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Bard College Catalogue 2021-22
Building on the Bard Prison Initiative’s values and success, Bard Microcolleges bring high-quality, full-time, tuition-free liberal arts education to communities most often excluded from the university experience. Each microcollege is created in partnership with a community-based institution. Their strength is the result of alliances between organizations that are conventionally separate from one another but have overlapping missions, common purpose, and shared core values.
Partners provide local know-how and credibility, classroom and study space, and a community from which to draw a student body. They bring their own unique sets of expertise and resources, and are deeply invested in the long-term learning and development of every member of their communities. Together, those qualities provide a context in which students can focus and thrive in college. Bard provides an associate in arts degree program with small seminar courses taught in person by experienced professors, academic advising, and tutoring support. Continuing education and career development are a priority from the outset.
The pilot Bard Microcollege launched in Holyoke, Massachusetts, in August 2016, in partnership with the Care Center, an innovative community-based educational organization with a history of success in supporting young women who have left high school and are either pregnant or parenting. Graduates of Bard Microcollege Holyoke have continued on to bachelor’s degree programs at a variety of local colleges and universities.
Bard at Brooklyn Public Library, the first New York City microcollege, opened in January 2018. Students are enrolled in courses across the liberal arts while taking advantage of the library’s considerable collections, events, and expertise. The first cohort graduated in 2020.
The Bard Microcollege for Just Community Leadership, based at Harlem’s Countee Cullen branch of the New York Public Library, welcomed its first cohort of students in August 2021. The new microcollege, a partnership between BPI, JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), and College and Community Fellowship (CCF), is the nation’s first tuition-free college dedicated to advocacy, arts, and sciences. The program deploys the expertise and resources of each partner to cultivate the talent and leadership of students who have been directly impacted by the justice system as well as others who aspire to careers in advocacy, community building, or social justice. Students are enrolled full-time in intimate, seminar-styled classes that engage the full breadth of the liberal arts as well as coursework tied to critical race theory, history of social movements, theories of social change, and direct advocacy training.