Bennington College expands offerings to learners around the world

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Bennington College expands offerings to learners around the world

Tue, 08/04/2020 - 7:30am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Bennington College announces the launch of Bennington+, a suite of new offerings that will allow learners at every stage—from high school students to working adults to retired professionals—access to Bennington courses. Initial offerings includes Bennington Unbound, new creative and critical writing courses offered by renowned faculty members of the Bennington Writing Seminars; courses on urgent social and environmental issues offered by faculty at the Center for the Advancement of Public Action (CAPA); and greater access to a range of courses across the broader Bennington undergraduate curriculum. 

All of these programs are defined by Bennington's distinct student-directed, interdisciplinary, and experiential approach to learning. The courses are available for new students to take remotely and are open to learners anywhere in the world. Students may opt to earn college credit. Through Vermont’s dual enrollment program, eligible Vermont high school juniors and seniors may be able to receive a voucher to cover the cost.

“Over the past several years, Bennington College has been working to expand the definition of who we serve, beyond the traditional college-aged, full-time student. The College’s necessary transition to a hybrid model last spring accelerated our thinking and planning. We see this as an important step towards a more accessible future, empowering us to open our courses to more people in more places, while simultaneously bringing a greater diversity of voices and perspectives into our classrooms,” said Noah Coburn, Associate Dean for Curriculum and Pedagogy. “Whether learners are taking a gap year, supplementing their homeschool curriculum, expanding their professional resume, or pursuing a passion—these programs and Bennington’s unique, student-centered approach, allows students and professionals to build toward more fulfilling and constructive work.” 

“For twenty-five years, the low residency Bennington Writing Seminars has been the leader in distance education, and we are thrilled to now offer the best online writing instruction to a much wider audience,” said Mark Wunderlich, director of the Bennington Writing Seminars. “Bennington Unbound lets students in any part of the country and around the world become part of the long tradition of writing at Bennington College.”  

“We are excited to offer a suite of new online courses from the Center for the Advancement of Public Action to the wider public -- local, national and international,” said Susan Sgorbati, director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Action. “More than ever, when we can connect online we have the opportunity to build our networks, and to work together to build the skills, community, and collaboration needed to confront the urgent problems of our time. I am thrilled to use this new platform to help us expand the ways we work to create innovative solutions to these challenges in the Bennington tradition.”

Bennington+ includes three categories of offerings:

  • Bennington Unbound -- a series of four-week, intensive writing courses in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, creative criticism, and literary studies. All students will write both creatively and critically.

Geared toward college-age and college-ready students (i.e., high school juniors and seniors) who may be considering an academic gap year, who are looking to supplement their current coursework, and students interested in Bennington’s progressive teaching and learning models.

Modeled after the Bennington Writing Seminars, the notable low-residency MFA program, which recently celebrated its 25th year, these courses will be taught by Bennington’s award-winning graduate and undergraduate writing and literature faculty, all of whom are widely published writers. 

Courses begin August 15, September 15, October 15, and November 15 and will include:

  • Resisting the Intelligence Almost Successfully: Introduction to Reading and Writing Poetry (taught by Craig Morgan Teicher)

  • Breaking Open: Finding an Authentic Voice in Essays (taught by Chelsea Hodson)

  • Funny, Ha-Ha: Humor in Short Fiction (taught by Manuel Gonzales)

  • Recursive Fictions: Variations on a Theme (taught by Derek Palacio)

Courses begin September 15 and offerings include:

  • Black Lives in Context: Brazil (taught by Kenneth Bailey and Tiago Gualberto);

  • Collaborative Worldbuilding (taught by Lauren Ruffin): 

  • Social Justice & Entrepreneurship; A Community Health Approach to Social Emergencies, American Racism, and Firearm Injury Prevention (taught by Dr. Christopher Barsotti); 

  • Mass Incarceration, an American Invention; Crossroads: Race, Gender and Justice in Higher Education (taught by Vivian Nixon); 

  • Governing in the Time of COVID 19 (taught by Vermont state Senator Brian Campion); 

  • The Regeneration Generation: Rebuilding the Natural Abundance of Earth (taught by Jesse McDougall); 

  • A World Made New: Exploring the nexus between climate change and food (taught by Edward Cameron); 

  • SAVE US: Strategic Alternatives to Violent Encounters (Taught by CAPA director Susan Sgorbati);

  • Life Systems: Tools to help you with quality of life, longevity, and social wellbeing (taught by David Thomson); 

  • The Sustainability of the Artist: A toolkit for developing a practice of support for your art practice (taught by David Thomson); 

  • Beyond Plastic Pollution (taught by Judith Enck); 

  • Regenerative Finance: New models for finance and investment (taught by Michael Phillip); and

  • Regenerative Food Systems: Building Infrastructure (taught by Kyle Phillip). 

Bennington+ -- which gives remote access to Bennington College’s core undergraduate curricular offerings to people of any age and in any location. These offerings are taught by faculty across disciplines who are renowned in their fields.

Class offerings include but are not limited to: 

Additional courses may be added, and an additional slate will be announced for the spring term. People can sign up to learn more or to ask any questions. Please see Bennington+ website for more details on each offering. 

Bennington College is a liberal arts college in southwestern Vermont that has distinguished itself as a vanguard institution within American higher education. It was the first to include the visual and performing arts in a liberal arts education. It is the only college to require that its students spend a term—every year—at work in the world. Bennington students work intensively with faculty to forge individual educational paths around their driving questions and interests.

Rooted in an abiding faith in the talent, imagination, and responsibility of the individual, Bennington invites students to pursue and shape their own intellectual inquiries, and in doing so to discover the profound interconnection of things. Learn more at

About the Center for the Advancement of Public Action 

Founded in 2011, the Center for the Advancement of Public Action (CAPA) at Bennington College is furthering the educational philosophy and pedagogy of the College by connecting classroom learning to hands-on engagements with a wide range of current issues like international conflict and leadership, art in the public realm, incarceration in America, and, increasingly, our region’s food, energy, and water systems. CAPA teaches the essential capacities needed to develop an educated and emboldened citizenry. Drawing together the deep artistic and analytic resources of Bennington College and collaborating with existing public and private organizations, CAPA leverages the classroom as a new kind of laboratory for creative problem solving and innovation.

About the Bennington Writing Seminars

Steeped in the Bennington College’s literary legacy, Bennington Writing Seminars is consistently named one of the top low-residency Masters of Fine Arts in Writing programs. Founded in 1994, the Seminars was one of the first low-residency graduate writing programs in the country. During this two-year, low-residency program, students commit as much to reading as to writing and conceive reading lists that strengthen and broaden their knowledge. Students perform critical literary analysis and craft bold new works of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry inspired by their discoveries. They finish with a polished thesis and a parting lecture. All this with the expert guidance of authors who, throughout individualized instruction, become familiar with and develop a stake in students’ work.

Source: 7.31.2020 --- BENNINGTON COLLEGE