Saturday, September 08, 2007

Off to the Founders College kickoff

I'm off to Founders College for the weekend, which officially kicks off its first year of classes with an opening celebration tomorrow. Earlier this week Scott Powell posted his interview with Founders College CEO Tamara Fuller at his blog History at Our House. The interview brought to light several of Founders' key points of differentiation. Unlike most other colleges, Founders is expressly dedicated to teaching an integrated body of knowledge. According to Fuller:

[I]integration permeates every level of [Founders'] construction from the connections between the classes to the training for professors. At Founders, liberal arts and business are connected. Students don’t just study major periods in history, such as the Renaissance, or just the literature of the Renaissance, they are taught to see connections between the arts, literature, philosophy, and the progress of events in society at large.

In most college settings the opposite is true. From the outset, when students arrive they can choose from a wide spectrum of course; they are not taught in any particular order; they are not taught by people who are aware of the other curriculum areas of the system. In most cases, there is no expert guidance provided to enable students to develop a mastery of the subject they are studying.
Powell also asks Fuller about Founders' perspective on home schooling. Unlike many colleges, Founders outright embraces home-schooled students for matriculation. In the interview, Fuller made clear her admiration for home school teaching methods:

Homeschoolers necessarily teach in more integrated fashion, because the entire curriculum is developed under the oversight of a single individual or couple. When I interview homeschoolers, I see accelerated learning, because students have an added measure of integration in their education.
Again, it all comes back to integration: take the chaos of the world and organize it, first in one's mind, and second in one's actions. And on these grounds, I am excited about the Founders opening: let the revolution begin.