Exploring Transfer At Vassar College

Exploring Transfer, Summer 2018: June 18th-July 28th (tentatively)

To apply for the summer 2018 program, we ask that you complete an online application (available here on Monday, January 29th, 2018). Applications for Exploring Transfer are accepted online only and will be due Friday, March 9th, 2018 this year.

About the Exploring Transfer Program

As Exploring Transfer enters its 32nd year, we pause to re-articulate our mission as a summer intensive learning opportunity for community college students seeking classroom and residential experiences at a four-year liberal arts college. Over the previous three decades, we have sought to provide  students with a rigorous academic environment that engages their hearts and minds in an experience in line with the mission of Vassar College:

The mission of Vassar College is to make accessible “the means of a thorough, well-proportioned and liberal education”* that inspires each individual to lead a purposeful life. The College makes possible an education that promotes analytical, informed, and independent thinking and sound judgment; encourages articulate expression; and nurtures intellectual curiosity, creativity, respectful debate and engaged citizenship. Vassar supports a high standard of engagement in teaching and learning, scholarship and artistic endeavor; a broad and deep curriculum; and a residential campus that fosters a learning community. Founded in 1861 to provide women an education equal to that once available only to men, Vassar is now open to all and strives to pursue diversity, inclusion, and equity as essential components of a rich intellectual and cultural environment in which all members, including those from underrepresented and marginalized groups, are valued and empowered to thrive.  *From the College’s First Annual Catalogue. (http://info.vassar.edu/about/vassar/mission.html)

Vassar College, thus, promises an educational experience characterized by a liberal arts education.  In Exploring Transfer, summer 2018, we will strive to embrace the liberal arts education mission as it aligns with our own Vassar College mission.

Exploring Transfer acknowledges its place as an initiative designed to increase access to a four-year college degree by historically underrepresented students.  In fact, Exploring Transfer is one of the programs at Vassar College positioned to increase and support its own rapidly diversifying student population.  Indeed, Exploring Transfer alumni, all of whom are drawn from populations underrepresented in higher education and all of whom are first generation to college, have gone on to complete bachelor’s degrees at the State and City Universities of New York, as well as Vassar College and other private institutions.

Our goal is to immerse Exploring Transfer students in both intellectually and academically rigorous courses and a residential environment that acknowledge and value diversity, inclusion, difference, equity, and justice.  Students study the broader contexts of economic inequality, racism, sexism, and human rights (for example) to better understand the complex interplay between their social identities and senses of agency as they navigate their worlds.  Emphasis is placed on honing student reading and writing skills (quantitative reasoning is incorporated to the degree possible within the courses offered in a given summer).

The courses offered through Exploring Transfer are known for their innovation and engagement with complex contemporary issues.  The courses are:

  • Interdisciplinary (allowing students to approach questions and study historical debates and contemporary issues through multiple lenses);

  • Team-taught (introducing students to multiple perspectives, various teaching styles and models of collaborative work necessary for collective action in a democracy);

  • Committed to promoting “analytical, informed, and independent thinking and sound judgment; encourag[ing] articulate expression; and nurtur[ing] intellectual curiosity, creativity, respectful debate and engaged citizenship” as promised by the Vassar College mission statement.

  • Themed (Courses often explore a common theme such as “racial justice,”, “home,” or “origins”.  These themes attempt to support student engagement with a current political reality.)

Pedagogically, as a program, we embrace and value academic growth, collaborative learning, project-based learning, small group work, intergroup dialogue (and dialogic, critical pedagogies generally), and constructivist approaches.   In Exploring Transfer, learning does not end at the classroom door.  Students engage with their peers, professors and residential teaching assistants about course material over meals, in residence halls and office hours.

As well, we encourage Exploring Transfer students to view the campus itself as a classroom — to frequent, for example, the art gallery, library, farm, and observatory.  Throughout the program, Exploring Transfer students have access to all that Vassar College has to offer students for their academic growth.  To this end, each accepted student receives a scholarship to the Exploring Transfer program that covers completely their tuition, room, board (meal plan), books, and most supplies.