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Welcome from the Directors

The Michigan Community Scholars Program believes in students. We trust our students’ good will and optimism. We value our students’ opinions. We depend upon our students’ leadership and energy. We marvel at our students’ talents and ideas. We take seriously our students’ intellectual curiosity and critical analysis. And we admire our students’ commitment to working in communities and helping to build a more just society.

College is a time of personal growth, exploration and independence. But growth, exploration and independence require a supportive community to give us both the safety and the challenge to move forward productively and successfully. It takes people who care about us to both help us remember the values and ideals we grew up with and to broaden our vision to see new perspectives and ideals. The Michigan Community Scholars Program, through its courses, programs, and staff, strives to be the kind of community in which you will have the opportunity to assert your independence and search for meaning and purpose in your personal life, social relations, and professional pursuits.

Community, however, is about more than just personal growth. Community also is about groups of people and relationships. What are the responsibilities of one person to the next – as friend, roommate, neighbor, study partner, classmate? Expanding one’s comfort zone and learning to live and befriend people who come from different backgrounds is an important part of community. And while celebrations may bring communities together, learning how to manage conflict and disagreement in a fair manner may have even more long lasting implications. Students in the Michigan Community Scholars Program tell us that it is the close bonds built among diverse groups of students that have been the most meaningful aspect of their college experience.

Community also is about issues of social justice. What is our responsibility as individuals, as groups, as citizens to address issues of inequality and intolerance? What should we know and how should we act when we enter someone else’s community to do service? To what extent should our community service work be beneficial to the community we are serving, to our own learning and understanding, and/or to the personal satisfaction that comes from helping? Do we do the most good by serving food to the homeless, by lobbying city hall for new policies, or by being a productive member of a strong economy? These are questions and issues that students in the Michigan Community Scholars Program think and study about with leading faculty in small, discussion-based seminar classes.

And then there is the question of grades, the decision of choosing a major, and thinking about a career. The Michigan Community Scholars Program first helps students make the transition from high school learning to college level learning. It helps students adjust to the new environment, the new independence, and the new academic demands. It also helps by setting a tone of collaboration among students, whereby our expectation is that every student will succeed and excel in their studies at Michigan. We offer outstanding faculty, mastery study groups, academic advising, and various workshops. We are there to help students think about their lives today and their lives tomorrow.

Finally, this is a fun program. With students organizing and leading activities, heading off to do community service projects, playing sports together, debating critical theories with world class research faculty, staying up late to study with a neighbor, taking a seminar with a friend, eating pizza in the hallway after midnight, going to the theatre as a group, eating dinner with a faculty member -- it’s what an undergraduate, scholarly community is supposed to be. We welcome you to MCSP and wish you a personally and intellectually fulfilling semester!

David Schoem                Wendy A. Woods
Director                           Associate Director