Moravian, Oxford Begin Partnership for One-of-a-Kind Course
Grigsby Initiates Conversation with Oxford Connection Leading to Hybrid Class
It seems only logical to pair the first American school to educate women with the first university in the English-speaking world. Beginning in August 2014, this pairing will become a reality as Moravian College will offer a 1/2 unit course taught by a University of Oxford professor on the College’s Bethlehem campus.
The course, which will tie into Moravian’s InFocus topic of the year, will be a hybrid between the typical American seminar, offering plenty of in-class, student participation, and the Oxford tutorial, featuring one-on-one research work with the Oxford instructor – or “don.”
“As far as we know, no other school in the country is doing this,” said Carol Traupman-Carr ’86, dean of curriculum and academic programs. In March, the dean distributed a campus-wide email soliciting student applications for the inaugural course offering. Applications are due by Friday, April 11.
While the course’s Oxford instructor has not yet been announced, the class will touch on material relating to next year’s InFocus theme of War and Peace. According to Traupman-Carr, this partnership will continue on a yearly basis and address the College’s other InFocus themes of Health Care, Poverty and Inequality, and Sustainability. Oxford will select a different professor each fall, making a “conscious effort” to find an instructor who can address the pre-determined topic.
“These are global issues that touch many, many disciplines,” explained Traupman-Carr. “We are excited to have Oxford dons on campus, discussing these topics and connecting with our students in a meaningful way.
“Plus, students from all academic backgrounds can take these courses, and that’s an ideal situation,” she added. “We don’t want to fill a room with all students who are from the same class year with the same educational background. We want this to be a conversation that includes people from many academic backgrounds. We want this to be interdisciplinary.”
As the two institutions finalize the course’s details, one fact has been determined: it will be an intense learning experience. To accommodate Oxford’s academic calendar, the course at Moravian will run on an abbreviated schedule and be completed by the end of September. A final paper will be due before Thanksgiving.
Students who are selected will arrive on campus a few days prior to the start of the fall term. The early start will ensure Moravian meets its credit hour mandate. Because of the course’s hybrid nature, however, students who are on campus for athletics, RA or SA training will still be able to participate. Once the semester begins, class meetings will be held on Monday evenings.
When President Grigsby returned to Moravian, he wanted to find a way to reconnect with Oxford, in a way that would be meaningful to our students now and build on relationships with people he knows there.”
– Carol Traupman-Carr ’86
According to Traupman-Carr, President Bryon Grigsby ’90, who spent a year at Oxford as part of his graduate studies, brought forward the idea for the Moravian-Oxford partnership. In the years since, Grigsby has remained in contact with Ken Addison, academic director for summer programs at St. Peter’s College, Oxford University.
“This really came about because of the relationship President Grigsby has with Dr. Addison,” Traupman-Carr said. “Bryon really feels his time at Oxford was a life-changing experience. When he returned to Moravian, he wanted to find a way to reconnect with Oxford, in a way that would be meaningful to our students now and build on relationships with people he knows there.”
At President Grigsby’s request, Addison visited Bethlehem in late October and was introduced to several Moravian faculty and staff members, including Gordon Weil, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, and Traupman-Carr. According to Traupman-Carr, Oxford hosts a cooperative summer program with several institutions, with students visiting and studying on Oxford’s grounds. One such institution is Moravian’s sister school, Salem College, located in Winston-Salem, N.C.
“During our conversations, we explored a type of partnership like that, but we thought it would also be a great opportunity to bring Oxford here,” Traupman-Carr said. “This is a chance to bring Oxford to our campus, and let our students work with the Oxford professors here.”
Interested juniors and seniors are asked to complete an application and return it to the Academic Affairs Office by Friday, April 11. Interested sophomores may apply with a note of support from their advisor. The course is limited to 15 students, and the selection process is expected to be competitive. It should be noted that since this is a half-unit course, students can add this class to their other four fall courses without any additional tuition charges.
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