A Program of Outdoor Education for College Students

Outdoor Education helps define the general mission of the Castle Rock Institute. We sponsor a semester-long study program for college students that combines a range of outdoor adventure activities and 300-level courses in the Humanities. This is a unique outdoor education program.

Castle Rock Outdoor Education for College Students

The Castle Rock Institute is an off-campus research center for the Humanities newly affiliated with Brevard College (a liberal arts college in western North Carolina). Each semester it seeks applications from college students and scholars from the United States and abroad to live, study and experience the outdoors together. The Castle Rock Institute is dedicated to outdoor education, to investigating links between scholarship in the Humanities and the practical dimensions of human life in the natural and social world.

view from looking glass rock in the Pisgah Forest

Visiting students enroll in four courses taught at Castle Rock by Institute Senior Fellows. Each course meets regularly throughout the semester and awards four hours of college credit. Students also spend several full and half days per week participating in small group activities like rock climbing, backpacking, and paddling. This form of outdoor education strives to balance and integrate scholarship and adventure, and believes that doing so can realize significant benefits for both.

An Alternative College Experience

Different from the historical approach of most college Humanities programs, the curriculum at the Castle Rock Institute is organized thematically. Instead of sweeping through a series of "great books," all of the courses offered during each semester at the Institute address a single issue, idea or theme drawn from the Humanities. Accordingly, each class explicitly considers how insights offered by the other disciplines can contribute to an overall understanding of the theme at hand. For example, a semester devoted to the notion of "identity" may consider how the use of masks in African religious rituals or how French Existentialist conceptions of self can inform a Jane Austen novel, or can affect the composition of a painting or pencil sketch.

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