Sherman College is located in Chicago, Illinois. Sherman College focuses its curriculum on the Great Books, a set of classical texts that form the basis of timeless philosophy and reason. Classes are based around communication and the crossing of ideas from one person to the next. This is what makes the college unique and what sets it apart from the rest.
A hallmark of Sherman College is the way classes are held. Rather than seating students in a grid in front of a lecturing professor, students sit around a table in a small class to discuss ideas. In this way, students are engaged in their learning and are not simply left to the devices of comprehension.
The Great Books from the core curriculum, and all students read through works that have emerged from Western tradition. What is refreshing to see, among other colleges, is that Shimer College focuses much of its academics in intellect, meaning that, in order to get by in these studies, one must apply their mind and extrapolate the message behind the study. This is what propels students through Chemistry, Art, Music, Evolution, Genetics, and on to Quantum Physics.
Currently, Shimer College is not offering distance education and it may be due to any of a variety of reasons. Shimer College is small, which limits the resources and selection of people to work with. Shimer College is also discussion based; this may be hard to communicate across a distance learning platform. Many colleges of intensive reading and study have opened up to distance learning, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Shimer offer this in the future as well.
The importance of the Great Books does not lie in their relationship to present affairs so much as their relationship to all aspects of History. Study of the classics was an intellectual tradition that had been declining with the advent of modern culture and change. It is crucial to learn from the Great Books to understand the foundations of society, culture, and their interactions. It was the voice of Professor John Erskine and Robert Maynard Hutchins that voiced the importance of these books in preserving democratic freedoms during a century that had seen the rise of massive death and inhumanity.
Shimer College is a four-year college and is currently not offering any graduate programs. Full-time tuition comes at the cost of $23,750 per year. For part-time study, tuition is calculated at $850 per credit hour.
The college aids its students with direct grants that come from the school itself. This can be said of 80% of the student body. That 80% receives an average per student of $9,077 per year. Federal grants, alternatively give about half as much as that and to 20% of the student body. State and local aid supplies 40% of the student body and with dividends usually in excess of $5,000.