Habits of Mind: The Experimental College Program at Berkeley

K. Trow (1998)

In this book, Katherine Trow traces the results of a unique experiment in higher education curricular and pedagogical reform on the Berkeley campus of the University of California. Initiated and led by Joseph Tussman, the Experimental College Program at Berkeley was inspired by Alexander Meiklejohn’s pioneering learning community, the Experimental College at Wisconsin. A study of the long-term effects of an educational experience, Habits of Mind is based on intensive, open-ended interviews with graduates of the Program conducted two decades after they left it. Now adults in mid-career, they recall in detail and with considerable feeling their years in this college that comprised virtually the whole of their studies during their first two years at Berkeley. At a different place in their life cycle, they are now able to assess with greater maturity its impact on their lives, and its sometime surprising long-term effects. Trow’s work advances our understanding of the developmental aspects of teaching and learning in college. Her thoughtful, probing analysis demonstrates the importance of the evaluation of past educational experiments for ongoing curricular and pedagogical reform. And her insights help us to understand how a coherent extended curriculum fosters the intellectual development of students, creating habits of mind that can last a lifetime.