THE UNIVERSITY FOR A GREEN WORLD
‘A transformative learning for a sustainable living’ is the motto of Schumacher College.
Inspired by the life and work of E.F. Schumacher, author of Small is Beautiful, amongst other works, Schumacher College was founded in 1991.
Schumacher College brings together international leading thinkers, activists and practitioners, in order to deliver a unique brand of small group-learning experiences. With a focus on interactive, experience-led and participatory learning, Schumacher College offers the practical skills and strategic thinking required to face the ecological, economic and social challenges of the 21st Century.
The uniqueness of Schumacher College stems partly from how difficult it is to be classified; it is part retreat, part residential community, part academic institution, part intellectual hotbed of ideas.
Two specific kinds of activities happen at Schumacher College. The first you can choose to follow is a Master’s program (MSc) in Holistic Science, launched in partnership with the University of Plymouth. Up to 12 students live there for a year and study holistic science, a new form of investigation that is already revolutionizing physics, earth science, ecology, evolutionary biology, management development and health studies. Also studied are Gaia, systems analysis, complexity, chaos and quantum and other emergent scientific theories.
Alternatively, Schumacher College offers shorter courses. Up to 25 students come to the college over the course of the year to participate in courses that last between one and three weeks. The courses are delivered using a mixture of lectures, seminars, field trips, simulations, practical work, projects, group-work, presentations, philosophical inquiry, discussion, experiments, routine work, writing, and other more creative forms of expression. All subjects are studied from an ecological and holistic perspective. These subjects include ecological and local economics, sustainable development, eco-psychology, organic farming, ethics, aesthetics, equity, justice, deep ecology, permaculture, appropriate technology, and other fields related to the new paradigm of emergent technological advancements.
Schumacher College’s uniqueness goes further than just this. The staff at Schumacher College are also an integral part of the learning community. Along with their administrative duties, staff members prepare course material, lead cooking and cleaning groups, perform music and take part in field trips. Staff are also consulted at every level of the decision-making process — whether it be concerning domestic arrangements, or perhaps new ideas for the future of the College, or maybe about the design of the course programme.
This is not an economic measure, but rather a practical expression of the college’s belief that living and learning should exist as a whole. Whilst attending to daily tasks and chores, the issues normally raised in study sessions are brought into the context of daily life. It is through the inclusion of these more mundane activities that the balance with the intellectual input of the courses is achieved. People often say that some of the most enjoyable parts of College life are cooking, housekeeping and gardening with a small group of fellow participants. By living as a community, they find both nourishment and the ability to open their minds.
To learn more about Schumacher College and find out about the experiences of some of the students, read the article previously published in IM Magazine (written by journalist Emilia Freire and with design by Bruno Santinho).