Organised by Dr. Kevin Donnelly
Hosted by Campion College in Sydney 2023
As Campion College in Sydney is one of the few tertiary institutions dedicated to the liberal/arts it should not be a surprise it was chosen as the location for the Classical Liberal Education Seminar dedicated to exploring the nature and importance of a classical school education.
Involving parents, teachers, academics and educationalists from across Australia, everywhere from Perth to Brisbane and Narre Warren to Toowoomba, discussion centred on the parlous state of the existing school curriculum and the need to provide a more intellectually challenging, morally grounded and spiritually uplifting education.
Kevin Donnelly (BA, DipEd, MEd, PhD) is a Senior Fellow at the Australian Catholic University and Director of Impetus Consultants. Kevin specialises in analysing and evaluating curriculum and pedagogy within a national and international perspective and is one of Australia’s leading education authors and commentators. Books include: Why our schools are failing, Dumbing Down, Australia’s Education Revolution, The Dictionary of Woke, Cancel Culture and the Left’s Long March and Christianity Matters.
Kevin taught English and Humanities for 18 years in Victorian government and non-government secondary schools and has also been a member of state and national curriculum bodies, including: the Year 12 English Panel of Examiners, the Victorian Board of Studies and the federally funded Discovering Democracy Programme and inquiry into the Australian Certificate of Education. Kevin also co-chaired the 2014 Commonwealth Government’s review of the national curriculum and has undertaken 3 international benchmarking curriculum projects for state and national governments plus the New Zealand Business Roundtable. Kevin is a Member of the Order of Australia for services to education.
Tracey Rowland holds the St John Paul II Chair of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. She also holds degrees in law and government from the University of Queensland, in philosophy from the University of Melbourne, as well as a doctorate in Divinity from Cambridge University and a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Lateran University. She is a member of the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences and from 2014-2019 was a member of the International Theological Commission. She has written 8 books and published 3 others.
Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen is the son of a former Governor General of Australia, Sir Zelman Cowen. In the midst of his PhD in the history of ideas, he experienced a spiritual “awakening” and returned to his Jewish religious roots. In 1984 he was awarded both his PhD and Rabbinic Ordination. In 1998 he established the Institute for Judaism and Civilization. Within this framework, he became increasingly interested in the common denominator values or universal ethics of the world faiths and cultures, known as the “Noahide laws”.
He is the author of Politics and Universal Ethics; Homosexuality, Marriage and Society; The Theory and Practice of Universal Ethics – the Noahide Laws; Aesthetics and Divine; The Rediscovery of the Human – Psychological Writings of Viktor E Frankl on the Human in the Image of the Divine. His most recent book is A Populism of the Spirit – further Essays on Politics and Universal Ethics.
Barry Spurr was educated at the universities of Sydney and Oxford. He was a member of the English Department at Sydney University for forty years and was Australia's first Professor of Poetry. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators and has taught and published widely on both Renaissance and Modernist verse. Professor Spurr is a leading authority on the life and work of T.S. Eliot, his study of Eliot's faith, Anglo-Catholic in Religion, being the
standard account of its subject. Professor Spurr's other books include an account of liturgical language controversies, The Word in the Desert; a study of representations of the Virgin Mary in English poetry, See the Virgin Blest and the textbook, Studying Poetry (now in its second edition). He is a regular contributor to Quadrant magazine, of which he was appointed the Literary Editor in 2019.
Monica Doumit is the Director of Public Affairs and Engagement for the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, engaging in policy and communications for issues such as abortion, euthanasia, marriage and religious freedom. She is an adjunct senior lecturer in law at the University of Notre Dame Australia, a regular columnist for the Catholic Weekly and was the communications director and spokeswoman for the Coalition for Marriage during the 2017 marriage plebiscite. She holds undergraduate degrees in law and medical science, a masters in bioethics and a diploma in finance. Prior to working for the Archdiocese, Monica spent ten
years working as a corporate lawyer in Sydney and London.
Simon Kennedy is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the T. C. Beirne School of Law at the University of Queensland, and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Danube Institute in Budapest. He was recently a Visiting Fellow at the Mathias Corvinus Collegium in Hungary, and teaches at Queensland Theological College and the Lachlan Macquarie Institute. His first book, Reforming the Law of Nature, was published by Edinburgh University Press, and he has a forthcoming book with Lexham Press on Christian worldview and education.
Kenneth Crowther is a PhD candidate at the University of Southern Queensland, where he is researching literary history, examining the syncretic nexus of humoralism, demonology and
meteorology in the plays of William Shakespeare and John Webster. After teaching for thirteen years in the secondary and tertiary sectors, he is now an independent consultant working in classical education and operational strategy, with a current engagement to help set up St John Henry Newman College, an independent classical Catholic school proposed for
Brisbane. He lives with his wife and four daughters near Toowoomba, Queensland.
Michael Mendieta has over 10 years’ experience as both a Director and Executive leader. With a Business Banking background, he became a Director at Campion College, and has been an Executive Director for various not-for-profits. He is currently the CEO of Hartford College and Chair of Family Enrichment Australia. He has a Bachelor of Arts, in the Liberal
Arts, and a Master in Business Administration.
John Smyth is a Secondary School Teacher specialising in Science, Maths and Religion. He currently teaches at St Thomas Aquinas College in Tynong, Victoria. He studied at Monash University and the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family Studies. He and his wife Kate have four children.
Sam McClelland. After teaching in international schools, Sam returned to work in Australia to discover children being indoctrinated in education. The idea of True Arrow Academy was born in 2021. An education platform with lessons written and run by smart people from around the world, to provide youth and young-adults with an alternative education resource, with each short lesson likely to prevent or undo years of indoctrination while equipping them with critical thinking skills and empirical knowledge.
An overview of the seminar can be read here: Dr Kevin Donnelly: The importance of a classical education (catholicweekly.com.au)