Black Mountain College Project
 

Pete Hill in science class. Photo courtesy North Carolina State Archives, Black Mountain College Papers, 131.1

STUDENT EXPERIENCE IN EXPERIMENTAL EDUCATION IN THE EARLY YEARS
(1933-43)

Section 2: Teachers and Teaching: Formal Aspects of the Curriculum

       

INTRODUCTION TO THE SUNLEY PROJECT AND DOCUMENTS

Description of the Study by Robert Sunley
*   Letter to the Students
*   Guidelines
*   Brief Biographies of
    Contributors

*   Brief Biographies of
    Faculty Mentioned in
    the Memoirs
*

SECTION 1. ROLE OF THE ARTS

    Statement by Robert
    Sunley


The artistic process as
    a major goal.


*   Individual, active
    anticipation was
    fostered but not
    required.

*   Focus on really “seeing”
    and “thinking” for
    oneself, not on the
    production of art.


Self-direction, self-
    discipline, initiative,
    development of the
    whole person....

The arts were diffused
    throughout the
    education ....    

 

Junior Division

Nancy Brager Katz: As far as I can remember, I took the following classes: Rice's Plato group (which I found challenging), history with Joe Martin, a course with Portell-Vila, English and drama with Bob Wunsch, music with John Evarts, art with Josef Albers, and social studies (or whatever it was called) with Zeuch. Also, one year of German with Anna Moellenhoff.

Ruth O'Neill Burnett: The college curriculum had been presented to me in terms of liberal arts – a well-rounded program – not simply an art school. Accordingly, I enrolled in basic "liberal arts" classes.... I took an English class with Ken Kurtz, a biology class with Dick Carpenter, a psychology class with Dr. Straus, and a language class with Fran deGraaff. Later on I had a class with Eric Bentley.

Harold Raymond: I took practically every course the college offered in history and other social sciences: a number of courses in English and a wide variety of others out of interest or the only partially successful efforts of my advisors to broaden my program....

John Swackhamer: I didn't do much studying the first year, but in the second I began to really read and write outside of class.... By the end of the first year I was suddenly struck by the fact that the older students were all putting out a great deal of work and that I was not, a condition I began to seriously address in the second year.

Renate Benfey Wilkins: I took a general liberal arts program which included foreign languages—French, Spanish, Russian—music, art, history, English, etc.

Gisela Kronenberg Herwitz: During my first year at Black Mountain (1940-41), I took Introduction to Psychology with Jack French, Introductory Economics with Richard Gothe, Readings in Literature given by Ken Kurtz, and Contemporary Architecture, both lecture and drawing, given by Larry Kocher, the architect of the studies building at Lake Eden. In addition I attended an open seminar on International Relations.... During the second semester I dropped Architecture for Social Psychology given by French. The emphasis on social sciences continued into my second year with Anthropology (Paul Radin), American Life and Letters (Babcock and Kurtz), Advanced Psychology Tutorial (French) and General Biology (Carpenter) as well as Music II. I also did a considerable amount of independent study concerning perception. This was not an assigned project but something I developed by myself, although I discussed it with Jack French.

John Campbell: I took classes in political science, sociology, physics, a drawing class with Albers and Larry Kocher's Introductory Architecture—along with most of the rest of the college including faculty.

Will Hamlin: The lower division was usually thought of as "general education," the upper as specialized education. Moving from the lower to the higher required some demonstration of readiness to do so.

 

SECTION 2. TEACHERS AND TEACHING

Introduction

Formal Aspects of the
Curriculum 

   Class Size 
   Grades    
   Advisors 
   Junior Division  
   Senior Division  
   Graduation

Methods of Teaching
   General

   John Andrew Rice 
   Josef Albers 
   Erwin Straus 
   Robert Wunsch 
   Others


Personalities of Faculty
  
John Rice  
   Josef Albers 
   Robert
Wunsch 
   Heinrich
Jalowetz  
   Others 

Outside the Classroom
   In General  
   The Work Program 
   Visitors -
   Trips 
   Drama 
   Interlude  
   Lectures, Concerts 
   Informal Interchange