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Goddard College - Comments and Student Experiences |
There were drugs at Goddard in the mid-60s but also at the state university, at which I started and the graduate schools I later attended. They are present at the college I taught at for three decades. So what is new? Some students abstain, some handle it well and a few become addicts. Goddard was no different than other schools then and, I suspect, now.
I was probably one of the few students who graduated with degrees in both chemistry and biology. I went home near Cape Kennedy and found I could use my chemistry degree to work in environmental engineering, a new field at the time. I had no problem with the work and was encouraged to take graduate courses at the UF engineering branch at the Cape. The dean did not know how to evaluate the Goddard transcript so allowed me to take two graduate courses as a post-bac student. I had no problem making A's in both courses so he then admitted me into the engineering college where I pursued a master's in civil engineering with an emphasis on environmental engineering.
Goddard had prepared me well for independent thinking and problem solving in the REAL world. After a decade I decided to go back to graduate school and earn a PhD in cell biology and microbiology. I spent the next 30+ years in academia advancing through the ranks and becoming chair of my department for almost a decade before I retired. I now have a consulting business advising high school students on how to select the right college.
One thing about Goddard, it is what you make it.
I have looked at the current faculty, most of whom are at great universities and colleges and are using Goddard to earn a little extra cash. According to the students I have spoken to when I visited, these adjunct faculty are still engaged with their students and happy to have a different way to actively engage students that is, IMHO, much more effective than the "sage on the stage" model that still exists at most colleges and universities. I started my undergraduate college career at a large university. The classes were enormous and most were taught by graduate students who cared nothing about non-majors. I suffered through a horrible mishmash of a humanities course. At Goddard we did not read snippets of great works but we read the entire work. I remember a course on the Protestant Reformation where we read 15 books in one semester covering it from many perspectives. Papers required were long and involved and rigorously evaluated, though not graded in the traditional sense. This was real education, not a few lines learned to drop at a dinner party. A Goddard education let me realize my potential and be able to converse intelligently with colleagues in diverse fields from physics to philosophy. And most importantly, Goddard helped me become a life-long learner.
Based on my experience to this point, I could not have made a better choice. They currently operate only under a low-residency model that was is a wonderful fit for current lifestyle. I'm a mother of two young sons, and am completing my degree more than a decade after starting it. I am wholeheartedly invested in my academic success and making the most out of my time there, and I feel like everyone I've dealt with at Goddard is willing to meet me at my level of investment.
The work is demanding. Being self designed and a totally different educational paradigm, I feel like my first semester there was as much about learning about the Goddard system as it was learning the material that I intended to study. But I feel much more grounded going into my last three semesters. My advisor was wonderfully supportive, an effective resource, and struck the perfect balance between validating and encouraging, but also pushing me when I needed a push, and just generally not letting me sell myself short.
To be fair, not everyone in my program has reported having such a compatible relationship with their advisor. But talking to a large group of folks, you're likely to hear just as many people that had a positive experience with an advisor as those that had a negative one. Qualities that one student might appreciate might be less valued by another student. As cliche as it sounds, it really is all "part of the process," and truly does build life learning skills as well. How many of us are lucky enough to get through life without having to do our best in dealing with a less-than-ideal situation with a co-worker, supervisor, or in-law?
This article gives some helpful backstory on the College. It helped make me feel a bit more comfortable about investing in attending here. Based on feedback from other students at my last residency (it was my first semester there, so I had no point of comparison), Goddard has been putting money back into the school's infrastructure, and has updated facilities, dorms, overhauled the meal plan, and has plans for continued improvements. While the accommodations were far from posh, they were clean and comfortable, and anytime I had a concern I was met with appropriate responsiveness.
As with any group of students (or faculty), there's plenty of variation in personality. While diverse in some ways, in general, students/faculty attracted to Goddard tend to be individualists, and some dogmatically so. On the whole, though, I was pleasantly surprised with the level of connection established within our group during the week of residency, and that which has been sustained via various social media efforts during the time between residencies.So, yes ... Goddard isn't for everyone. But if you're attracted to this model of education, but are concerned about some of the conflicting feedback, don't be put off from looking into it more thoroughly. Goddard has an "Ambassador Program" where you can be connected with recent students to get a first hand feedback on their experience. It seems like there's distinct variation between current feedback and that is more dated. Also, you might want to find students who are in your particular program ... it seems as if each program has a unique culture of its own.
Bradley University (IL) 1:advice
Carthage College (WI) 2:negative
Missouri University of Science and Technology (MO) 1:negative
Texas A & M University Galveston (TX) 1:negative
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