campus partner(s)

Barnard College






Fresh Thinking

award date


project director

Stephanie Pfirman

Barnard College

Grant Summary

$75,951 over 12 months. The project at Barnard College will address two pressing and persistent challenges - developing effective interdisciplinary course content and instituting successful learning strategies for such curricula. In collaboration with a number of varied institutions in the Hudson River Valley, Barnard will lead an inter-institutional faculty seminar on "River Summer." This place-based five-week summer course will take students and faculty on a voyage of inquiry and discovery from the headwaters of the Hudson to the sea. The seminar will review and incorporate proven student-centered learning strategies based upon current research in cognitive learning science. At the same time, faculty will consider ways to realize the interdisciplinary potential of this extraordinary natural environment. In addition to several day-long seminars prior to "River Summer," the working group will also meet twice to review lessons learned and begin the assessment.

In addition to developing this specific, creative interdisciplinary curriculum that integrates effective pedagogy, the working group will have tested a collaborative model that can be adapted by others committed to the power of contextual learning. Barnard will disseminate key concepts and approaches so that faculty at other types of institutions can make positive contributions to the advancement of core values associated with liberal education.