MSU Parents Attend Residential College in Arts & Humanities

Stephen L. Esquith is the dean of the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, one of MSU’s living-learning degree programs, designed for students who want to combine a small-college experience with the resources and opportunities available at a major university.  "From the very beginning, that is, fall 2007, the parents of our students in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities have told us over and over again:  "I wish this was here when I was an undergraduate; I know I would have majored in it." So, in fall 2011 I decided it was time to give these enthusiastic parents a chance to see for themselves just what it's like to be in the RCAH. To tell you the truth, I felt the same way they did. I too wish that something like it had been available when I was an undergraduate. It just didn't make sense to me that academic programs didn't speak to each other. In fact, more often than not they've seemed territorial to a fault. Even though I've been integrally involved in building RCAH from the ground up and I teach regularly in the college, I was looking forward to participating in the RCAH on more of an equal footing with the others around the circle. Rooms and meal plans in Snyder-Phillips were arranged for August 1 to 3, 2012, and the first class of 12 'students' arrived at Parents College sharply at 8 a.m. Friday morning. PRESS RELEASE: MSUTODAY

To tell you the truth, I felt the same way they did. I too wish that something like it had been available when I was an undergraduate...one who had four majors, one at a time, and liked them all. It just didn't make sense to me that academic programs didn't speak to each other. In fact, more often than not they've seemed territorial to a fault. Even though I've been integrally involved in building RCAH from the ground up and I teach regularly in the college, I was looking forward to participating in the RCAH on more of an equal footing with the others around the circle. - See more at: http://msutoday.msu.edu/360/2013/stephen-l-esquith-parents-college-at-rcah/#sthash.lYXnyMdv.dpPRESS RELEASE: MSUTODAY
  • It was a non-stop, multi-disciplinary immersion until 10 p.m. Sunday night. From Biblical stories to magical realism, they did what RCAH students love to do; they made these ideas their own, connecting their personal experiences with sacrifice, whether it was for family, friends or country. Working under the guidance of our artist-in-residence Chris Worland, they cut, pasted and knitted their own visual images out of cotton fabrics and photographs into a large wall hanging representing their own ideas about sacrifice. Photo: MSUTODAY

  • Reflecting on how they had moved from uncertainty, step by step, through their own memories, imaginations and art, that they discovered exactly what it was that excites their sons and daughters so much about the RCAH. No longer were they saying, "I wish this had been here." Virtually to the person, they were saying, "Now I know why you were so nervous about your classes and then couldn't stop talking about them." The students were delighted to hear this, of course. Photo: MSUTODAY

  • Parents College in summer 2013 was much the same. Ten participants came together for a three-day immersion program, this year on the equally daunting topic of forgiveness. The readings pushed the discussion to the limit. Once again, our parents and friends (including three who had participated in 2012), did their homework and wrestled with a subject that can easily leave us questioning some of our most basic assumptions about how we should respond to extreme violence. Photo: MSUTODAY

  • More than anything else, Parents College is proving to be a space in which active listening is valued above all; something that is too often in short supply in the public arena these days. Photo: MSUTODAY