up to outside the Academy classroom. Email TheAcademy@hbu.edu with your news.

Make sure to like and follow our Facebook page for more frequent updates.