Portrait of Prof. Kevin O'Neill
"I donna care what you're doin', as long as you're havin' a good time"
-James Graham Johnston
"The Johnston Center has been everything that I had hoped for and nothing that I could have imagined. I came to JohnstonCenter eager to be in college and seeking an alternative program that would finally give me some control over my education. I have spent the last four years at a place where I've never been told something was impossible} a place where I have been encouraged to create and dream, and that has been paramount to my personal growth and academic success. In addition to the academics} the community itself proved to be a very meaningful and precious part of my education. Having spent a significant potion of my childhood in an isolated suburban setting} I didn't grow up with a strong sense of community. When I became part of the Johnston Community I learned how to take care of myself and others and figure out who I am, what I want to do, and why any of that matters. I feel deeply grateful, excited, and energized to enter the world with the skills that I have gained. "
-from the graduation contract of Jennifer Bobrow, class of 2000
The Johnston Center for Integrative Studies: What is it?
The Johnston Center for Integrative Studies offers students a challenging option for conducting their education at the University of Redlands. It is a transformation of JohnstonCollege (1969-1979), then a cluster college within the University with its own faculty and accreditation. The College was fully integrated into the University in 1979 and renamed the JohnstonCenter. It is located in the Johnston Complex (Bekins Hall and Holt Hall) where many Johnston students reside and a number of faculty have their offices.
Johnston education presumes that students are inquisitive individual learners, not passive consumers of education. Our educational process recognizes that students have a great variety of needs and interests and seeks to give them extensive "ownership" of their education. Johnston begins with the idea that each student must accept major responsibility for his or her own education. Johnston brings together a community of bright, creative, independent, and active students with a genuine interest in academic pursuits-a place where diversity is cherished and debated.
There are several ways that Johnston makes this ownership possible:
- A Johnston student writes a graduation contract, a personalized document which proposes the courses s/he wishes to take for the B.A. or B.S. degree, and explains their choices in view of personal educational goals. The student presents this contract to a committee of faculty and peers, and when approved, the contract becomes a mutual commitment between the student and the Center. This process allows a student to discuss and negotiate his/her academic passions.
- At the beginning of individual courses, a student contracts 'With each professor by stating his or her learning objectives and projecting the work s/he will complete in the course. This contract, in combination with a self evaluation, forms the basis for a narrative evaluation provided by the professor. A Johnston student expects to be assessed through narrative evaluations ratl1.er than grades, and the narrative allows the professor to be specific about each student's strengths and weaknesses, and to offer advice about future classes and ways of learning.
- Johnston students commit themselves to developing a living-learning center that is physically centered in Bekins and Holt residence halls. This complex houses faculty and staff, as well as classrooms, a darkroom, kitchens, and other community spaces. Community life is shaped through weeky community meetings, Johnston seminars, and Johnston-sponsored outings and events. Poetry readings, guest lectures (frequently by Johnston alumni) and a student-run coffeehouse enrich community life.
How you can become a Johnston student, and how you can use the Johnston process to get your degree through the JohnstonCenter is the subject of the rest of this handbook.