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Alder College – A Liberal Arts College in Portland, Oregon
[via: https://twitter.com/isomorphisms/status/933166282798784512
via: https://twitter.com/WDeresiewicz/status/785623854626385920 ]

"Alder is a new kind of college built on relationships, bringing the best of the liberal arts to a richly inclusive student body in the heart of Portland.

The health of our communities depends on dynamic thinkers who can approach complex systems with curiosity, creativity and nuance. In order to create a more equitable and inclusive future, we will also need leaders drawn from a wide range of backgrounds. Alder will be a two year liberal arts college for students who will become these thought leaders.

STUDENT SUCCESS BUILT ON RELATIONSHIPS
Alder will focus on the crucial first two years of college, offering a rigorous yet supportive academic environment, where full-time faculty teach a richly inclusive and deeply diverse student body recruited from the talent we know is right here in Oregon.

KEEPING IT LOCAL
Recruitment will be local (Portland metro area), and focus on building relationships with high school staff and teachers to identify students who would benefit most from an Alder education.

STUDENT COHORTS
Students take courses with the same cohort throughout their two years, giving them the time to develop relationships with peers and professors and create a vibrant, tight-knit intellectual community.

FACULTY TEAMS
Students spend two years with a core group of faculty who are engaged in collaborative pedagogy.

INTEGRATED CURRICULUM
Based on the success of learning communities, the two-year curriculum is integrated to encourage coherent cross-subject learning. Faculty collaboratively develop syllabi and scaffold assignments to build skills across disciplines and quarters.

EQUITY, DIVERSITY, INCLUSION
Learning increases when students interact with classmates from different backgrounds. Society benefits when a more diverse group of students pursues liberal arts education. Alder College will prioritize admitting and retaining a diverse student body through its recruitment practices.

AFTER ALDER
Whether students decide their next step means attending a four-year college or university, entering the workforce, or pursuing an alternative program of study, Alder College will provide them with the skills and knowledge to make informed decisions.

OUR STUDENTS, OUR CITY
We know that the best way to serve both our students and our city is by cultivating thick networks that encourage exploration and ongoing dialogue. By creating teams of community members and supporters, we will begin these conversations that will continue long after the first students walk through our doors.

COMMUNITY & STUDENT OUTREACH
Through strong connections with local organizations and high schools, Alder will work with teachers and mentors to identify students who would benefit from Alder’s rigorous yet supportive academic environment.

ARTS & CULTURE
The liberal arts are thriving all over the Portland area in theaters and galleries, at concerts and at book readings. Alder will tap into this rich artistic tapestry and show students that this is only the beginning of their intellectual engagement with the world.

BUSINESS & INDUSTRY
Alder will create an open dialogue with local business leaders to understand their workforce needs, help our students make informed career choices, and create a network that connects students with potential employers.

RETHINKING GENERAL EDUCATION
Alder will act as a lab school, sharing best practices with other institutions that may want to integrate elements of our work into their programs.

LOWER COSTS
“How much does it cost to educate a student?” Alder will constantly ask how a new kind of school might answer that question.

SCALABLE & REPLICABLE
Alder is an incubator, developing practices that can be shared and modified to benefit students in a number of settings."
colleges  universities  alternative  srg  oregon  portland  liberalarts  relationships  education  highered  highereducation  progressive  deepspringscollege  local 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Dude Ranch — The California Sunday Magazine
"Even the drive to the college evokes cinematic scenes of frontier outposts: “You come down from the mountains into the valley and see off in the distance a few kinds of trees and a little cluster of buildings in an otherwise empty desert,” says Sam Contis, who has visited the school a dozen times since March 2013. “I wasn’t quite expecting the sense of scale — how small the campus is in relation to the rest of the space around it. It felt like you could blink and it would almost disappear.”"



"The last pillar is self-governance, which is a confluence of a lot of playfulness and a lot of seriousness. We ran our meetings with Robert’s Rules of Order and dealt with some tough decisions. We could have some incredibly tense, incredibly high-octane disagreements. And at the same time, we started most of our meetings with some kind of shared noise. We’d go from howling at the moon to getting into the heart of whether to let someone leave the valley or have a guest for this or that reason.

I experienced a level of comfort, of closeness, of vulnerability, of physical and emotional contact with my classmates, that I think it’s fair to say is pretty uncommon among male peer groups. But to protect that at the expense of allowing women in feels irresponsible, and I don’t think it gives the place enough credit. To imagine that having women at the school would fundamentally alter the relationships between people, that’s naive."



"I had an advantage when it came to the manual labor; I had worked on my dad’s farm and taken care of animals when I was a kid. But I was intimidated by the academics. One of the first classes I took was the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle. That was the first time I took a philosophy class, and I realized that many of my peers had read the book two or three times before. In another class, we talked a lot about the internal politics of the U.S., and they kept saying “the electoral college,” and I was like, “What are they talking about? Is that a college? Where is it?”

Every time I worked alongside my classmates, I’d have long conversations that made me a better student. I remember one particular horseback ride with a friend. We were taking this class about The Varieties of Religious Experience, and we were asking, how is it that when you think about religious experience it always has to be associated with this idea of the divine? Here we were, riding in the valley, in this huge space where there is nothing but us and you can hear everything around you — you can hear the footsteps of the horses, you can hear sand blowing. How is that not given the same form of authority as someone dreaming that they talked to God?"



"There’s this paradox of Deep Springs, because on the one hand, it’s billed as this isolation experiment, but the reality is that it’s the most social experience I’ve ever had. I really started to feel it in my second year — the amount of obligations that piled on throughout the week, everyone being in one dorm."



"When I got there, my first memory was settling into the room where I was staying, and there were two students curled up together on the bed reading Emily Dickinson. Then I poked my head into another room at night where the student body was having what they call a “boojie.” There were 15 guys dancing to Kesha and Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. At that point, I just had no idea how I could possibly stay in that space. But by the end of my time, I learned to dance at Deep Springs in a very real way."
deepspringscollege  2017  photography  isolation  self-governance  sfsh  democratic  education  learning  colleges  universities  social  samcontis  ericbenson  cohabitation 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Outer Coast College
[See also:
https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/12/11/outer-coast-college-seeks-replicate-deep-springs-success
http://the-toast.net/2015/11/19/theyre-building-a-deep-springs-for-women-in-alaska-and-i-need-a-minute/
http://www.adn.com/article/20151217/lawmaker-plans-new-unusual-private-college-sitka
http://www.newsminer.com/news/alaska_news/group-targets-sheldon-jackson-campus-for-new-college/article_0c863fa0-a772-11e5-a518-277bec2027c3.html
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/dec/20/group-targets-sj-campus-for-new-college/?page=all ]

"What if we could start over with higher education?

We love our colleges and universities. After all, college is where we solidify our deepest beliefs and forge our dearest friendships. It’s where many of us proudly take responsibility for our lives for the first time. Long after graduation, we recall our college years with fondness.

But many of us know that these rosy feelings mask the truth about higher education in the United States—that it’s showing its wear. Crises loom:

1) Quality: At many colleges and universities students simply aren't learning...
2) Cost: ...while the price of a college education continues to skyrocket.

Films have been shot, articles have been written, bills have been passed. But these problems persist, to the point where they can seem intractable.

We think otherwise. We think a college education can be affordable and transformative, intellectually and personally. To prove it, we’re building a college of our own.

Three Pillars

Outer Coast College is a nascent two-year institution of higher education in Sitka, Alaska. Our curriculum is one for the whole person, built upon the three pillars of Academics, Service & Labor, and Self-governance.

We draw our inspiration from Deep Springs College, a small and remarkable postsecondary institution nestled in a quiet valley just east of the Sierra Nevada. Although a remarkably successful and admired educational institution, nearly a century after its founding Deep Springs remains the only college of its kind.

Self-governance
As at Deep Springs, Outer Coast College students self-govern. Students hire faculty, determine curriculum and course offerings, serve on the Board of Trustees, legislate academic and student life policies, and serve as the admissions committee to select incoming classes.

Academics
Outer Coast College provides a rigorous liberal arts environment, in which a sincere appreciation for learning and intellectual inquiry is encouraged. Excellence in pedagogy and student scholarship are hallmarks of the college.

Service & Labor
We believe in the value of labor as soulcraft and the power of service as a moral education that can instill a lifelong obligation of service to society. Students assume a labor responsibility to sustain the college’s day-to-day operations: running the kitchen and dining hall; growing and harvesting food (vegetables from the garden, salmon from the ocean, etc.); a “work crew,” guided by a foreman-carpenter, that assists with the historic restoration and rehabilitation of Sheldon Jackson Campus’s 100-year-old buildings; and the important work of dishwashing and custodial upkeep. Similarly, students rotate through service positions and apprenticeships with organizations in the community, contributing to Sitka and its vibrant culture.

Today’s universities function more as sprawling conglomerates than as schools: they manage multi-million-dollar athletic programs, police departments, hospitals, science research facilities, massive food and residential services operations, and sprawling real estate portfolios. Meanwhile, the academic job market often discourages great teaching by providing incentives for faculty to focus primarily on research.

Outer Coast is a relentlessly student-focused institution. Excellence in scholarship is different from excellence in teaching. Outer Coast College faculty’s foremost obligation is to create a dazzling, neuron-bending pedagogic and intellectual experience for students, and to treat teaching as a craft in its own right. At Outer Coast College, excellence in teaching is the expectation.

After two years Outer Coast students transfer to four-year institutions, where they can take advantage of the resources of a larger institution. This model aspires to be the “best of the both worlds”: students can complete a robust two-year liberal arts education without crippling debt, then transition into two years of a traditional undergraduate education with a far clearer sense of themselves."



"Mission Statement
Outer Coast College seeks to teach and inspire promising young people to create virtuous change in the world and in their own lives. It aims to accomplish this mission by providing a rigorous and challenging academic curriculum marked by exceptional pedagogy and faculty engagement; by imparting the value of labor and service to a diverse student body entrusted with broad powers of self-governance; by cultivating love for community and respect for nature within the setting of Sitka, Alaska; by fostering creativity, curiosity, honesty, generosity, resilience, self-reliance, and good humor; and by accompanying students in their search for self-understanding and moral worth.

Who We Serve
The student body of Outer Coast College will be national and international in breadth, and diverse in many ways, including race, gender, and socioeconomic status. The college will make a special effort to recruit students from Alaska, particularly Alaska Natives and rural Alaskans, as well as high-achieving students from underserved backgrounds.

Brief History of the Project
Founded in 1878, Sheldon Jackson College was the oldest institution of higher learning in Alaska until its closure in 2007. At that time, title to the deteriorating campus was transferred to the nationally recognized Sitka Fine Arts Camp.

In the ensuing years, led by the inspiring vision of the Fine Arts Camp, the community of Sitka rallied to restore the campus in perhaps the largest volunteer effort in the history of Alaska.

Today the Sitka Fine Arts Camp runs its summer programs on the Sheldon Jackson Campus to national acclaim, filling Sitka with tremendous creative energy.

In summer 2014 Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins and Roger Schmidt began discussing the possibility of founding a new college on the campus in partnership with the Fine Arts Camp.

In January 2015 Jonathan visited Deep Springs College to explore adapting its model to Sitka. While there, Jonathan met Will Hunt, a second year student who subsequently committed to move to Sitka in the fall to join the effort to create a Deep Springs-inspired college on Sheldon Jackson Campus.

Full-time work to create the college began September 2015. A four-person principal team of Jonathan, Will, Stephanie Gilardi, and Javier Botero coalesced through the fall. In mid-November, the team organized a two-day convening on the campus, bringing together collaborators from Sitka, Alaska, and the Lower 48 to contribute to the vision of Outer Coast College.

Through the fall and winter Jonathan, Will, Stephanie, and Javier created seven working committees, collectively charged with advancing the disparate work of creating a college, from accreditation to pedagogy to fundraising to admissions and recruitment. All aspects of the Outer Coast College project are actively progressing through present (April 2016)."
alaska  srg  colleges  universities  deepspringscollege  outercoastcollege  servicelearning  labor  self-governance 
april 2016 by robertogreco
the arete project | towards new programs on the Deep Springs model
[via: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/07/16/women-only-summer-program-hopes-replicate-deep-springs-experience-women
https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/12/11/outer-coast-college-seeks-replicate-deep-springs-success ]

"The Arete Project offers innovative, affordable educational programs designed to prepare young people for lives of thoughtful leadership and service to humanity.

The Arete Seminar
The Arete Seminar is an eight-week long program for college-aged women held between June and August of each year. The 2016 program will run from June 20 - August 13, 2016.

Modeled on the educational philosophy of L.L. Nunn, the Arete Project features a small student body size, a rural, isolated community, and the three pillars of academics, labor and self-governance. Seminar participants also take on additional self-governance and service projects throughout the course of the year."



"The mission of the Arete Project is education towards its highest ends: the cultivation of wisdom, the living of a good life in thought and action, and selfless devotion to world and humanity.

Arete builds this education around three central pillars: rigorous engagement with the liberal arts, physical labor undertaken in service of the land and community, and student self-governance over each other and the organization as a whole.

Arete conducts its programs in a human context and on a human scale: in small, close-knit communities and rural, isolated settings; through meaningful relationships between students, faculty, and staff; and through demanding intellectual and physical work on which the community depends.

Arete regards its students as beneficiaries, rather than consumers, of their educations: tuition and administrative expenses are kept to a minimum, and no student is turned away for inability to pay.

Our purpose is to expand upon the educational models pioneered by L.L. Nunn in the early 1900s. Nunn’s organizations were designed to prepare servant leaders, and he structured his programs around three pillars: academics, labor, and self-governance. For the past two summers, the Arete Project has given college-aged women the unique opportunity to intensively engage in these areas during an 8-week summer program, which was held on an organic farm in Sebastopol, CA in 2014, and then, in 2015, on the campus of the Arthur Morgan School near Burnsville, NC. We are excited to announce that Arete will continue to call the Arthur Morgan School home for summer 2016.

What is arete?
The term arete designates the highest human potential, the “best that we can be.” The concept of arete dates back to ancient Greece, and is found throughout the writings of Homer, Plato, Aristotle, and their intellectual descendants. It is often translated as “virtue” or “excellence,” but encompasses much more—in various times and in various places, the term has been associated with bravery, cooperation, justice, loyalty, intelligence, compassion, diligence – while ultimately transcending them all. The Arete Project takes an expansive view of human excellence, balancing together the uniqueness of each student’s potential and the flourishing of the community in which they live.

The Arete Project provides an educational program for college-aged women that emphasizes democratic participation and leadership, sustainability, personal and communal responsibility, and intellectual excellence. It combines a top-tier liberal arts academic programming with a practical education in stewardship and citizenship, supported by the three pillars of academics, labor, and self-governance. All participants will be held to the ground rules: (a) isolation on campus, encouraging introspective and intensive engagement with the community and (b) a strict policy forbidding the use of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. Apart from these foundational regulations – along with required engagement with the three pillars – the task of self-governance will see all participants active together in creating and maintaining their own polity."
srg  colleges  universities  deepspringscollege  llnunn  areteproject  small  liberalrts  land  community  rural  work  labor  physicallabor  self-governance 
april 2016 by robertogreco
The Miseducation of America - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"While I was watching Ivory Tower, a documentary about the state of college in America that appears in select theaters this month (the movie also airs on CNN this fall), it occurred to me that of the many problems with higher education these days, not the least concerns the way we talk about it. "Efficiency," "art-history majors," "kids who graduate with $100,000 in debt," "the college bubble," the whole rhetoric of crisis and collapse: The public discourse is dominated by sound bites, one-liners, hearsay, horror stories, and a very great deal of misinformation.

Higher ed is not unique in this respect, of course, but it is particularly bad. College, as the movie points out, was always treated as a black box: 18-year-olds were inserted at one end, 22-year-olds came out the other, and as long as the system appeared to be working, no one bothered to inquire what happened in between. Americans, as a result, have very little understanding of what college is about—how it works, what it’s for, what larger social benefits it offers—and those employed in higher education have had very little practice in explaining it to them. The debate has been left to the politicians, the pundits, and increasingly, the hustlers and ideologues. Few who talk about college in public understand it, and few who understand it talk about it.

Ivory Tower, for the most part, is an honorable exception."



"Ivory Tower shows us why it’s so important that we get this right: that we think with facts, with respect to college costs and what they get you, not emotions. When we cherry pick the scariest stories and numbers, we do two things: We open the door to hucksters selling easy answers, and we forget what college is really for. Apocalypticism leads to messianism. Close behind the anxious parents whom we see on college tours at Wesleyan and NYU—variously blithe or glum adolescents in tow—come, like vultures to a kill, a pair of now-familiar figures: Peter Thiel and Sebastian Thrun."



"The truth is, there are powerful forces at work in our society that are actively hostile to the college ideal. That distrust critical thinking and deny the proposition that democracy necessitates an educated citizenry. That have no use for larger social purposes. That decline to recognize the worth of that which can’t be bought or sold. Above all, that reject the view that higher education is a basic human right.

The film recounts the history and recent fate of that idea: its origin among the philanthropists of the industrial age, figures like Peter Cooper, founder of his eponymous Union; its progressive unfolding through the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, the GI Bill of 1944, the postwar expansion of the University of California, and the Higher Education Act of 1965, which created the federal student-loan and grant programs; and its deliberate destruction under Ronald Reagan and his ideological heirs.

Free, high-quality higher education (just like free, high-quality school, which we continue to at least pretend to endorse): that is what we used to believe in; that’s what many other countries still believe in; that is what we must believe in once again. The filmmakers undoubtedly knew what they were doing when they chose to show us the moment, during that seminar at Deep Springs, when the students are debating Hegel’s proposition that, as their professor puts it, "you need to have a common identity as citizens, because it creates the bonds of affection." Or in Delbanco’s words, "What kind of society do we want to be?" Cooper Union’s commencement speaker, that tumultuous spring of 2013, turns out to have been none other than Michael Bloomberg. "The debate you’re having really isn’t about whether education is free," we see him tell the students. "It’s really about who can and who is willing to pay for it."

On this the billionaire and I agree. In terms of the "can" (and it’s hard to believe the word could even pass his lips), the answer is clear. Not just the plutocrats, not just the upper class, but the upper middle class, as well. Everybody knows by now that the share of national income that accrues to the famous one percent has risen to about 23 percent, higher than at almost any time since 1928. But the share that accrues to the top 10 percent as a whole, which stayed around 33 percent from the 1950s through the 1970s, has risen to its highest level ever (or at least, since record-keeping started), more than 50 percent. In a $17-trillion economy, the difference represents a premium of nearly $3-trillion a year, about five times the federal deficit and more than enough for this and many other public purposes.

The problem of costs, to be sure, is not a one-way street. Higher education must indeed increase efficiency, but how? Institutions have been willing to spend on everything in recent years except the thing that matters most: instruction. Dorms, deans, sports, but not professors. Piglike presidential salaries, paid for by hiring adjuncts. Now, with MOOCs and other forms of online instruction, the talk is more of the same. My friends, they are coming for you. The professoriate no longer has the luxury of thinking that all this is someone else’s problem. If you want to save your skins, let alone ensure the future of the enterprise, you need to wake up and organize against the people who are organizing against you. The fact is that by focusing exclusively on monetary issues, the current conversation prevents us not only from remembering the higher objectives of an undergraduate education, but also from recognizing just how bad a job our institutions have been doing at fulfilling them. Colleges and universities have a lot to answer for; if they want to regain the support of the larger society, they need to prove that they are worthy of it.

Ivory Tower ends, in the manner of such films today, by referring us to a website. Under the rubric "Take Action," the site encourages us to sign a petition that calls on Congress to pass legislation, of the kind proposed by Elizabeth Warren (and just blocked by Senate Republicans), allowing individuals to refinance their student loans. That would certainly be a good thing, but we need to set our sights a great deal higher. If service workers can demand a $15 minimum wage, more than double the federal level, then those who care about higher education can insist on the elimination of tuition and fees at state institutions and their replacement by public funding furnished by taxes on the upper 10 percent. As with the minimum wage, the campaign can be conducted state by state, and it can and should involve a large coalition of interested groups: students, parents, and instructors, to start with. Total enrollment at American colleges and universities now stands at 20 million, on top of another million-plus on the faculty. That’s a formidable voting bloc, should it learn to exercise its power. Since the Occupy movement in 2011, it’s clear that the fight to reverse the tide of growing inequality has been joined. It’s time we joined it."
2014  williamderesiewicz  highered  highereducation  education  policy  politics  finance  money  studentloands  ivorytower  reform  faculty  solidarity  ows  occupywallstreet  inequality  purpose  canon  funding  publicfunding  mooc  moocs  unions  labor  deepspringscollege  colleges  universities  liberalarts  society  learning  criticalthinking  uncollege  dalestephens  peterthiel  sebastianthrun  peterschiff  efficiency  cooperunion  communitycolleges  debt  studentdebt  employment 
june 2014 by robertogreco
An inconvenient truth about higher ed | Al Jazeera America
"As an answer to higher ed’s crisis, the best “Ivory Tower” has to offer are community colleges, where the name on the credential doesn’t mean much, but students at all stages in their lives can acquire skills using online and classroom resources. This might be the best pure deal on the higher education market, but community colleges are unlikely to unseat four-year institutions in prestige or cultural dominance. Like HBCUs and tuition-free hippie schools, some community colleges are fighting for survival. City College of San Francisco, for example, is clinging to accreditation, disputing charges that it lacks a sufficient number of administrators and a secure financial base. Solutions like education hacking and community colleges also ignore the fact that brand-name diplomas and connections are what schools are selling, at least as much as knowledge. If you had to choose between a college credential and a college education, in this job market you’d be a fool to take the latter.

When it comes to reforming four-year nonprofits, there’s no reason to believe pumping in more state money won’t just exacerbate the current problems, rooted in skyrocketing cost. And since state money is earmarked for particular expenses, schools will still need more no-strings-attached tuition money to service institutional debt. If federal regulators were to require schools to cut costs, we know just how these corporate managers would do it: contracting out whatever good jobs are left and doubling the marketing budget so no one notices."
malcolmharris  education  documentary  ivorytower  2014  highered  highereducation  money  communitycolleges  moocs  mooc  deepspringscollege  peterthiel  arizonastateuniversity 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Creating Distinctiveness: Lessons from Uncommon Colleges and Universities [PDF]
"Distinctive colleges and universities, as opposed to the great majority which fit into a more or less standardized mold, possess a unifying theme or vision which is expressed in all their activities. They often respond to newly emerging societal or community needs unmet by existing colleges and universities; they challenge conventional ideas about higher education and inspire greater engagement by students and faculty in undergraduate education. However, distinctiveness can also limit the institution to a very small market niche as well as sometimes making it more difficult for it to adapt to the changes necessary for survival. Strategic management models, such as the interpretive and adaptive models, need to be employed to aid distinctive colleges and universities to survive and grow. Recommendations for higher education leaders contemplating whether to pursue distinctiveness include: (1) identifying institutional values, followed by clarification, communication, and acting on unifying the values and themes found; (2) conducting a situation analysis to determine if the school is a likely candidate for distinctiveness; (3) selecting the desired level of market exposure; and (4) performing market research to uncover markets to which the college or university can appeal. Contains over 150 references and an index."
education  history  antiochcollege  blackmountaincollege  colleges  universities  learning  collegeoftheatlantic  evergreenstatecollege  stjohn'scollege  universityofchicago  universityofwisconsin  experiments  experimental  progressive  progressiveeducation  alternative  via:mayonissen  bereacollege  reed  reedcollege  ephemerality  change  ephemeral  popupschools  unschooling  deschooling  deepspringscollege  1992  barbaratownsend  ljacksonnewell  michaelwiese  gamechanging  distinctivecolleges  highered  highereducation  progressivism  bmc 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Maverick Colleges: Ten Noble Experiments in American Undergraduate Education (1993)
[Second edition (1996) of the book with some additional schools here in PDF: https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/experimental-study-group/es-291-learning-seminar-experiments-in-education-spring-2003/readings/MITES_291S03_maverick.pdf ]

[Wayback:
http://web.archive.org/web/20130730023648/http://www.mit.edu/~jrising/webres/maverick.txt
https://web.archive.org/web/19961105162647/http://www.gse.utah.edu/EdAdm/Galvin/Maverick.html ]

"This book is a product of a University of Utah graduate seminar conducted in the spring of 1991: "Notable Experiments in American Higher Education" (Educational Administration 728). The contributing authors are professor of educational administration L. Jackson Newell and seminar students, each of whom selected an innovative, or "experimental," college for research and reporting."

"Common Themes:

As seminar participants exchanged findings about the ten selected colleges, several prominent themes emerged that had not been predetermined by selection criteria but appeared to indicate common postures among experimental colleges. These include:

• Ideals spawning ideas. In most cases, the ten colleges appeared to start with the ideals of visionary founders. For some, the ideal concerned the citizens who would emerge from the learning experience …

• Emphasis on teaching; retreat from research. The vast majority of experimental colleges are liberal education colleges where the art of teaching and the development of students are values of high esteem. …

• Organization without specialization. Not unexpectedly, these experimental colleges also tended to turn away from the disciplinary organization of scholarship that had sprung from the German research university model. …

• Administrative innovations. Freedom from traditional higher education bureaucracy and hierarchy have been common pursuits of the colleges studied. …

Divergent Approaches:

Just as common themes instruct us about the aims and aspirations of various experimental colleges, so too do their divergent approaches. Two notable areas of difference among the colleges focus on who should attend and how their learning might best be organized during the college years."

[Bits from the section on Black Mountain College:]

"Its educational commitment--to democratic underpinnings for learning that comes from "human contact, through a fusion of mind and emotion" (Du Plessix-Gray 1952:10)-- was reflective of a larger liberal environment that managed a brief appearance before the 1950s ushered in fear of Communism and love of television."



"Rice and his colleagues had stronger convictions about how a college should operate than about how and what students might learn. Democracy would be paramount in the administration of the college, and structure would be loose. Students and faculty joined in marathon, long-winded decision-making meetings with decisions ranging from a faculty termination to a library acquisition.

Particularly prominent, and vital to the democratic underpinnings envisioned by Rice, was the absence of any outside governing body. Rice had determined that control exerted by boards of trustees and college presidents rendered faculty participation meaningless, limiting faculty to debate, "with pitiable passion, the questions of hours, credits, cuts. . . . They bring the full force of their manhood to bear on trivialities. They know within themselves that they can roam at will only among minutiae of no importance" (Adamic, 1938:624).

The faculty did establish a three-member "Board of Fellows," elected from among them and charged with running the business affairs of the College. Within a year, a student member was added to the Board."



"The 23-year history of Black Mountain College was one of few constants and much conflict. Three forceful leaders marked three distinct periods during the 23 years: the John Rice years, the Josef Albers decade, and the Charles Olson era.

During the first 5 years of the College, a solidarity of philosophy and community gradually took shape. It revolved largely around John Rice's outgoing personality (much intelligence and much laughter mark most reports from colleagues and students) and forceful opinions about education. He was determined, for example, that every student should have some experience in the arts.

This translated as at least an elementary course in music, dramatics and/or drawing, because:
There is something of the artist in everyone, and the development of this talent, however small, carrying with it a severe discipline of its own, results in the student's becoming more and more sensitive to order in the world and within himself than he can ever possibly become through intellectual effort alone. (Adamic 1938:626)

Although he cautioned against the possible tyranny of the community, Rice eventually decided that some group activity would,
…help the individual be complete, aware of his relation to others. Wood chopping, road-mending, rolling the tennis courts, serving tea in the afternoon, and other tasks around the place help rub off individualistic corners and give people training in assuming responsibility. (Ibid, 1938:627)



"Rice soon discovered what he would later call the "three Alberses"--the teacher, the social being and the Prussian. The Prussian Albers decried the seeming lack of real leadership at the College and the free-wheeling, agenda-less, community-wide meetings. Rice noted later, "You can't talk to a German about liberty. You just waste your breath. They don't know what the hell you mean" (Duberman 1972:69)."



"The war years ushered in a different kind of Black Mountain; one where students, and at least some faculty members, started lobbying for more structure in learning, but yet more freedom outside the classroom. Lectures and recitations were starting to occur within the classroom, while cut-off blue jeans and nude sun bathing appeared outside. Influential faculty member Eric Bentley insisted to his colleagues: "I can't teach history if they're not prepared to do some grinding, memorizing, getting to know facts and dates and so on…" (Duberman 1972:198). Needless to say, with Albers and many of the original faculty still on board, faculty meetings were decisive and volatile.

Overshadowing this dissent, however, was a new program that was to highlight at least the public notion of a historical "saga" for the College, the summer institutes. Like much at Black Mountain, the summer institutes started more by chance than choice."



"The summer institutes grew throughout the 1940s to include notable talents in art, architecture, music and literature. And it is probably these institutes and the renown of the individuals in attendance that contributed most to Black Mountain's reputation as an art school."



The excitement and publicity generated by the summer sessions, in addition to a general higher education population explosion spurred by the G.I. Bill, put the Black Mountain College of the late 1940s on its healthiest economic footing yet.

Still, Black Mountain managed to avoid financial stability. Student turnover negated some of the volume gains. Faculty salaries rose substantially, but grants and endowments did not. Stephen Forbes, for example, who had always been counted on to supply money to the College in tough times, refused a request in 1949 because he was disenchanted with the new emphasis on arts education at the expense of general education. The ability to manage what money it had also did not increase at Black Mountain, although Josef Albers proposed a reorganization that would include administrators and an outside board of overseers. In the wake of arguments and recriminations about the financial situation and how to solve it, a majority (by one vote) of the faculty called for the resignation of Ted Dreier, the last remaining faculty member from the founding group. In protest, four other faculty members resigned--including Josef and Anni Albers. By selling off some of the campus acreage, the remaining faculty managed to save the College and retain its original mindset of freedom from outside boards and administrators, while setting the stage for yet another era in its history [Charles Olson].



"What Albers lacked in administrative ability, he compensated for in tenacity and focus. What Rice lacked in administrative ability, he balanced with action and ideas. However, when Olson couldn't manage the administrative function, he simply retreated. His idea about turning the successful summer institutes into a similar series of year-long institutes fell on deaf faculty ears. So he gave up trying to strengthen the regular program."



"The vast majority of former Black Mountain students can point to clear instances of lasting influence on the rest of their lives. Mostly, this seems to have occurred through association: with one or two faculty members who made a difference, with a "community" of fellow individuals who were essential resources to one another, or with a new area of endeavor such as painting or writing or farming. Black Mountain, apparently, was a place where association was encouraged. Perhaps this occurred through the relatively small number of people shouldered into an isolated valley, perhaps by a common dedication to the unconventional, or perhaps to the existence of ideals about learning and teaching. At any rate, the encouragement of association with people and with ideas was not the norm in higher education then, nor is it now. Clearly, it is possible to graduate from most colleges and universities today with little, if any, significant association with faculty, students or ideas.

But at Black Mountain, as at other experimental colleges, association could hardly be avoided. Engagement with people and ideas was paramount; activity was rampant. It was social, and it was educational. As Eric Bentley would remark:

Where, as at Black Mountain, there is a teacher to every three students the advantage is evident. . .a means to … [more]
deepspringscollege  reed  reedcollege  stjohn'scollege  prescottcollege  bereacollege  colleges  alternative  alternativeeducation  lcproject  openstudioproject  experientialeducation  unschooling  deschooling  1991  ljacksonnewell  katherinereynolds  keithwilson  eannadams  cliffordcrelly  kerrienaylor  zandilenkbinde  richardsperry  ryotakahashi  barbrawardle  antiochcollege  antioch  hierarchy  organizations  ephemeral  leadership  teaching  learning  education  schools  research  visionaries  ideals  idealism  specialization  generalists  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  transdisciplinary  innovation  freedom  bureaucracy  universityofchicago  collegeoftheatlantic  democracy  democraticeducation  structure  ephemerality  popupschools  small  smallschools  josefalbers  charlesolson  johnandrewrice  lucianmarquis  highered  highereducation  progressivism  blackmountaincollege  bmc  maverickcolleges  evergreenstatecollege  experientiallearning  miamidadecommunitycollege  ucsantacruz  monteithcollege  fairhavencollege  westernwashingtonuniv 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Deep Springs College and the Liberal Arts Ideal
"In order to understand what “is suited to the education of a free person,” we need to first know what freedom amounts to. At the core of Nunn’s conception of freedom is self-governance, for he views freedom and self-government in obedience to law as one and the same. He recognizes that on the face of it this doesn’t make sense. How can obedience be synonymous with freedom?

To understand this it will help to contrast the fee person with the slave. The free person lives in free society with others. Free societies can be small and large, ranging from, for example, the small association of students at Deep Springs, to the state government of Pennsylvania or the government of the United States of America. When people live in society with one another they choose to establish laws governing the conduct of their members, for the maintenance and flourishing of the society as a whole, and they curtail their own rights, for the benefit of the common good.

Slavery, like freedom, requires society. Unlike freedom, which is participation in society, however, slavery is subjugation to it. The slave does not choose to enter into society with others, but is coerced into obeying orders out of fear. Both the slave and the free person recognize and respect the law, but they do so in extremely different ways. The free person wills the law, takes responsibility for it, and has her part in determining it. The slave submits to it and is bound by it in servitude.

At the individual level, Nunn thinks that we find a situation analogous to that of the free person and the slave at the social level. He thinks there are laws governing our right conduct, laws of morality that we can all be aware of through our good common sense. We can rebel against these and instead follow our personal inclinations, desiring our own pleasure and our own gain, at the expense of others. Such intemperance, according to Nunn is the mark of poor self-governance. When we follow our good judgment, will our action in accord with it, and take responsibility for this action, however, then he thinks we govern ourselves well individually.

Now in a free society, the authority of the body politic derives from each individual’s choice to enter into that society. Accordingly, the authority of the society is in part vested in it from each of its members, and in respecting its authority the members are indirectly respecting their own authority over themselves. In this way, when a free person respects the laws of their free society, they are engaged in a further form of self-government."



"The main difference between my years at Deep Springs and those spent elsewhere perhaps is just this: life there was simpler. It was simpler because it was preparatory. It was about surveying the space of possibilities, laying foundations, and getting one’s bearings. This was mostly an internal process. It was about getting one’s heart in order. And while this process couldn’t happen alone, in isolation, it could happen in a relatively simple, small community of fifty or so people, largely cut off from the mad complexity of life in the real world and of what our future lives in that world would be. The tremendous privilege that Deep Springs students receive is, then, just two years in this simple space in which they can orient themselves and prepare for the complexities of life to come."
deepspringscollege  time  simplicity  education  lcproject  tcsnmy  tcsnmy8  learning  liberalarts  llnunn  life  well-being  self-governance  democracy  democraticschools  democratic  alternative  service  servicelearning  selflessness  community  labor  freedom  liberty  society  slavery  authority 
march 2013 by robertogreco
The Saxifrage School - Higher Ed Innovation Laboratory
"The Saxifrage School is a higher education laboratory working to lower costs, re-think the campus, and reconcile disciplines."

"While we continue our work as a laboratory for new ideas, we are dreaming big about the future. This video describes our early concept for founding a full-fledged college here in Pittsburgh."

"At the core of the Saxifrage School model is our nomadic campus. We're re-thinking the traditional campus model to better serve students, the economy, and our neighborhoods."

"Deconstructing higher education is a large and complex undertaking, but we have a great sense of urgency for our work. Here are a few of the reasons why we are working to change the future of higher education."

"Extending the liberal arts to include technical skills, the academic philosophy of The Saxifrage School is centered on productive inquiry. Our goal is to educate the full person by reuniting the making of things and the judging of ideas into one educative process that closely attends to the real problems of today’s world. We strive to reconcile theory and practice and preserve their integrity by valuing the creative utility of each. The Saxifrage School will host a tight academic community that weaves into local organizations, creating a dynamic resource network that will serve students and neighbors alike. Graduates of the Saxifrage School will leave as seasoned thinkers, skilled producers, engaged citizens, and capable agents of change."

[Video: https://vimeo.com/34760137 ]
[Blog: http://saxifrageschool.tumblr.com/ ]
[Via: http://saxifrageschool.tumblr.com/post/31061581933/deep-springs-college-and-the-liberal-arts-ideal via Randall Szott ]
saxifrage  pittsburgh  pennsylvania  education  highereducation  cityasclassroom  learning  schools  spanish  lcproject  well-being  purpose  liberalarts  via:randallszott  local  nomadiccampus  highered  deepspringscollege 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Tools for Living - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"What makes this story even more poignant is its setting: at sibling colleges founded by monasteries, where self-sufficiency and sustainability were once a central ethic, as outlined in the Rule of St. Benedict. The Benedictine women and men here, along with many of the older alumni, can still remember when they milked cows, plucked chickens, and picked potatoes grown on the monasteries' surrounding land. Bread, furniture, preserved food, ceramics, and other daily necessities were produced by monks, sisters, and students on the campuses. While some remnants of that life still exist, much of it is gone."
living  life  sustainability  farmwork  collegoftheozarks  handsonlearning  learning  cooking  doing  making  practicalskills  warrenwilsoncollege  deepspringscollege  scottcarlson  2012  backtothefuture  liberalarts  universities  colleges 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Alternative university - Wikipedia
"Alternative universities which may be known by other names, especially as colleges in the United States are institutions which offer an education and in some cases a lifestyle which is intentionally not the mainstream of other institutions. Through the use of experimental and nonconvential curricula and offering much choice to students as to what and how they will study, such institutions distinguish themselves from traditional faculties…

Alternative universities, colleges and institutions in the USA: Antioch College; Bard College; Bennington College; College of the Atlantic; Deep Springs College; Evergreen State College; Eugene Lang College, which is part of The New School; Hampshire College; Goddard College; New College of Florida; Naropa University; Oberlin College; Reed College; Sarah Lawrence College; Union Institute & University BA Program; Warren Wilson College; Western Institute for Social Research"
alternative  colleges  universities  us  lists  progressive  democratic  benniningtoncollege  deepspringscollege  evergreenstatecollege  hampshirecollege  collegeoftheatlantic  newcollegeofflorida  warrenwilsoncollege  antiochcollege  bardcollege  eugenelangcollege  goddardcollege  naropauniversity  oberlincollege  reedcollege  sarahlawrencecollege  unioninstitute  westerninstituteforsocialresearch  unschooling  deschooling  glvo 
september 2010 by robertogreco
YouTube - Deep Roots; An Ideal Preserved
"Short documentary on Deep Springs College in Inyo Valley, CA. An Academy of Integrated Media project that embodies the American character."

[Also at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v01LKW1EshU ]
deepspringscollege  education  colleges  universities  self-governance  omnicompetence  learning  failure  schools  empowerment  tcsnmy  california  alternative  alternativeeducation  purpose  urgency  transformation 
september 2010 by robertogreco

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