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New College Plan: Wikis


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The New College Plan resulted in the formation of Hampshire College.

In 1958, the presidents of Amherst College, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (together with Hampshire they are known as the Five Colleges consortium), all located in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, formed the Committee for an Experimental College/Committee for New College to explore the creation of experimental colleges.

The Committee's resulting work, in conjunction with a focused vision of Hampshire College published in 1965 by Franklin Patterson and Charles R. Longsworth in The Making of a College, along with the donation of $6,000,000 by Amherst alumnus Harold Johnson, implemented the New College Plan in the formation of Hampshire College in South Amherst, Massachusetts. The plan was largely based on the idea of providing a liberal arts college education at the minimum cost per student, allowing the school to survive on tuition alone. It also placed emphasis on multidisciplinary learning and close faculty interaction. Other incarnations of the New College Plan include the New College of Florida.

The original 1958 New College Plan offered to:

dethrone the course as the unit of knowledge...[and] dethrones the idea that a college must be an intellectual autarchy: the course offering is to be developed so as to take advantage for collateral purposes of resources available at neighboring institutions.[...]The New College Plan is based on the conviction that the average student entering one of the better colleges is capable of far more independence than he now demonstrates, but that he must be given proper training and proper opportunities.
New College Plan 8-9

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