New Tri-Co Philly Program Launches
Haverford joins Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore in creating an academic, nonresidential, collaborative program to deepen engagement between students and faculty and the city of Philadelphia.
Haverford College, in partnership with Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore colleges, is launching a new program in downtown Philadelphia that will connect students and faculty with our neighboring city. The Tri-Co Philly Program—which will begin with a nonresidential pilot next semester—offers three city-themed courses from a mix of disciplines taught by faculty from the three colleges at the Center City Friends Center (at 15th and Cherry streets) as a way to use location to enhance the classroom experience.
"The goal of the Tri-Co Philly Program is to deepen engagement between and among students and faculty at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore and the city of Philadelphia," said Calista Cleary, the program's planning director. "This academic program, offered in an urban environment, will present students the opportunity to better understand the diversity of the world we inhabit, to directly observe the links between scholarship and lived experience, and to appreciate cities as vital sites of innovation, creativity and complexity."
The program grew out of ongoing conversations between the three college presidents as they explored fresh ways to enhance their collaborative relationship, and was, according to Haverford President Kim Benston, designed to "uplift our institutions' collective educational aims by expanding opportunities to engage local communities in mutually beneficial forms of active learning." The Tri-Co provosts, in close collaboration with Cleary, then laid the groundwork for an academic program in Philadelphia.
Year-to-year, the Tri-Co Philly Program will feature a changing roster of urban-themed courses from across the academic spectrum. By integrating the city into the classroom, and vice versa, students will explore the real-world implications of their scholarly work and grapple with how the material in their courses is informed by the environment around them. Their classwork will also be enhanced by activities that take advantage of the dynamic cultural, civic, and historic opportunities offered by America's sixth-largest city via guest speakers, performances, neighborhood tours, trips to museums and libraries, and more.
In spring 2019, students will take a core course, "Philadelphia: Inventing a City" with Haverford Visiting Assistant Professor of English Thomas Devaney, and also choose either "Narrativity and Hip-Hop," taught by Bryn Mawr Assistant Professor of English Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, or "The Politics of the Creative Class in American Cities," taught by Haverford Associate Professor of Political Science Stephen McGovern.
"There are many faculty whose research and scholarship already engages with Philadelphia issues and organizations," said Cleary. "This program can serve to strengthen and showcase that scholarship and teaching. As the program develops, it has the potential to serve as a hub of interaction with Philadelphia and strengthen the colleges’ relationships with the city, its people, its culture, and critical urban issues."
"In the presidents' initial conversation, we came quickly to a shared recognition that Philadelphia, as a distinctively global, innovative, ethnically diverse, and neighborhood-rich city, offers faculty and students remarkable opportunities to contribute to the central concerns of modern society, which largely arise at the intersections of global and local experience, of the past and the present, of continuity and change," said President Benston. "Our campuses are not outside the framework of those dynamic tensions, but occupy a space that encompasses their implications. Thus increasing engagement with Philadelphia is not simply an interesting or attractive option; it's a vital necessity and a compelling opportunity for expanding our relevance and impact in intellectually and ethically robust ways."
While enrolled in the Tri-Co Philly Program, students will still take the rest of their courses and live on their home campuses. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible to participate. Expenses related to travel for classes and for co-curricular and extracurricular programming will be covered for students who are accepted into the program. Applications for next semester's inaugural cohort of the program must be received by Friday, Oct. 26, at 5 p.m.