About Us – Our Approach
The majority of students enrolled at the Wisdom School of Graduate Studies are professionals with an established career and one or more academic degrees. They have come to Wisdom because they are no longer satisfied with the rational and the conventional. Concluding that they need deeper spiritual challenges in order to maintain momentum and meaning in their lives, our students soon discover that they can continue to grow spiritually and professionally at Wisdom, combining spiritual nourishment with enhanced professional qualifications.
The Wisdom School offers students and wisdom seekers a bridge from their career to their calling, from what they do for a living to what gives them deepest meaning and purpose for their life.
Most contemporary education has taken tedium and compartmentalization to a high art form. It has facilitated the disinterest of millions of people by insisting on standardized testing and rote memorization. Essentially contemporary education revolves around going to class, sitting behind desks, taking notes, memorizing information, regurgitating it back in tests, and expressing oneself analytically and dispassionately in essays and term papers. What is largely emphasized are facts, information, and objectivity.
Such learning flies in the face of both the most ancient and the most modern understandings of how people actually learn. Study after study has shown that left hemispheric learning alone is short term and leads to an unbalanced perspective and lifestyle. Left brain education is artistically deficient and morally undeveloped. Deeper learning begins with what has been popularly called the "Mozart Effect," which has shown that by doing something as simple as adding music when people are engaging in left brain activity, the learning becomes more durable and both short term and long term memory increases.
Optimal learning must involve the right as well as the left hemisphere of the brain, and even more, include body movement as well as intellectual work, artistic expression and cognitive development. This is what makes education true learning, which in the Latin means to "lead forth." True learning is that which allows the individual to grow holistically, to unfold as a flower.
Our Unique Pedagogy
Since its founding in 1996, as Wisdom University, the Wisdom School has developed perhaps the most dimensionalized pedagogy of any graduate school we know. We call this full spectrum transformational learning. Wisdom School of Graduate Studies is currently pioneering this through the development of a Wisdom Global Learning Center. As the Global Learning Center comes online we will experiment with and develop the "full spectrum transformational learning" to which the Wisdom School has committed itself.
At the heart of our full spectrum learning are our in person Intensives. At most institutions of higher learning, students attend several hours of classes per week over a quarter or a semester. Atthe Wisdom School, learning takes place in Intensives that are either a week long (Monday through Friday) or a weekend (Friday through Sunday). These intensives allow for the intellectual and emotional intimacy that is the basis of real learning. Our experience is that when faculty and students come together all day every day for a week, especially in a residential retreat setting, the learning is both deeper and more personally transformative.
• Each morning, we begin with 30 minutes of Sacred Practice, a time that has been designed to introduce various ancient practices that the students can use, modify, and adapt in their own lives. Developing a daily personal practice is crucially important in establishing wisdom as a way of life.
• Next, students engage in three hours of Seminar on a range of intellectually challenging subjects, each one of which has an extensive reading list. Every student is required to write a pre-paper before showing up for the course that addresses topics raised by the readings. A post paper after the course is also required. All papers must adhere to the APA standard of paper writing.
• After lunch, the students engage in three hours of Transformational Art in which a variety of intuitive and artistic expressions are explored. Creativity is not an elective at the Wisdom School. The juxtaposition of Seminar and Transformational Art is the axis around which all our learning revolves. The emphasis is on how the Transformational Art can be used to integrate and imbed the content of the Seminar.
• A 45 minute Integration Session closes the day to further enhance and integrate the learning that is taking place both in the Seminar and Transformational Art. Integration brings a sacred closure to the day, even as Sacred Practice that opens it.
• To further amplify this multi-dimensional learning, students are required to use what we call the "subject/object synthesis" in all their papers, up to and including their doctoral dissertations. Like conventional institutions, we require students to show a command of the material learned and to demonstrate a mastery of graduate level writing techniques. Unlike the conventional institutions, we also require that they show a command of their inner processes in relation to the content. What dreams have they had, what emotions have emerged, what creativity has been ignited? We are as interested in their subjective journey as in their objective capacities. This balance of opposites, this integration of mind, body, heart and psyche, is what leads, in our experience, to the "enlargement of the soul."
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Globe As Classroom
In addition to our dimensionalized pedagogy, the Wisdom School of Graduate Studies operates with the world as our classroom. We hold our classes at selected venues all around the United States and abroad. This is essential if we are to be global in scope rather than simply trying to get students to come to a specific campus in a specific country for instruction in campus classrooms. The Wisdom Schools’ "globe as classroom" capacity allows us to provide two very unique and inter-related offerings:
• We take our Intensives and our faculty to our students. Our students come from all over the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. We thus hold our Intensives on the west and east coasts of the United States, in Canada, in Europe, and in Asia. Europeans, for example, can obtain graduate degrees without ever coming to the United States. In the spirit of a global institution, we take our faculty, students and alumni to where teaching can have the most potency.
• We connect sacred subjects with sacred sites. It is one thing to study Mary Magdalene and the Black Madonna in a classroom in San Francisco or Atlanta. It is a completely different matter to study these themes in France in the traditional places associated with Mary Magdalene and where some of the most dramatic Black Madonna sites can be found. We believe that in a globalized world we should be taking our instruction to the students and our students to the world.
We do not know of another institution of higher learning that has embraced the notion of globe as classroom with quite the intensity of the Wisdom School. This commitment is the cornerstone of who we are and what we intend for our students in a globalizing world.
It is with all the above in place that the Wisdom School of Graduate Studies approaches the challenge of setting the gold standard for full spectrum transformational learning. This endeavor is not a new challenge but a challenge that has emerged out of the very success of what we have become as a global learning community dedicated to catalyzing personal and professional transformation within the context of granting academic degrees.