BusinessEducationEducators preserve, shape future with 'ALT NEW COLLEGE'

Educators preserve, shape future with ‘ALT NEW COLLEGE’

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The so-called conservative “hostile takeover” of a small, progressive liberal arts college in Florida is seeing some resistance from former students and faculty who’ve developed and launched Alt New College. The goal is preserving the traditional values it built as an online institution for academic freedom.

Claiming one-third of faculty have left or been forced out, Alt New College is bringing back some of those instructors to teach online, free from political interference.

“We’re most particularly concerned with subjects that concern the history of Black Americans, the intersection of science and politics, the study of gender which includes women and other identities,” said Mary Ruiz, a New College alum who has served on its board since 2019. “We feel it’s a worthy subject to study since it includes more than half of humanity.”

Ruiz was board chair at New College of Florida when she resigned and is now an organizer of Alt New College. Some free courses, tutorials and lectures are supported by donors.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been touting the success of New College of Florida and is critical of a recent civil rights probe from the U.S. Department of Education into whether the school excluded or discriminated against qualified students with disabilities, kept them out of certain programs or denied them financial aid.

Ruiz said the concept is powerful and has attracted global partners such as Bard College of New York, giving students the chance to earn credit for the online courses.

“The Open Society University Network is making its entire curriculum available online,” she said. “In addition to the offering of Alt New College, Bard is offering credit.”

The concept for the alternative college isn’t new. Ruiz said the grassroots effort was inspired by Smolny Beyond Borders, which transitioned to an online platform in response to an authoritarian incident in Russia, and Black Mountain College, renowned for its innovative approaches in preserving its institutional history.

A listing of the free courses can be found at altnewcollege.org.

Educadores preservan y dan forma al futuro con ‘ALT NEW COLLEGE’

ALT NEW COLLEGE

La llamada “adquisicion hostil” conservadora de una pequena y progresista universidad de artes liberales en Florida esta experimentando cierta resistencia por parte de exalumnos y profesores que han desarrollado y lanzado “ALT NEW COLLEGE”. El objetivo es preservar los valores tradicionales construidos, pero ahora como una institucion en linea para la libertad academica. Mientras un tercio de los profesores se han ido o han sido expulsados, ALT NEW COLLEGE esta trayendo de regreso a algunos de esos instructores para que ensenen en linea, libres de interferencias politicas. Mary Ruiz es una alumna que ha formado parte de la junta escolar desde 2019. Era presidenta de la junta cuando renuncio y ahora es organizadora de ALT NEW COLLEGE.

“Nos preocupan especialmente los temas relacionados con la historia de los afroamericanos, la interseccion de la ciencia y la politica, el estudio de genero que incluye a las mujeres y otras identidades. Creemos que es un tema digno de estudio ya que incluye a mas de la mitad de la humanidad,” insistio tambien Ruiz.

Algunos cursos, tutoriales y conferencias gratuitos cuentan con el apoyo de donantes. El gobernador de Florida, Ron DeSantis, ha estado promocionando el exito de la nueva universidad y critica una reciente investigacion de derechos civiles del Departamento de Educacion de EE. UU. sobre si la escuela excluyo o discrimino a estudiantes calificados con discapacidades, los mantuvo fuera de ciertos programas o les nego ayuda financiera.

Ruiz explica que el concepto es poderoso y ha atraido a socios globales como Bard College de Nueva York, brindando a los estudiantes la oportunidad de obtener creditos por los cursos en linea.

Open Society University Network pone a disposicion en linea todo su plan de estudios. Ademas de ALT NEW COLLEGE, Bard esta ofreciendo creditos,” menciono Ruiz.

El concepto de universidad alternativa no es nuevo. Ruiz dice que el esfuerzo de base se inspiro en Smolny Beyond Borders, que paso a ser una plataforma en linea en respuesta a un incidente autoritario en Rusia, y en Black Mountain College, reconocido por sus enfoques innovadores para preservar su historia institucional. Puede encontrar una lista de los cursos gratuitos en ‘altnewcollege.org’.

Apoyo para esta historia fue proporcionado por la Fundacion Lumina.

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