Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Black Mountains College: The New Kid on the Block

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Sustainability

Ed Hessler

There is a brand new college on the planet, Black Mountains College * Its campus located in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales. The website describes its mission which is to focus "on the challenge of our times: how to build a fair and just society within safe planetary boundaries."

This is not a plug but a point of information. I know nearly nothing about it. You may be interested especially in its curriculum, e.g., it offers only one degree program. Further more based on what I've found so far the emphasis is on the so-called "soft skills." Among the FAQs:
BMC will be dedicated to excellence in teaching. No resources will be diverted to institutional research.  
BMC will have no academic departments.
The BMC degree will be taught in context, in nature, in settings throughout the Brecon Beacons National Park.
The BMC degree will be taught in immersive, intensive, single topic blocks of 3.5 weeks each. (see David Helfand’s guest blog for more information). Class sizes are capped at 20. There is a link to a blog for more information. 

The first year of BMC’s interdisciplinary degree is composed of six mandatory core modules in four areas: 

Earth Systems (climate, ecology and environmental science). 

Human Systems (‘Doughnut Economics’, systems thinking and circular economy principles). 

Learning to learn (Neuro- and behavioural science). 

Arts-based sensory training (perception, cognition and communication for change). 

So take a look at the website and see what you think. Would you like to have been able to attend? If you have children what would you think if they showed interest? Would you recommend the website to a college seeker? I can't tell, perhaps missing it,  whether they will accept foreign students. A Google search on that policy yielded nothing.

* It is easily confused with the now closed Black Mountain College in North Carolina. A single  "s" makes all the difference. It was an experimental liberal arts college.

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