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Monday, October 3, 2011

Walking the Talk

As a student worker (and sometimes tour guide) in the Prescott College admissions office, I am often asked by students and parents alike, “What is the best thing about Prescott College?” To this question, there isn’t an easy answer. Perhaps there should be, as it is probably one of the most important question a prospective student could ask, but the truth is, there are so many different things that make Prescott College great—and no, I am not just saying that because I am paid to. :)

I could spend a great deal of time answering this seemingly simple question a number of different ways, speaking first about small class sizes, individualized degree plans, course contracts, personal attention, hands-on field experience, or a number of other things that make our school especially great. The truth of the matter is that I have thought of many of my favorite things about the school while writing this blog. In fact, I’ve probably started and re-started writing this blog entry so much that my finger is beginning to naturally gravitate towards the backspace button as I think of more reasons why Prescott College is one of the coolest schools in the nation. After debating in my head over which topic best illustrated the awesome-ness of Prescott College (and I mean awesome in the TRUE sense of the word—not like “oh, this new flavor of lip-smackers lip balm is totally awesome!”), I’ve finally decided on, what I believe, is truly the best thing about Prescott College. In order to illustrate my point, I should probably fill you in on how I came to this conclusion.

The fall term at Prescott College picked up for continuing students on August 30th and for those students who had previously completed their wilderness orientation, this meant it was time for our “Block” classes to begin. A Block class is approximately one month long and requires a lot more time and focus from students than a typical class during the semester because it meets on a day-to-day basis. Often Prescott College students select Block classes that are located off campus because this is usually a time with fewer commitments as students are only enrolled in one class for the month. A number of students do, however, choose to remain on-campus and take classes like the one I am currently enrolled in: Models of Leadership.

Taught by Wayne Regina, a faculty member within the Psychology and Human Development program, Models of Leadership is a class that focuses on effective and non-effective leadership styles by examining the psychology behind leadership and focusing on the types of skills, behaviors, and attitudes behind successful leadership. Our primary focus in the class has been in examining leadership models through the lens of Bowen Theory and differentiation, “a theoretical model derived from natural systems and applied to human functioning…that redefines successful leadership from an informational process to one in which the emotional maturity or differentiation level of the leader is the single most significant variable in the successful functioning of leaders in any system,” (see course catalog for more detail and description). In other words, we have been studying leadership styles and what it means to be an effective leader and collaborator. In the process of developing my own leadership style, I have come to the conclusion that the best thing about Prescott College is the way in which we are inspired to take what we learn and mold it in ways that not only promote content competency, but teach us about who we are.

One of the main reasons I chose Prescott College was due to the fact that the school strives to maintain honesty with its mission statement, working non-stop to “walk the talk” and practice what we preach in regards to sustainability and community development. The school’s commitment to self-directed learning is unmatched in anything I have ever experienced. We promote a sense of unity within our community, bringing together students and staff while also promoting individuality. In this way, our school promoted its student’s emotional intelligence and differentiation, as we are able to take self-responsibility and remain individuals while still active in our communal growth.

I am proud to be part of a school that inspires its students towards greatness. In this way, Prescott College has served as a teacher in itself, shining forth as an example of honesty in education, working hard to follow its mission and encourage students towards individual and communal excellence.

-Sydnie Bonin, 09.2011

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