Classic authors and their books speak to readers on multiple levels, raising questions and unresolved problems that through careful examination reveal a variety of independent yet complementary meanings. Whether epic poems or political treatises, and whether the subject matter is scientific, historical, or philosophical, the ideas investigated in each work are linked together across the centuries, as authors acknowledge, support, elaborate upon, respond to, and criticize each other’s ideas. In this way, authors and books of rare influence, power, and originality enter an ongoing cultural conversation that communicates and advances humanistic values and beliefs. This intellectual and creative activity—a chorus of voices and words calling to each other across time—is sometimes referred to as the “Great Conversation,” an expression used to describe a continuum of thinkers and ideas that began in ancient civilizations.
In designing programs of study, students at Harrison Middleton University use primary sources drawn from leading academic publishers, including Britannica (Great Books of the Western World), Oxford University Press, Penguin Classics, and W.W. Norton & Company. Rather than reading the distillation of a historian or literary critic, students engage directly with authors and books that have made a profound impact on the course of Western civilization. It is important for students to read primary texts because only then can they understand and evaluate the ideas, issues, and arguments as originally presented by the authors. The goal is to gain knowledge of the past and reach for the best wisdom of all the ages, not only for intellectual enlightenment but for a deeper understanding of contemporary problems and a starting point for possible solutions.
Inquiry-based discussion or Socratic method is at the heart of Harrison Middleton University’s teaching methodology. Participants in an inquiry-based discussion search for meaning, for answers to fundamental questions of human existence raised by primary texts. This search is inherently active; it is in essence a conversation between the author, the student, and the tutor. In the course of conversation, students will interpret the primary text, employ critical reading skills, and call upon previous knowledge and experiences. Throughout their studies, students engage in a series of one-to-one discussions (via Zoom) with tutors over the coursework they designed.
Harrison Middleton University’s model for education delivery relies mainly on internet-based communications, thus it is an online model. It should be noted, however, that the university’s curricula are based on reading, writing, and real-time discussion, not an asynchronous online learning system.
To fulfill the requirements of the Harrison Middleton University course curriculum, students should possess or have access to:
1) a personal computer;
2) an e-mail account that will accept all e-mails, including attachments, from the domain name hmu.edu;
3) a word processor program such as Microsoft Word;
4) a free Basic Zoom account for one-to-one discussions with Tutors (https://zoom.us/); and
5) a web camera.
6) Students are required to utilize Populi, a student and institution information system, for course enrollment, tuition and fee payments, assignment submission, discussion requests, and other communication with the university.
7) Students are required to subscribe to the Important Student Announcements e-mail list while enrolled at Harrison Middleton University to receive an annual Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) notification and other important announcements.
Harrison Middleton University is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The DEAC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Additional information may be found on the Distance Education Accrediting Commission website and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation website.
Distance education accreditation is certification by a recognized body that a distance education institution has voluntarily undergone a comprehensive study and peer examination that has demonstrated that the institution does in fact meet the established standards. Basically, accreditation is a process that gives public recognition to institutions that meet certain standards. It is a promise that an institution will provide the quality of education it claims to offer. Accreditation assures the student that the institution operates on a sound financial basis, has an approved program of study, qualified instructors, adequate facilities and equipment, effective recruitment and admission policies, and advertises its courses truthfully.
The Department of Education provides oversight over the postsecondary accreditation system through its review of all federally-recognized accrediting agencies. It holds all accrediting agencies to the same standards. The Department of Education no longer distinguishes between “regional” and “national” accrediting agencies. Click here to read more.
Accreditation agencies traditionally referred to as “regional accreditors” require institutions to focus on faculty-designed curriculum. At Harrison Middleton University, each student designs an individualized program of study. With the guidance of an Instructional Team, students build a program of study and develop courses that meet their academic and personal goals. HMU does not seek “regional” accreditation because the current restrictions do not allow for the individualized programs of study, which is at the heart of what we do.
Please note, the Department of Education provides oversight over the postsecondary accreditation system through its review of all federally-recognized accrediting agencies. The Department holds accrediting agencies accountable by ensuring that they enforce their accreditation standards effectively. The Department of Education holds all accrediting agencies to the same standards, and no longer distinguishes between “regional” and “national” accrediting agencies. For more information, please visit the Accreditation page of the HMU website.
Federal financial aid programs require institutions to track and report data such as median annual earnings of students after graduation. While many HMU graduates use their degrees for career advancement, Harrison Middleton University’s focus is lifelong learning. Many HMU students pursue a degree for personal development. HMU does not currently participate in federal financial programs because these programs would require HMU to shift its focus to career counseling and placement instead of lifelong learning.