Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I need to take the GRE or other graduate-level entrance exam for admission to the program?
A: No. We do not require GRE scores, though if you would like to submit them with your application, you may. Our admissions are based on past academic history, your essay, and your overall goals.
Q: What are the two, one-week residencies like, and when do they occur?
A: Our residencies are periods of intense engagement. Activities vary from classroom seminars, guest lectures, and hands-on training workshops to site visits and fieldwork in the region. You will meet new students in the program, reunite with your friends and colleagues, and catch up and share your work face to face with faculty and peers.
You will live on campus, and have full access to Goucher’s campus, including excellent food-service, library, and athletic facilities. Days will be structured to allow you to stay in touch with your workplace, families, and friends. Residencies are scheduled in January and August. For example, this year faculty and students arrived on campus on January 8 and began their experience with an introduction to the program and a special dinner. Classes, lectures, get-togethers and field trips continued through January 15. This year, two field trips to Maryland’s rural Eastern Shore and to the heart of Philadelphia were included in our plans. The second residency dates for August 2010 will be posted soon.
Q: I have never heard of an online, limited-residency program. Is it like an online degree program from other universities?
A: It is similar in some ways and far different in others. Much of your coursework will be done in an immersive, online environment. This allows us to draw a very diverse student and faculty population and allows our students more flexibility to fit the program around their daily lives. Students will be able to research, partner with, and develop resources for the communities that intrigue and matter most to them, while being connected to a supportive, insightful, and resourceful group of peers and mentors. One of the distinctive features of our program is our approach to the limited-residency experience. Living and learning together, our students form lifetime connections that enrich their online learning and networking opportunities for the future. The residencies are spent not only in classrooms and lecture halls but also in urban and rural communities—testing our theories and learning from them directly. This deep engagement with each other and with the communities we visit is invaluable.
Q: What is cultural sustainability?
A: Cultural sustainability is a new discipline focused on actively identifying, protecting, and enhancing cultural traditions through activism, fieldwork, academic scholarship, and grassroots communications. It uses the tools of cultural and applied anthropology, folklore, ethnomusicology, history, communications, cultural tourism, and other traditionally separate disciplines to ask members of communities, “What is it that matters most to your community?” and then act on their response. The cultures, traditions, and communities we try to sustain could be any we actively and passionately care about: a neighborhood, an occupation, an art form, a skill, a village, a city, an ethnic group, a religious or spiritual group, a tribe, or any other community with shared traditions and values.
Q: How does cultural sustainability fit in with other kinds of sustainability issues—economic, environmental, and societal?
A: Cultural sustainability encompasses all of these pillars of sustainability, and works to raise awareness, to preserve, and to bring necessary change—in many of the same ways. However, each of these areas, when considered alone, misses the important component of people and their relationship to each other and the world around them. We can only effect real global change for the environment, our economic well-being, and the good of society if we understand and build on the strong cultural foundations we already have. Neighborhoods resisting overdevelopment and gentrification, villages facing environmental degradation, ethnic groups confronted with the loss of their traditions or language—none of these groups will be able to come together in common cause to protect what is valuable to them and the world without a new pillar of sustainability that is not so narrowly focused.
Q: What will I be able to do with my degree?
A: Our degree program, while academically rigorous, is intended for those who wish to go into the world and make real, practical change. Anyone who is interested in careers in activism, community organizing, cultural tourism, intangible cultural heritage management, grassroots activism, policymaking or advocacy, nonprofit administration or communications, writing or storytelling, folklore, service work, teaching, social justice, or other issues affecting the world today can benefit from this degree.
Those currently working in nonprofits, who seek to make a change upward or outward in their careers, will benefit from the tools we offer and from the certification of the master’s degree. Those just out of college, looking for the next big step in their lives, will benefit from entering the job market with a master’s degree in an area that is quickly becoming recognized as essential to the sustainability movement. Our graduates will be future directors of nonprofits, community and labor organizers, communicators and activists, teachers and change agents of all kinds.
Q: Where is Goucher, and what is the campus like?
A: Goucher is an independent, selective, coeducational liberal arts college located on 287 beautiful acres just north of the city of Baltimore. Goucher enrolls more than 1,400 undergraduate and 900 graduate students. It was founded in 1885 and is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Goucher offers a wide variety of undergraduate majors, and all undergraduates are required to participate in at least one international study program, testing and enhancing classroom learning through real, firsthand experience in the world.
Graduate programs based on Goucher’s undergraduate strengths and institutional mission include the same close interaction with faculty that is a cornerstone of a Goucher education. Goucher’s strong belief in the importance of staying connected to the world outside campus through community action, intercultural awareness, and international exploration is in clear evidence throughout the curriculum of our Master of Arts in Cultural Sustainability program.
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