In 1969, a group of faculty, students and staff created an alternative learning environment at the University-a true living and learning community where students would be responsible for their own education-the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies. Once a separate college, the center is now fully integrated into the College of Arts and Sciences and one of the college's largest academic programs.
The Johnston educational process recognizes students have a great variety of interests and seeks to give each person extensive ownership of their education. To achieve this, 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 ideas are debated. Today some 200 talented and passionate Redlands students live and learn together in the Johnston complex, which includes two residence halls, faculty offices, a coffee house, classrooms and community spaces.
In consultation with faculty, students design contracts for their courses and negotiate changes in the already proposed course syllabus. We assess student work through the use of written evaluations in lieu of traditional numeric grades. This process requires both the student and the faculty member to mutually define the objectives of the course in the beginning of the semester and then to evaluate the student's work at the end.
Each Johnston student designs specific degree requirements by negotiating a contract with a student-faculty Graduation Contract Committee. Guiding principles govern every contract, but the nature of each academic plan is specific to the individual student. All students address the spirit of general education goals, including a cross-cultural experience. Beyond these expectations, students are encouraged to define, with faculty and peers, the nature of their education.
Just as important as the individualized aspects of the program, Johnston is also a living/learning community. The Johnston complex houses 15 faculty offices where professors and students see each other throughout the day, not just in the classroom. Students and faculty work together in committees and in a weekly community meeting to make academic policy together and to plan educational and social events. They make decisions by consensus, a delicate political art that community members have honed over the years. Finally, at Johnston, community is about having a support network and about how you can contribute to meaningful discussions and projects.
For more information about the Johnston Center, click here.