New College students face individual pathsBy Grace Golden | 11/05/2014 10:12pm
New College was founded in 1971, the program gives undecided students a chance to study subjects that don’t fit squarely into a specific major. Photo courtesy of Natalie Adams
Mark Ortiz, a senior majoring in religious studies with a depth study in political ecology, said New College’s flexibility has been helpful in his academic pursuits.
“New College has allowed me to design my own course of study and has given me support in pursuing my own research projects of interest, which I have found very helpful in developing my own academic voice and preparing myself for graduate study,” he said.
Along with depth studies, New College provides other opportunities for its students, like extensive research opportunities, summer internships and study abroad programs.
“We have several options of study abroad to choose from,” said Rica Trone from the New College office.
New College students can take classes that count towards their depth studies from all over the world. These opportunities prepare students for success in whichever field they desire to have a career.
“I will be beginning a graduate program in geography next year with the hopes of eventually teaching and working closely with environmental movements,” Ortiz said.
New College student Grace Kyle is a sophomore whose depth study is nonprofit management with a focus on local sustainable food systems. Kyle said she would love to work for a nonprofit that works to educate communities through local food initiatives and projects while working to increase economic development and jobs in areas with employment decline.
“New College has allowed me to grow in so many ways as a student and as a person,” Kyle said. “It provides me with a warm and embracing environment where I can be creative with my college education.”
New College allows its students to get ahead by gaining credit through Independent Study. Students must also take at least five New College seminars. The seminars could cover any of these three categories: creativity and culture; environment, sustainability and conservation; or social problems and social change. They are discussion based and often tackle unsolved problems that cross disciplines.
This overlap of disciplines is what makes New College special and attracts many students to The University.
“I wasn’t looking at New College when I decided to attend Alabama, but I am certainly glad that I found the program along the way,” Ortiz said.
The New College will be hosting the academic officers of the Consortium for Innovative Environments for Learning, Thursday at 8 p.m. CIEL is a collaboration of alternative colleges that contribute to the national dialogue on higher education.
The New College and CIEL will have an event Friday at 7 p.m. in the University Club. Attendance is open to all.
“The keynote speaker’s name is Amy Laitinen, and she’s with New American Foundation,” said Trone. “She’ll be speaking Friday at the University Club.”