"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
-Hunter S. Thompson

In the past century, there have been a handful of small colleges that have taken the leap and entertained the dream of developing an inspiring, sustainable, and unadulterated creative environment for young adults. Such an idea is not new --upon first glance-- to those with an awareness of liberal arts education in the U.S. The purpose of this wiki is to provide a few examples of schools that collectively demonstrate institutional attributes that support individuals in their quest to find their place within the Self, school, and society. As more colleges, institutes, fellowships, and schools surface, the more transparent the success and shortcomings of these enclaves will become. A historical perspective on the sustainability and influence of these enclaves provide emergent properties for the next generation of professional weirdo's.

Education reform

Western Tradition

Much of our modern, conventional education is based upon the Socratic method of education. The dialectic honed by Socrates during
Socrates with student
interactions with his students provided a protocol in which education could flourish. Opposing viewpoints provided students (and teachers) an opportunity to refine their perspectives, but also to test them against each other and within themselves (i.e., similar to Jean Piaget's concept of disequilibrium).
Cognitive psychology and its affiliate theories informs much of our educational and learning strategies. Information processing is the backbone of our computing technologies, and incidentally, our contemporary thinking. The means by which we express ourselves and communicate with each other parallels that of our evolving social environment. The internet allows us to connect with people across the globe, and our education is rapidly assimilating this approach.

Eastern Models

Historical model of the Nalanda school, was later adopted by Tibetan Buddhist scholars. The premise of one of the first great universities in history was that rigor was shared between scholarly investigations of sciences and philosophical branches of learning. Students were many, and the curriculum was vast. Learning occurred through empirical investigation, in addition to the introspective wisdom of meditation.

Arabic Influence Upon the Renaissance

The Great Translation (transmission of Arabic translations of Greek classics back to Europe) spread

Alchemy, Algebra, Astronomy, and its Roman exchange

throughout what were once Alexandrian empire, and subsequently Roman. With the rise of Islam, Mohamed established a decree that the knowledge of the Arabic and European civilizations be shared through a wholesale translation of classical literature. The resulting exchange of knowledge arguably lead to what is known to be the Renaissance.
Arabic Scholar
Influential text
Arabic concept
Domain of influence
Jābir ibn Hayyān
Hisab al-jabr w’al-muqabala, Kitab al-Jabr wa-l-Muqabala
Folding and Balancing
Ibn Al-Haytham
Book of Optics
Linear Perspective
Jābir ibn Hayyān
Kitab al-Kimya

Liberal arts education

What were John Dewey's intentions behind liberal arts education?

School is a classroom for life. acquisition of information should aim towards individual development and the greater good of society.
Andrew Carnegie investments in libraries and universities
University is a place to study the universe

Domain-general education

How does education look when teaching thematic and pattern recognition (Root-Bernstein & Root-Bernstein)

Interdisciplinary education and organization provides learning that behooves students more than the rhetoric of rote memorization.
Professional development of faculty to teach “fractal” lessons, in which each topic has a concentric equivalent within its context.
  • Specific skill sets
  • Metaphorical relationship of patterns across domains

Contemporary education “movements”

Private and parochial models of holistic education

Jesuit universities (University of Denver, University of San Francisco, Gonzaga University, etc.)
  • Supports collaborative work of the students to achieve academic excellence.
  • Mission initiatives further support and embrace social involvement by students.
Naropa University emblem

Naropa University
  • Contemplative education and its relevance, influence, and differences amid current United States Higher Education
  • Non-sectarian
Reed College
  • Evaluation of student progress has an implicit motive for the student to learn rather than acquire certain grading criteria
  • This undergraduate-only college produces an astounding rate of subsequent Ph.D. candidates.
  • The "Honor Principle" provides the students with a self-governing model of behavioral ethics.

Communal Arts Colleges

Integration of all arts for the student to become well-rounded
Buckminster Fuller at BMC
Black Mountain College
Institutional pedagogy:
  • Hands-on learning
Student acceptance and entrance guidelines:
  • Initially a student body comprised of Rollins University students. The founder and pedagogical developer for Black Mountain College (BMC) was John Edward Rice, a professor who was ousted from Rollins due to misbehavior.
  • Diverse studies including art, mathematics, architecture, poetry, drama, etc.
  • Famous students included: Ray Johnson, Harrison Begay, Robert De Niro, Sr., etc.

Recruitment of outstanding faculty:
Eminent individuals on the board of directors:
  • (e.g., Albert Einstein, William Carlos Williams)
  • Board members cycled through every 3 years, thus assuring that the board would not acquire a hierarchical model, which was thought to potentially threaten the mission of the college.
The theater at Taliesin East
Frank Lloyd Wright left a prodigious position in a Chicago-based architectural firm in order to establish his own firm. The property that would become Taliesin East was farmland from the very valley in which her grew up in. A valley outside of Spring Green, Wisconsin was inhabited by many of his family members, who were significant participants in the Unitarian community.
Wright transferred the communal importance of his Welsh ethnicity, combined with his Unitarian influence, into a pedagogical model in which his Taliesin Fellowship would adhere to.



Review- Black Mountain College: Experiment in Art

Legend of Black Mountain
Fully Awake: Black Mountain College

Duberman, M. (1972). //Black Mountain: An exploration in community.// New York: W. W. Norton.
Rumaker, M. (2003). //Black Mountain Days.// Asheville, NC: Black Mountain Press.
Reynolds, K. C. (1998). //Visions and Vanities: John Andrew Rice.// Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press.
Horowitz, F. A., & Danilowitz, B. (2006). //Josef Albers: To Open Eyes.// London: Phaidon Press Limited.