The Monthly Newsletter for Gill St. Bernard’s School
Peter Schmidt Named Winner in The Chronicle of Higher Education Contest The Chronicle of Higher Education recently requested proposals from its readers to describe–in 500 words or less–concepts for a new kind of college that they would create if they could start it from scratch. GSB Director of Studies Peter Schmidt, who was among scores of professors, administrators, undergraduate students and more to enter a proposal, was selected by his peers as one of five finalists. While some entries chosen contained abstract and idealistic ideas, and others offered many details about budgets and curricula, Schmidt’s proposal, which was chosen as the ultimate winner and appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education on November 23, was titled College of the Global Village and read:
With an emphasis on experiential learning through a multidisciplinary investigation of varied meanings and practices of the good life; an immersion into the experience of new languages, including those of literature, the visual and performing arts, and the STEM disciplines; and the acquisition of an additional spoken and written language through living and learning in a culture where that language is primary, it is the objective of the College of the Global Village, through disciplined engagement, to strive to refocus learning on depth of experience rather than breadth of knowledge. Through a first year in which students participate in four immersive blocks of study, each eight weeks long, College of the Global Village requires all students to participate in a course of research and writing in which everyone is expected to construct meaning and to create knowledge rather than being mere receptacles of previously digested information.
Through a topic of one’s choice from the arts and humanities or a STEM discipline, students will be matched with experts in their chosen field, including those from academia as well as nonteaching professionals with whom students collaborate on a research-andwriting project that enables them to explore both the process of deep research and the complexities of ideas leading to the written work they will produce.
The year concludes with a languageimmersion experience in a part of the world that is unfamiliar to the student, engaging awareness of self and others through navigation of territory beyond the boundaries of his or her experience.
A second required block is “The History of Science and Ecology,” in which students learn the principles of those disciplines through field study of the relationship between the allocations and usage of resources in their college community and local economy.
During the second and third years at the College of the Global Village, all students are asked to fulfill eight additional learning blocks, through choices of multidisciplinary courses such as “A Guided Inquiry Into the Role of Museums and Concert Halls in Civil Society” and “The Transformation of the World From Nation-States to Global Networks.” The emphasis of those and additional offerings is to enable the students to develop practical applications of their learning in a context greater than a single classroom affords.
A third block is devoted to engagement with great books, in which students converse with authors and their characters about the moral choices they faced and the implications of these choices in both the texts and the life experiences of the students.
The fourth year is spent in a guided internship overseen by a professor or community leader, which includes a weekly integrative seminar with all students in their internships, to share their diverse learning experiences.
Gill St. Bernard’s School • St. Bernard’s Road • Gladstone, NJ 07934
GSB News: December 2012