Andover’s Off-Campus Programming Fosters Equity & Inclusion
During a recent interview, the Tang Institute’s Director of Learning in the World, Carmen Muñoz-Fernández, discussed why Learning in the World (LITW) is a priority at Phillips Academy and what students need to know in our interconnected world. With 16 programs and 10 affiliate programs in diverse regions of the world, LITW gives students the chance to participate in an in-depth, off-campus learning experience that engages them directly with different practices and perspectives, history, arts, and surprising and enlightening encounters in new cultures.
Responding to a question about her work with LITW since joining the Institute in 2014, Muñoz-Fernández discussed how LITW programming has grown during recent years (when she started there were just six programs) and why student participation has increased.
“We considered the connection to the Academy’s Strategic Plan, and Equity & Inclusion was a focus for us,” said Muñoz-Fernández. “We had seen the kind of impact a LITW experience has upon students and wanted to be able to offer it to every student, regardless of their financial circumstances. Now we are one of the few schools that supports students in this way. We make sure this experience is a component of the academic experience at PA and not something extra or separate.”
Also in line with Equity & Inclusion is the LITW goal of helping students to develop their cultural empathy, respect for other people, and skills in areas that affect our global community, such as social justice.
“We want to help them gain a better sense of the history of a country and to become critical thinkers. It is so important, for example, to be able to read a news article and know, this is one-sided, and then be able to read it from another perspective,” Muñoz-Fernández said.
She also commented on diversity on campus, and how students’ regular experiences complement their LITW experiences.
“We are lucky to have diversity on campus too, as students have a range of interactions and experiences right here at PA. Through conversation in class or in the dorm, students learn how to interact for the better. Learning in the World complements those experiences,” she said. “We are teaching our students to be the best global citizens they can be and encouraging them to leave their comfort zones. I so often hear that a particular campus experience with a student from another culture clicks when the student travels to that culture.”
Read the full article, “Program in Focus,” on the Tang Institute Blog.