Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Belated Month in Review: January 2011

Still trying, and generally failing, to catch up. Sheesh. When did Shimer become so active online?

Adrian Nelson, participating in the Oxford study abroad program, recounted her visit to Poland over Christmas break:
While some of it was devoted to recovery time from the previous semester, as well as working on - le gasp - a thesis and other break projects, I finally got a chance to see some of the continent. I might not have, but a family invitation to spend Christmas in Poland gave me the perfect opportunity.

Alexandra Rosenberg, meanwhile, posted her memories of Montaigne scholarship competitions past:
I didn't win the Montaigne, but I earned something invaluable during the competition: the decision to go to Shimer. It is one of the best ideas I've ever had and cannot imagine being happy without receiving the education I am today.
Sara Hall, back from Oxford, reflected on how to cure the dreariness of winter:
Little things like lime green pants to help cure the winter dreariness of Chicago, and bring a smile to a stranger's face, if even for a moment. These are just as important as getting that Kierkegaard reading done and successfully contributing an interesting idea to the class discussion.
And reflecting further on the Shimer-in-Oxford experience, Sara agreed with fellow student Jesus Aviña that "it was kinda like boot camp":

It was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything. As I told my family, I went to Hogwarts, and I came back a wizard. A very happy, much more confident, and much less anxious wizard, ready to face the future and see what adventures it holds.
Shimerian-in-Haiti Steven Werlin reported on Jackson at School and invited us Meet Eileen, and described the End Game:
As we look to further expansion in the coming year, we'll need to apply what our experience has taught us. We need to get more disciplined, more focused during the selection and enrollment process. We can't let our need to hurry push us to cut corners, miss steps, or spread ourselves too thin. Haitians say "two prese p ap fè jou a ouvri." That means that too much hurrying doesn't make the sun rise. It's wisdom worth bearing in mind.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Shimerians Always Stir it Up

Found on Tumblr from a current Shimer student.

I recall when I was a student that T-shirts were certainly "choice".


Oh look at Shimer, causing a ruckus."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Big Thanks to Amy Pritts

A few weeks ago, Amy Pritts stepped down from her position as Director of Admissions at Shimer College. She has been replaced on an interim basis by Cassie Sherman.

Despite being placed in an incredibly difficult position by last year's difficulties, Amy did an absolutely awesome job for Shimer. Had Shimer's enrollment faltered during the recent crisis, no one could have blamed Amy. Had Amy herself decided it was simply not worth her time to run the Admissions department in the midst of raging internal strife and numerous unkind accusations against her, no one could have blamed her for stepping aside.

But she held the course, and despite the enormously trying circumstances that surrounded her, enrollment has not merely held steady but risen, currently standing at an eye-popping (by Shimer standards) 128 students. Amy also did important work behind the scenes to make sure Shimer has the tools to handle a changing and increasingly difficult college admissions landscape.

Amy's tenure has been a success by any measure. This blogger joins the rest of the Shimer community in wishing her well in all of her future endeavors.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Upcoming Shimer events

1. This Wednesday, March 9, at 1 PM in the Cinderella Lounge at Shimer, there will be a Fireside on the mission statement of Shimer College. The text under consideration will be the mission statement which was approved by the Assembly last year, but has not yet been taken up by the Board:
Shimer College—the Great Books College of Chicago—provides and preserves education centered on discussion of enduring questions and issues. Historically influential original sources are studied through Socratic questioning, in small seminar classes and following the curriculum developed by Robert Maynard Hutchins. The core values informing education at Shimer are free inquiry, dialog, critical open-mindedness, and integration of disciplines. As a community, the College offers all its members the opportunity to participate meaningfully in deciding the future of the institution. A Shimer education demands much of both the intellect and the character of students, and prepares them for responsible citizenship and the examined life.
(Hopefully the topics discussed will include the distinction between appropriate and inappropriate use of the em dash. )

2. This Thursday, March 10, at 7 PM in the Welcome Room of the McCormick Tribune Campus Center, there will be a talk by Paul D'Amato on "The Meaning of Marxism."

3. Friday, April 1, at 7 PM in the Cinderella Lounge at Shimer, there will be a lecture by 1970 Shimer alum and Fortune 100 executive Michael Berry, on the subject "From Shimer to the Corner Office."

4. Thursday, April 9, at 7 PM at Benton House in the Bridgeport neighborhood, the Shimer-IIT group End Hate will have a Volunteer Benefit Show.

5. Thursday, April 14, at 7:30 PM, and through Sunday April 17th, at a location TBA, the Performance Studies class will be performing The Importance of Being Earnest.

6. The Spring 2011 Commencement will be held May 7. Location and time TBA.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Belated Month in Review: December 2010

OK, I'm a day late (actually 60+ days late) and a dollar short, but here is a roundup of interesting Shimer-related things from the month of December 2010.

Postings on Blog.shimer

December saw two postings from Shimer's study abroad program at Oxford University. Shimer-in-Oxford's worthy guide, Stuart Patterson, reported on the End of Term:
I realize I haven’t said much yet about the range of subjects folks are studying here. So I want to pay tribute to everyone’s hard work this term with just a list of some of the tutorials that they’ve undertaken over the last few months - the list isn’t exhaustive, though it might exhaust you just reading it: “Christian Mysticism,” “Druidism and Paganism,” “History and Practice of Observational Astronomy,” “Early Writing Systems,” “Chinese Literature,” “Feminism,” Proust,” “Philosophy of Mind,” “French Lyric Poetry,” “Psychology of Religion” and “Classical Guitar” to name, literally, a few. Next term promises just as rich a harvest of ideas, with “Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit,” “Government and Politics of the U.S.,” and “History of Consciousness through Material Studies” a few of the courses we have planned.

Shimerian-in-Oxford Adrian Nelson reported on The Fine City of Bath and a Stone Henge:

Dinah Gumns presented the written portion of her writing week project, Moves & Mobiles, reflecting on the impact of the Shimer experience:

The decision to go back to school had more intense consequences than quitting a job or two and racking up more student loans; I was engulfed with creative energy. As this year pushed on, it has only become stronger. I have introverted greatly. I have found that I am in my head 80% of the time. As I bike to work I try to wrap my mind around the previous day's Sociology reading. I laugh at the similarity of drivers throwing temper tantrums to the tantrums of chimpanzees. My people-watching skills are now verging on creepy. I do math problems in my head for fun; this is the most surprising, really. I am astounding myself daily.

Shimer also held a chess tournament.

Fearless first-year Shimer video blogger Dorian Electra posted on "Euclidean Aerobics":

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Montaigne scholarship winners announced

Announced today (PDF):
Shimer College, the Great Books College of Chicago, is pleased to announce the three winners of its Montaigne Scholar’s Competition. Mark Surya, of Morganville, New Jersey, won a full-tuition scholarship; Kelsey Crick, of Louisville, Kentucky, and Edward Vlcek, of Chicago, won half-tuition scholarships. All scholarships are renewable for four years, with a full-tuition prize worth over $100,000.

Congratulations and welcome to all!

Those who aren't familiar with Shimer's annual Montaigne scholarship competition can learn more here:

The Michel de Montaigne Scholarship will be awarded to students new to Shimer on the basis of students' merit in writing and discussion--the kind that Shimer students undertake every day. The scholarship honors Michel de Montaigne, the French Renaissance author and essayist.

This seems like a good time to mention that the Montaigne scholarship is currently unfunded, due to Shimer's lack of endowment or other funds to support scholarships. If that seems less than ideal, there's no better day than today to Support the Great Books!