At Mount Holyoke, programs such as The Lynk allow students to connect their academic work with practical applications. In addition to a liberal education, experiential learning through internships, research, community-based projects, and more offer high-impact experiences for students, giving them a leading edge in a competitive world. In a recent interview with The Chronicle of Higher Education, Carol Geary Schneider '67 explains how there's a new design for learning now, and there's evidence it works:
I am a PhD level scientist who studied biology at a women’s college, Mount Holyoke. Not content with just attending a women’s college, as an undergraduate I set out specifically to compare educations at a co-ed and a women’s college. To this end, I spent a semester junior year at a co-ed, top liberal arts university. What I discovered was that women at each school behaved very differently.
At this co-ed university, I noticed that, in general, women did not raise their hand in class nearly as often as the men. Women put considerable time and effort into dressing and applying makeup to go to the library and other campus locations. Women did not hold leading positions in many of the campus organizations. In contrast, at Mount Holyoke, women had to answer questions, both because their grades depended on it and because the classes were small and virtually all attended by women. Women had to hold leading positions or the groups wouldn’t exist. As far as clothing, during exam time, it was not uncommon to see my classmates racing to turn in a paper wearing pajamas and slippers. This is not to say that the co-ed university did not support women in being leaders, only that whatever process existed, the outcome was that few women were leaders.
In the centennial annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), President Carol Geary Schneider '67 called on colleges and universities to engage students in "signature work" that prepares them to integrate and apply their learning to real-world issues. A recent article in the AAC&U's Liberal Education highlights MHC's signature work with programs such as The Lynk, the College's curriculum-to-careers initiative. Students are required to participate in an applied learning experience outside of the classroom after their sophomore or junior year.
National education advocate Carol Geary Schneider ’67 told the Mount Holyoke College class of 2015 on Sunday, May 17, that the critical thinking, hands-on learning, and real-world experience they have gained through their college education will prepare them for meaningful engagement in an ever-changing world.
And they do. From Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights to Arctic explorers, Mount Holyoke alumnae demonstrate what happens when innovation and imagination merge with the ability to think critically. They show how a women’s education rooted in the liberal arts is the best preparation for career success, especially in a time when new fields are emerging every day.
Author Shoba Narayan recently wrote in The National: