Below you can find answers to questions you may have about the Great Books program, being in a Great Books course, and precepting. Reach out if you have a question that is not sufficiently answered!

The Great Books Program

What is Great Books?

 Great Books is one of Mercer's general education programs. It focuses on reading, discussing, and writing about Western literature in a seminar-style course. The goals of GBK are to develop effective writing techniques, enhance moral and ethical reflectiveness, and connect these past texts to our present-day thinking.

 What does an average day in a Great Books class look like?

 You'll come to class having already read that day's assigned reading. In addition to completing the reading prior to class, most professors will ask you to write a discussion question about that reading. Then in class, you and your classmates will discuss the reading. Because everyone will read and analyze the text differently, there are dozens of ways class could go! Listen attentively and contribute to the conversation.

 What courses do I need to take to complete the Great Books track?

 The GBK program has 6 components: the Great Books Sequence, Foreign Language Competency, The Natural World, Mathematical Reasoning, First-Year Student Requirement, and Experiential Learning. You can find a list of courses that satisfy each requirement here and in the course catalog.

 Where can I find more information about Great Books, including a list of required texts?

 You can learn much more about the Great Books program at,


How should I do my readings?

This is entirely up to you. Find what works best for you! Some people do all their week's readings in one day. Others wait until the day before we discuss them in class to read. Some may even wait until the day we have class. It's about finding what fits your preferences and work time. However, make sure you give yourself ample time to read the entirety of that day's reading in a detailed manner. 

How do I annotate?

 Everyone has different annotation methods. There are several ways to annotate your readings and you can do any combination of them. Sticky notes, tabs, highlighters, and notes in the margin are very common methods. 

What should I include in my annotations?

Your annotations may look very different from anyone else's because they are tailored to your interpretation of the text. Make note of anything interesting that you notice. A god used a certain type of weapon? A prophecy used very specific wording? Mark it! I knew someone who used a specific color tab to mark each time a specific god appeared. Is there a certain theme that caught your eye early in the text? Be sure to track it as it continues to appear! This is a great place to also pose any questions you have while reading. Trust me, as soon as you have a question, write it down. It will be helpful to have questions already posed when you are writing your discussion question and even your essay.

Class Discussions

What happens during a class discussion?

Class is when we discuss that day's reading. Students should openly and freely discuss the text, but remember to be respectful and kind to your classmates. Disagreements about the text's meanings are welcome but be sure to not head into dangerous territory. Class participation is a major part of your course grade; try to speak up at least once in each class.

 What do I do if I'm struggling to speak up in class?

You can talk to me, either in person or via email, to discuss this. I can help you gain confidence in asserting your thoughts during the discussions, develop ways to help you engage with the class, or just be someone to vent out your concerns with. You can also speak with our professor about this.

 How do I take part in class discussions?

There are so many ways to be a part of the discussion! Ask a question about the textmaybe there's something that confused you while you were reading or you want to know what everyone thought about a certain line. Why did this character use this specific word here? Ask your questions! Maybe you noticed something interesting about the text. Did you notice this specific imagery is repeated often? Point it out! During discussions, others will be inputting their own ideas. Respond to them with your own, bounce ideas off of each other, and ask questions about their ideas. Engage with each other! Listen attentively someone may have the key to jumpstart your thoughts on the reading. Someone's comment may even give you an idea for your own essay. Get involved in the discussion however you can.


How can I complete my essays on time?

One of the biggest challenges for college is time management. Be aware of your deadlines, use a planner or online calendar so you are always aware of these dates, and plan ahead. Try not to cram your work at the last minute. It's always a good idea to revisit your essay for a final read-through with fresh eyes before submitting it. 

What do I write my essays about?

Some professors may require you to follow a prompt, while others may give you total liberty in your essays. Be creative with your thesis to make your paper memorable but also fun to write. If you can support your thesis with textual evidence, it is probably a good idea. However, if you have doubts about your topic reach out to me and I can help you decide on the best direction your paper can take.

 Can you help me with my essays?

Of course, that's why I'm here! You can reach out to me at any point during your writing process, whether you just want some feedback on your general ideas or would like me to proofread your essay and anything in between. Email me at for help.

Being a Preceptor

What is a writing preceptor?

  A writing preceptor is an embedded tutor assigned to work with a faculty member to facilitate writing instruction in INT or GBK writing instruction courses. They attend class meetings for their assigned section, assist the faculty member in running the class, model and convey effective writing strategies, and work one-on-one with students. A preceptor is essentially the bridge between the first-year student and the professor as they learn to navigate the course and college life.

 What is the time commitment like to be a preceptor?

Preceptors attend at least three out of the four hours their section has each week. You are welcome to attend each class meeting but are expected to attend writing instruction meetings. You'll also need to have time to meet with students during office hours and to review student papers to provide constructive feedback. Additionally, first-time preceptors must enroll in WRT490. 

How are preceptors prepared for this position?

Preceptors are students who have already completed and passed the course they are precepting. They know first-hand what it is like to be in that course and can offer advice and support. Additionally, preceptors take WRT490. WRT490 is the training course where students learn techniques and methods for communicating writing instruction to students and create resources on the writing process to share with students. 

What are the benefits of being a preceptor?

Precepting is a great experience to have as you interact with a number of students and get involved in a leadership position. Additionally, the training course, writing instruction days, and time spent reviewing student papers may improve your own writing. More concretely, WRT490 gives you 3 credit hours and fulfills the experiential learning requirement students in the College of Liberal Arts must complete. If you precept for more than one semester, you can continue to receive credit hours.

 What don't preceptors do?

Preceptors are not professors. They do not grade assignments (they can't even view student grades!) nor do they control assignment due dates. They cannot write papers for students. 

How do I become a preceptor?

In the spring semester around the time for course registration, look out for an email in your Mercer inbox! It will have a link to an application. You will need to have your fall schedule, so fill it out once you have registered. If there is a specific professor you'd like to precept for, talk to them and request them on the application. Note that this selection is not guaranteed. Otherwise, you will be matched based on your schedule and the available sections. Once you have been accepted, you'll be able to register for WRT490. Then, you'll be matched with a faculty member and can begin planning how you will work together!

 Who do I talk to for more information?

You may reach out to the director of the writing preceptor program, Dr. Deenen Senasi ( I would also be very happy to talk with anyone about precepting!