3 days / 70+ speakers
80+ talks, workshops, and panels

Phoenix Convention Center
February 22-24, 2023

2023 Conference

The Tradition Today

This year’s Symposium will focus on tradition as a way of knowing—indeed, the means by which we acquire knowledge of any domain. Our goal this year is to communicate to every participant the fundamental value of tradition as it informs the classical liberal arts model of education. With thoughtful attention to notions of Western civilization, culture, classical, and tradition, we will deepen our understanding of the “the Great Tradition.”

This year’s program includes four types of features from which to select:
  • Plenaries & Panels – Throughout the program, plenary talks and special panels will focus on leaders and innovators renewing classical
  • Leadership & School Culture – School, district, and association leaders will contribute to sessions on the development of school leadership and the centrality of school culture
  • Workshops – Scholars and master teachers will demonstrate practical, dynamic techniques to inform effective pedagogy
  • Scholarship for Practitioners – Scholars will present talks and field questions on their content expertise for the understanding of K-12 teachers



February 22

6:30 PM

Opening Plenary:
“Poetry as Human Energy“


February 23

8:00 AM

Opening Plenary:
“The Cultural Energy of Schools“

9:30-11:15 AM

Scholarship for Practitioners

Mathematical Thinking

Build Mathematical Virtues, Not Just Skills (Francis Su)

Calculus and Classical Mathematics (Peter Ulrickson)

Scientific Thinking

Plato, the Liberal Arts, and the Crisis in Contemporary Physics (Mitch Stokes)

The Physics Tradition: Have We Progressed? (Chris Swanson)

Historical Vision

Why Tradition Matters (Wilfred McClay)

Teaching Western Civilization in 2023 (James Hankins)

Rhetorical Flourish

Declamation for Today (Chris Schlect)

Climbing Parnassus Twenty Years On (Tracy Lee Simmons)

Artistic Ways of Knowing

Classical Art—The Alchemy of Skill and Beauty (Juliette Aristides)

Music as Memory—The Art and Science of Music (Greg Wilbur)

Leadership Inquiries

Leadership of Teaching

Cultivating Minds & Hearts through Classroom Teaching (Andrew Zwerneman, Chris Perrin, Andrew Pudewa, Katherine Birbalsingh, Jake Tawney)

Leadership of Development

How Thriving Schools Think about Fundraising (Genevieve Peterson)

Special Panel

Two Decades of Classical Renewal (Dale Ahlquist, Jon Balsbaugh, Eric Cook, Andrew Kern, Michael Van Hecke, David Goodwin, Mitchell Rocklin, Dan Scoggin)

11:30 AM-12:15 PM

Workshops for Practitioners

School Culture Investigations

Intentional School Culture (Panel)

Establishing Culture to Last (Jon Balsbaugh, Eric Cook, Keith Nix, Ian Rowe, David Diener)

Culture Making

Building a Liberal Arts Culture (Andrew Zwerneman)

12:30-1:15 PM

Luncheon Panel: “Enriching the Talent Pipeline”

1:30 AM-3:15 PM

Scholarship for Practitioners

Philosophical Considerations

On Freedom and Imagination in Classical Education (Angel Parham)

Classical for Students with Special Needs (Amy Richards)

Political Precedents

Washington as Conservative RevolutionaryThe Founding Father’s Appeal to the Great Tradition (Paul Carrese)

Madison and the Oracular Thinkers, Ancient and Modern (Colleen Sheehan)

Hamilton’s Reading List(Peter McNamara)

Thomas Jefferson and the Tradition of Liberal Learning (Michael Zuckert)

Language Acquisition

Who Killed Latin? (Jason Pedicone)

The Trivium as a Framework for Teaching Latin and Modern Languages (Laura Eidt)

Poetic Learning

Reading English Verse through the Tradition (David Rothman, Susan Spear)

Humane Pursuits

Putting Plato into Practice—Classical Education in the Classroom and School (David Diener)

Historical Renderings of the Liberal Arts (Brian Williams)

Leadership Inquiries

School Leadership of Talent

The Essentials of Talent Management (Jerilyn Olson, Erik Twist)

Leadership of Development

The Art and Science of the Capital Campaign (Genevieve Peterson, Jeremy Beer)

College and University Trends

Breaking News for Higher Education—A Conversation with National Leaders (Jacob Howland, Michael Poliakoff, Peter Wood, Matthew Smith)

1:30-2:15 PM


2:30-3:15 PM


3:30 PM

Closing Presentation: “The Redemptive Influence of Beauty“

(violin trio, painting, poetry, song)


February 24

8:00 AM

Opening Plenary:
“Recovering Virtue in an Age of Values“

9:30-11:15 AM

Scholarship for Practitioners

Theological Thinking

The Role of Authority in Carrying Forth a Tradition (Victor Lee Austin)

The Grammar of Our Lives and the Attack Upon It (Vigen Guroian)

Literary Explorations

No Enjoyment Like Reading (with Jane Austen) (Paula Byrne)

How Jane Austen’s Novels Went to School (Devoney Looser)

Jane AustenThe Novelist-Pedagogue (Colleen Sheehan)

Dramatic Embodiments

Bringing the Bard Forth (TBD)

Shakespeare’s Stagecraft (Nick Hutchison)

Philosophical Considerations

Soul-Shaping Socratic Reading (Matthew Post)

Why Study Plato? (Catherine Zuckert)

Musical Knowledge

The Role of Musical Tradition Today (Eliot Grasso)

A Classical Approach to Radical Modernism in the Arts (Carol Reynolds)

Leadership Inquiries

Intentional School Leadership (Panel)

Cultivating Leadership to Last (Jon Balsbaugh, Eric Cook, Keith Nix, Ian Rowe, David Diener)

Leadership of Development

Case Studies in Classical-Ed Fundraising (Jeremy Beer) 

Special Panel

Considering Educational Reform and Choice for the Classical Renewal—A Conversation with National Policy Analysts (Jay Greene, Robert Pondiscio, Lindsey Burke, Max Eden, Helen Baxendale)

11:30 AM-12:15 PM

Workshops for Practitioners

School Culture Investigations

Classical Culture

Clearly Defining the Liberal Arts (Chris Schlect)

12:30-1:15 PM

Luncheon Plenary: “The Essential Impulse of Hope”

1:30-2:15 PM

Featured Panel: “Challenges Facing Classical Education”

2:30-4:15 PM

Scholarship for Practitioners

Literary Explorations

Poets vs. Books (Mark Bauerlein)

Is There Such a Thing as a Modern Tragedy? (Matthew Smith) 

Leadership Inquiries

School Leadership of Board

The Essentials of a Healthy Board Culture (Erik Twist, Whitney Marsh) 

2:30-3:15 PM

Workshops for Practitioners

3:30-4:15 PM

Workshops for Practitioners

School Culture Investigations

Classical Culture

Helping to Form World-Shaping Graduates (Jon Balsbaugh) 

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