It is the mission of the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH) to weave together the passion, imagination, and wisdom found in the arts and humanities to promote individual wellbeing and the common good. We believe that the arts and humanities not only give us great joy, but also the knowledge needed to make sound judgments and choices, both personal and societal. RCAH faculty and students work together with community partners to understand complex problems, hear and learn from others, and contribute to the making of a better world.
“To live your learning in RCAH means pursuing the ideas, questions, puzzles, and ethical dilemmas that you encounter in class and out of class, wherever they may lead. It means being open to interpretations other than your own. It means making the pleasure and insight that can be drawn from the arts and humanities part of your life—who you are and who you want to become.”
Attracting and retaining hard-working and talented students is critical to the mission of the RCAH. The costs of higher education—especially tuition and experiential learning opportunities—constitute one of the great barriers to education for many of our students and their families. For them, the availability of scholarships can be the major factor that enables promising students to experience the life-changing opportunity that higher education offers.
RCAH’s cornerstone of engaged learning serves as a guiding force for the college’s faculty, as they break new ground with innovative approaches to imagining what’s possible for students, community partners, and visiting artists. Through published research about the significance of informal learning spaces, the pedagogy of art as social justice, cutting-edge intersections between arts, humanities, and social science, and critical components of civic engagement, RCAH faculty are evaluating and sharing the results of their practices in active teaching and learning. The presence of creativity in action—from photography to poetry, and screen-printing to reader’s theater—defines the RCAH approach to teaching and learning. As is evidenced by RCAH faculty and student experiences, the diversity and range of active learning within the arts and humanities is extraordinary and support for new and existing initiatives makes future development and growth possible.
RCAH study abroad and study away programs are centered on opportunities that provide mutually-valuable experiences for students and partners. With the goal of empowering RCAH’s students and faculty to meet global challenges, funding is needed to find new paths that will allow for greater mutual benefit for the university and study abroad partners. Relationships can be enriched and reciprocity deepened by establishing programs that invest in the partner’s educational institutions and transfer the value—and many applications—of active learning.
The active study and use of world languages is an essential and enriching part of the RCAH student experience. In learning a second language, students are able to gain greater insight into other cultures as well as their own. Language proficiency is a way to understand, listen to, and interact with other cultures, and is a valuable skill for employment. Support for the language program will provide resources to continue expansion and evaluation within the college, and facilitate sharing the innovative model with other institutions.