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Welcome from the Directors

Welcome to MCSP!

We are so pleased you’ve decided to join us for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

At the Michigan Community Scholars Program, we believe in you, our students. And, in this extraordinary moment--a fall semester unlike any experienced in living memory--we trust more than ever in your good will and optimism, your leadership and energy, your talents and ideas, your intellectual curiosity and critical analysis. We welcome your diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Each and every one of you is needed here.

We are finalizing this course booklet in mid-May, when many communities across the world, across the country, and here in Michigan are reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic--or bracing themselves for the next wave. Right now, none of us knows exactly what the fall semester on the University of Michigan campus will look like: will everyone return to their offices, classrooms, and labs, in something a lot like the recent past? Or will our campus be substantially different--with more online learning, more physical distance between us, and fewer of the community experiences (concerts, lectures, football!) that make life at the University of Michigan rich, diverse, and interesting? We just don’t know.

What we do know, however, is that the fall semester (and the changing world around us) will call forth our compassion, our creativity, our spirit of collaboration, and our commitment to others in unprecedented ways. We also know that, whatever happens on our campus, our MCSP community will continue to be guided by its four pillars: deep learning; engaged community; civic engagement and community service learning; and diverse democracy, intercultural understanding, and dialogue.

In this course booklet, you’ll be introduced to the array of courses taught by world-class Michigan faculty in small seminar-style settings that promote innovative teaching strategies, high student engagement, and personally transformative learning. The courses introduce students to a range of disciplinary perspectives, as well as opportunities to learn outside the traditional classroom. We trust that students will succeed at Michigan, and MCSP faculty, staff, and student leaders provide the support that will help students thrive in their courses.

Both in and beyond the classroom, MCSP students and faculty participate in a scholarly community that values diverse voices and close connections. A wide variety of student-led organizations promote understanding and awareness of identity, power, and privilege in society, and an appreciation for diversity and cross-cultural friendship through community building opportunities. Students in MCSP tell us that the close bonds built among diverse groups of students have been the most meaningful aspect of their college experience.

Through courses and through student-led programming, MCSP supports a wide variety of opportunities for students to interact with people and organizations in local communities--and to reflect upon their experiences. Our programs will equip students to enter communities in just and respectful ways--as well as to balance community service work so it benefits the community they are serving as well as their own learning and growth.

In its community, MCSP strives to create a model for a diverse and dialogic democratic society and asks students to consider their responsibility as individuals, as groups, as citizens to address issues of inequality and intolerance in our society. Learning how to manage conflict and disagreement in a constructive, dialogic, and just manner strengthens communities, equips students to work in diverse environments, and builds our shared capacity for peacemaking and intercultural understanding.

Whether we learn in traditional classrooms or in virtual spaces; whether we serve hungry people at soup kitchen or kids hungry for learning via one-to-one tutoring; whether we experience an intergroup dialogue in a residence hall lounge or with more physical distance--MCSP remains committed to creating connections with each other and with the broader community in creative, compassionate, and collaborative ways, as it always has. 

College is a time of 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 and programs, its faculty, student leaders, staff, and community partners invited you to search for meaning and purpose in your personal life and your academic and professional pursuits while experiencing the individual support and challenge possible only in a small, caring community.

We welcome you to MCSP and wish you a personally, socially, and intellectually fulfilling semester!

 

Christine Modey             Wendy A. Woods
Director                           Associate Director