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Janet Hegman Shier, recently retired RC German Program Head, on how it may feel when you join the RC:
The RC is a living community and a learning community combined in East Quad. With on-site theater facilities, photo labs, music labs, art studios, professors’ and administrative offices, it’s not your average dorm. The Residential College is guided by a philosophy of participatory education - basically, everyone gets involved.
Unique class dynamics and small class sizes: RC classes typically have no more than 15-18 students, and are conducted in a seminar-style format to encourage student participation. Classes normally emphasize written assignments in lieu of examinations, cultivating better and more expressive writers. RC students are encouraged to engage their material head-on, not just learn passively.
Best of Both Worlds – All RC students are LSA students; but NOT all LSA students are RC students. RC students get insider access to the many courses and co-curricular activities of the RC as well as the same access as any LSA student to the wide variety of classes, resources, concentrations, minors and opportunities available in the College of LS&A.
Interdisciplinary Learning – RC students balance their studies and worldviews by blending knowledge across courses—using poetry as a lens for immigration issues, or film as an environment for tactile art, or labor organization technique as an exercise to flesh out economics. The RC curriculum is designed to be flexible and responsive to change, giving students the freedom to challenge themselves and how they are being educated.
Learning in the Real World – Engaging in citizenship as well as scholarship, the RC seeks to put students ‘in the world’ – to confront classroom learning with “real” experiences and to bring these experiences back for analysis and reflection in the classroom. Whether it’s using Spanish skills to tutor schoolchildren in Detroit or working with a clinic in Central America, creating original theater or participating in RC executive committee meetings along with faculty members, students in the RC have abundant opportunities to learn by doing outside the classroom.
What We Teach – RC courses cover an array of topics in the social sciences, humanities, creative writing, visual and performing arts, and foreign language. RC courses are frequently interdisciplinary and promote not only new material, but new ways to learn. The RC offers students five concentrations and five minors, as well as hands-on and experiential courses unique to the RC at U-M. Of course, RC students are welcome also to select any of the dozens of LSA concentrations and minors available to students at U-M. And RC students may also choose to combine RC concentrations or minors with LSA concentrations or minors.
“This college provides a chance to teach things that matter to students who, more often than not, know they matter.”
—Hank Greenspan, recently retired RC Social Theory & Practice faculty member and advisor