Students traveled to Alaska to study issues surrounding pipelines
Students traveled to Alaska to study issues surrounding pipelines

Late last year, the largest gift in Longwood’s history kick-started an engine to create immersive, citizenship-focused courses at sites around the United States—the kinds of unique experiences that students won’t find at any other institution.

Now that engine is up and running with the selection of the first four Brock Experiences—two chosen this fall and two last spring. After a review of propsoals, a total of six faculty have been awarded two-year faculty fellowships to develop the new courses, which will be patterned after Longwood’s academic programs in Yellowstone and the Arctic Circle.

Courses will typically take place during the summer and will involve travel to a place to learn firsthand about an unresolved American civic issue from a variety of perspectives.

• Dr. Shawn Smith, associate professor of English, will take students to Boston to consider issues related to the arts and society, including how the arts are funded and how they contribute to the creation of community.

• Tracing the route of the Colorado River, students will explore one of the trickiest questions in the West: Who owns the water? Mike Mergen, associate professor of art, will guide students as they engage with citizens and other stakeholders on this important issue that touches on a broad range of disciplines, from history to environmental science. 

'We are on our way to creating an array of wonderful academic experiences led by our finest faculty.'

DR. KEN PERKINS

• A course on the complexities and challenges of immigration will take students to neighborhoods in Richmond and Arizona. Dr. Renee Gutiérrez, associate professor of Spanish, and Dr. Connie Koski, assistant professor of criminal justice, are collaborating on this offering.

• The sustainability of Chesapeake Bay waterways and fisheries is the focus of another course that will take students to Longwood’s Hull Springs Farm on Virginia’s Northern Neck near the bay. Dr. Melissa Rhoten, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Mark Fink, associate professor of biology, are working together to develop this course.

“Thanks to the generosity of Joan ’64 and Macon Brock, we are on our way to creating an array of wonderful academic experiences led by our finest faculty from across the university that will have a profound effect on generations of Longwood students,” said Dr. Ken Perkins, director of development for academic priorities and provost emeritus. 

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