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Transformative Experiences: Positive and Negative

It is certainly reasonable for education to foster transformative experiences. I am skeptical of any educational program, whether preschool or adult classes, which denies that it seeks to bring about such experiences. To be sure, transformation cannot be guaranteed. Moreover, there can be false positives—one thinks that the trip to Europe with one’s friends was […]

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Travel as Transformational

In our large national study of higher education, we ask students—and others connected with colleges and universities—whether college can or should be a “transformational experience.” Recently, we have asked informants whether they themselves can name a transformational educational experience of their own, either within or beyond traditional schooling. Often, when asked about transformational experiences, informants […]

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Project Zero: Celebrating 50 Years

Founded in 1967 as an investigation of arts education, Project Zero turned 50 years old in 2017 and now encompasses research in topics ranging from understanding and creativity to interdisciplinary learning and ethics. On October 13, 2017, PZ held a public forum at the Harvard Graduate School of Education to celebrate this milestone, reminiscing on […]

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On Liberal Education: Views from Abroad

In the United States, when we contemplate the phrases “liberal education,” “liberal arts education,” or “education in the liberal arts and sciences,” we face two essentially opposed perspectives. On the one hand, the years beyond high school have long been seen as a period when young people can leave home, spend several years in a […]

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The Price of Passion… And Its Rewards

Visiting a campus that is not very selective (I’ll call it “Downtown University”) as part of our study of higher education, I spoke to a middle aged painter (I’ll call him “Henry”) who teaches drawing and painting to undergraduates. A handful of his students hope to be able to make a living as artists of […]

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