in A.S.K. Kunming
to refresh our pedagogy,” Maqubela remembers, a practice not new with BASK. The same philosophical foundation anchors the ACE Scholars Program model of accelerated coursework for rising uppers in Colorado and the 35-year-old (MS)2 program, both designed to address the preparation gap. The idea captured the imaginations of nearly all it touched. Led by Tang and Chase, meetings involved trustees and faculty members in building on the original concept. Tang, in his progressive generosity, made a number of exploratory faculty trips to China financially possible—for seven faculty members to explore a multidisciplinary study of water issues in 2008, for Maqubela and former faculty member Gongming Yan to visit Kunming in 2011, for Andover members of the BASK faculty to begin work with their Chinese
counterparts this past summer. Joining Merrill and Maqubela as the PA members of the initial BASK faculty are Brian Faulk ’00, instructor in English; Tom Hodgson, instructor in philosophy and religious studies; Lixia Ma, chair of the Chinese department; and freshly retired economics instructor Carroll Perry. Yan, who taught at PA from 2006 to 2011, serves as program coordinator in China. The challenge during their intensive week of work in Yunnan was to meld very different academic traditions into a model that demands excellent discipline-based learning, leading to what Maqubela describes as interdisciplinary literacy. In his role as facilitator, Merrill said he felt humbled by the level of trust that the colleagues from the four schools brought to a process that required that they all learn together, usually
through both English and Mandarin. All the participants were pushed beyond their comfort zones as they experimented with different topics, developed plans and schedules, and wrestled with such difficult notions as research training and project assessment in an interdisciplinary setting. Merrill believes that the work would not have been successful were it not for the preexisting trust engendered by carefully nurtured partnerships. “There was a moment when the group collectively moved from thinking 2014 was a safer target to saying, ‘We’re ready! We have to do this in 2013’.” Faulk, in a reflection at the end of this summer’s trip to Kunming, wrote: “I am convinced that our students will have a transformative experience at BASK. Although a deeper understanding of environmental chemistry is clearly a priority, I feel
The official kickoff dinner for BASK last June in Kunming , the capital of Yunnan Province, brought out the local news media and a number of Chinese officials who joined Andover faculty members in celebration. Jing Zhou, in the pink sweater, is principal of PA’s partner school in Kunming. Among others, she was joined by Temba Maqubela (center), Carroll Perry, Tom Hodgson, Brian Faulk ’00, Peter Merrill, and Lixia Ma.
Carroll Perry, on the walk along the Golden Sands River to Tiger Leaping Gorge, stopped for a portrait with a life-sized model of Chairman Mao, a popular tourist attraction. Andover | Fall 2012