Goucher has perfected the limited-residency model of graduate distance education. We've been doing it for years with our highly acclaimed and competitive Historic Preservation, Creative Nonfiction, and Arts Administration programs.
Our distance education format allows us to attract the absolute best faculty and students from around the country and the world, and to build small classes of rich diversity and ideas. The technology and teaching approach behind our distance-learning programs is top-notch, and the experience is as stimulating and interactive as a classroom setting-if not more so, due to our faculty's increased accessibility through technology. These qualities-diversity, excellence, and interaction-are key values of a globally-focused program like Cultural Sustainability. Each semester is composed of both a Residency Session and a Distance Learning Session.
The limited-residency portion of our program enriches the educational experience by bringing all students and faculty to our beautiful campus just outside Baltimore, MD, for at least two one-week residencies offered in January and August. During their first residency new students meet one-on-one with the academic director to create an individualized course of study which will guide them through the program. The residencies are intense, and our students often remark that they feel transformed in unexpected and wonderful ways after being immersed with their fellow scholars: learning, discussing, and exploring, face-to-face and side-by-side. Students engage in seminars, site visits, and friendly gatherings in a retreat-like setting. Yet, our field experiences might take us to the urban streets of Baltimore or the rural wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay's Eastern Shore. The residencies are one important way that we build a life-long network of alumnae/i committed to the importance of sustaining culture and communities.
Off-Campus (Distance Learning)
While the limited residency portion of the program allows students to engage in-person with their faculty and classmates, it is the distance learning portion of the program that allows students to return to their homes and continue their education, identifying ways they might apply what they learn in their own community settings. Online courses are completed during either 7 or 14 weeks of the fall or spring semesters. Students are expected to spend approximately 10 to 12 hours per week on each course. Faculty maintain very close contact with students throughout the online semester. Depending on the course, this may involve, synchronous online discussions, asynchronous conversation, visiting online lecturers, blogs, wikis, and student group projects and presentations. The formation of an online student/faculty community is key to our program. Faculty facilitate opportunities for students to learn and share their knowledge and experiences within this community. Our format produces a rich environment of discovery where all can learn not only from our eminent faculty but also from each other.