Outdoor Learning is central to the general mission of the Castle Rock Institute. We sponsor a semester-long environmental studies program for college students that combines a range of environmental adventure activities and 300-level courses in the Humanities. This is a unique environmental studies program. Unlike other programs, the Castle Rock Institute semester program has a significant outdoor component.
An Alternative to Ordinary College Life
The Castle Rock Institute is an off-campus research center for the Humanities affiliated with Brevard College. An environmental studies program, it seeks applications from college students and scholars from the United States and abroad to live, study and experience the environmentals together for a semester. Housed in a lodge set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, the Institute aims to enliven the study of the Humanities both through focused interdisciplinary classwork, and through organized group environmental activities.
The Institute's environmental studies program encourages interdisciplinary thought and experimentation by focusing each semester on a theme drawn from the Humanities. This theme serves as the main topic of discussion and area of research for residents at the Institute.
A Full Semester of Academic Credit
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. The Institute strives to balance and integrate scholarship and adventure, and believes that doing so can realize significant benefits for both.
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.
As a complement to its academic mission, the Castle Rock Institute organizes for its residents a variety of environmental adventure activities. The Institute takes seriously the idea that there is a fundamental connection between body and mind, between the embodied practice of lived experience and the more abstract, theoretical concerns of the intellect.
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