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Great Lakes Arts, Cultures, and Environments (GLACE)


What is GLACE?

GLACE (Great Lakes Arts, Cultures, and Environments) is a place-based interdisciplinary humanities program held in northern Michigan during the Summer half-term consisting of interconnected, three-credit courses taught by UM faculty and other instructors.

The program takes place at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS), a research campus situated on Douglas Lake, amid 10,000 undeveloped acres in Pellston, Michigan. A small cohort of students works closely with faculty, exploring such concepts as place, natural history, and cultural identity through an engagement not only with literary and other texts but also, in hands-on ways, with the local landscape and its inhabitants, ecologies, and histories.

In addition to formal academic work, the GLACE program experience includes creative writing, hiking, swimming, playing, and taking trips to places of natural and cultural interest in and around the tip of the mitten. GLACE students will live and work alongside student and faculty researchers in microbiology, climatology, geology, and ecology. GLACE adds a new humanistic dimension to the cross-disciplinary interactions that have long been strengths of UMBS, fostering a greater understanding of the natural world and our approaches to it.

Educational Philosophy

We live in a portable time. Our lives increasingly revolve around tasks we can do anywhere, interactions we can have at any distance, and information that can reach us in no time through the screen of a smartphone. GLACE is an immersive program inspired by challenges and possibilities that our contemporary moment poses for intellectual life and place-based knowledge—that is, for modes of learning that embed us in a here and now. Our classes focus on the history, arts, culture, and environments of the Great Lakes, while leaving students time and opportunity to explore their surroundings, connect with each other, and dive into the full complexity of their experience. Our classroom environment is one in which a shared curriculum shapes a communal daily rhythm of learning, relaxation, and study.