Reimagining the Place of Higher Education
Bard Microcolleges bring high-quality, full-scholarship, liberal arts education to communities often excluded from the university experience. Each microcollege is created in partnership with a community-based institution. Their strength is the result of alliances between organizations that are conventionally separate from one another but have overlapping missions, common purpose, and shared core values.
Defying Expectations About Who College is for and Where it Might Lead
Bard Microcollege students are ambitious, intellectually curious, and willing to drive their own learning process. Often, they had been deterred from college, put their educations on hold, or were frustrated by impersonal learning environments.
Partners provide local know-how and credibility, class and study space, and a community from which to draw a student body. They bring unique expertise and resources and are deeply invested in democratizing access to education. These qualities provide a context in which students can focus on and thrive in college.
A Project of the Bard Prison Initiative
BPI has been delivering rigorous liberal arts education to students incarcerated in New York State prisons for the past 20 years. Microcolleges extend BPI’s mission outward into the community, bringing the same ethos of radical inclusivity at a human scale to students in other unexpected settings.
A panel discussion launching the Bard Microcollege for Justice Community Leadership
- Craig Wilder, Barton L. Weller Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- DeAnna Hoskins, President & CEO, Just Leadership USA
- Vivian Nixon, Executive Director, College & Community Fellowship
- Max Kenner, Founder & Executive Director, Bard Prison Initiative
“I came to the Microcollege to get back something I thought I had lost; however, I ended up embracing a wild transformation of how I relate to the world as well as the ideas and people in it.”
—Mars Ikeda ’21
In the News
5 for Good: Mass. care center helps woman launch new beginning
Nation’s first ‘microcollege’ opens in Holyoke
Wall Street Journal