Sunday, August 12, 2007

The best school no one has ever heard of

Back in 1992, I received this issue of Sassy magazine that had an article, "The Seven Most Innovative Colleges We Could Find." This is how I found out about Eugene Lang College. The author, Allie Merriam from, generously took screenshots of the magazine, but I'll retype the blurb on Lang as it's hard on the eyes:

Forget all that collegiate stuff - I want earnest feminist dialogue

Out of all the colleges here, The Lang College of the New School For Social Research is probably the least collegiate in feel, located as it is in a five-story building in New York's bohemian mecca, Greenwich Village. Ther are no sports teams, no extracurricular activities, no all-campus parties and only 400 students. But who cares about all that when you've got so many amazing classes to chose from? I got so jealous looking through the course catalog: "Inventing Reality: What to Believe in What the Media Tells Us," The Shaping of the Modern City," "Anthropological Perspectives on Gender." Tasty. There are majors in Lang - they're called concentrations - but you don't have to take a huge number of classes in a department to fulfill your degree requirement. Also appealing: there are no boring, overcrowded introduction to/"101" classes here - all classes are seminars. This means they're small, reading- and writing-intensive, and very discussion-oriented. "Classes tend to be really inclusive," says Alice, a recent graduate. "In any given literature class, you could get a really good dose of feminism and history too." Often seminar classes go so well that professors and students continue to meet informally long after the class itself has ended. And if you don't want to be taught by a procession of staid old tenured men, Lang is a dream. "I'd guess that 90 percent of my classes were taught by women, so you don't get much of that weird, male-hierarchy stuff," Alice says, "and the teachers all tend to be feminists."

I liked what I read and attended Lang in 1994. It was really the best school no one has every heard of.

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