Bennington+

 

Bennington+ is a new suite of remote offerings for learners at every stage of their academic lives—from high school seniors to retired professionals. It includes a series of writing courses from Bennington's acclaimed literature program, an exciting selection of social justice and public action courses, and the opportunity for anyone to take classes from Bennington core curricular offerings. All of these programs are defined by Bennington's distinct student-directed and experiential approach to learning. 

Through these programs, you can...
  • Earn college credit
  • Gain applied skills for your work, your art, and your civic life
  • Take advantage of Bennington’s rigorous academic courses at a reduced rate
  • Join Bennington’s global community of lifelong learners, teachers, and world-builders
students in a classroom smiling

Bennington Unbound

Apply Now! >

Remote instruction in creative writing for undergraduates from a leader in engaged distance learning for current college and college-ready students who may be considering an academic gap year. This program offers four-week intensive online courses in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, creative criticism, and literary studies taught by Bennington’s award-winning graduate and undergraduate writing and literature faculty. 

Questions? >

overhead photo of campus

Bennington+

Apply Now! > 

An opportunity for lifelong learners at every stage to advance their understanding of topics that intrigue, inspire, and empower us to engage with the most pressing issues of our time. Bennington College’s distinct student-directed approach, which transcends traditional academic disciplines and integrates real-world experience, is for everyone with a desire to grow and make an impact—from high school seniors to retired professionals.

Questions? >

students in a classroom

CAPA Online: Building Community

Registration Opens August 3, 2020

The Center for the Advancement of Public Action (CAPA) at Bennington College is proud to offer this new series of online classes for learners at every stage—from high school seniors to retired professionals—who want to engage with the most pressing issues of our time. 

Questions? >

students in art class speaking with a professor female student at desk in library studying a group of students sit the capa symposium during class

PLUSPROG

Bennington+

Courses are available at a reduced cost relative to our normal per-credit fees, and each course comes with a personalized advising session to help you understand the options available to you, and how they might fit into your education trajectory—whatever that might be. 

In addition to the featured courses listed below, many of the courses in our standard undergraduate curriculum may be taken as Bennington+ classes, pending availability. Most are offered as either remote or hybrid remote/in-person courses. Please contact registrar@bennington.edu if you have a question about accessing a specific course.

All courses taken for credit are fully accredited at the college level and are eligible to transfer into Bennington or another undergraduate program. If you ultimately decide to pursue a degree at Bennington, you may apply up to 16 credits at this reduced rate to a Bennington degree.

Application

All students applying for this program will need to submit:

  • Course Enrollment Application
  • Any relevant high school or college transcripts (*Dual Enrollment Students Only) 
  • One letter of recommendation (*Dual Enrollment Students Only) 

Apply Now! >

Deadlines

Fall term: Rolling
Spring term: February 1

There is no application fee.

Pricing

  • Members of our community, alumni, friends of the College, and other lifelong learners can take classes at a reduced cost relative to our normal per-credit fee: $400 per credit (for credit and a transcript) or $100 per credit audit fee
  • High school juniors and seniors in Vermont may be eligible to take up to two courses with tuition fully reimbursed through VT’s Dual Enrollment Program. If you are not eligible, tuition is: $400 per credit (for credit and transcript) or $100 per credit audit fee
woman learning men and women dancing

PLUS-COURSES

Course Offerings

MASSAFFECT

Mass Affect: Media Culture and Theory

In this remote course, we will trace the development of audiovisual media (film, video, and sound art) and hybrid media practices through an interdisciplinary lens. Through screenings, listening sessions, theoretical readings, and discussion, we will investigate core ideas at the center of modern and contemporary time-based work, from experimental practices to the mass media they have developed in conversation with. Topics will include but are not limited to: the origins of cinema, the origins of sound art, the politics of representation and documentary, the implications of the democratization of digital forms, and installation practices alongside other expansive forms of artistic production. In smaller discussion groups within the greater course, students will reflect on the relationship between representation and technology, unpacking politicized narratives and their audiovisual mediums, the ways in which our identities have been molded by the media of our time, and the ways artists have crafted alternative and critical models to these master narratives using the tools of modern media.  

This course is particularly for anyone interested in:

  • Journalism
  • Multi-media art
  • Media bias and underrepresentation

PREZCOVID

Running for President in the Age of COVID

The past four years have overturned long standing wisdom about American democracy. COVID-19 has further upended the status quo and eroded threadbare political norms without clarity about what exactly will come next. Whether as students or citizens or international visitors, the political present in the US seems to exceed the given forms of scholarly analysis, principled participation, and governing institutions. A simple question – what is going on? – seems a good place to begin.

This course uses the 2020 campaigns for the US Presidency, as a springboard to become more informed and more involved in the elected direction of American democracy. Tracking between journalistic coverage and policy platforms, between glossy books by candidates and scholarly points of historical comparisons, between the aspirational rhetoric of campaigns and the worsening condition of most residents in the nation, between the realities of a global pandemic and the stark social needs it brings into focus, this course will dive deeply into the political currents of this moment. We will closely read coverage of campaigns and discuss the latest campaign developments alongside the wider precarity of this moment.  We will also reflect on the problems that seem to be redefining the coordinates of politics today, including: COVID-19, disregarded lives and landscapes, impossible debts, climate change and other ecological instabilities, dismantled institutions, fake news, geopolitical swagger, and how the nation became so polarized and whether these gaps can be closed.

This course is particularly for anyone interested in:

  • Electoral politics
  • Political protest and organizing
  • Local, state, and federal civic action
  • Democracy and alternative systems of governance

GRAPHVIZ

Graphical Persuasion: Visualizing Data Appropriately 

Information and data surround us. They inform what we do, the decisions we make, and what we ask of others. But how can we see what the data is telling us? How can we build graphical approaches that will allow us to make our own decisions—and help others see the patterns we are basing our decisions off of?  By looking at the history of graphical data, and then building our own, we will work at figuring out what graphical representations work best for each type of data. We will look at exemplars (and failures) of graphical representations, looking towards best practices and when to break them. This is an introductory course that will build our ability to read and interpret graphs, as well as critique choices and methods used to provide information. It will culminate in building a graphical representation for data from our own particular focus. It requires no pre-requisites.

This course is particularly for anyone interested in:

  • Quantitative and qualitative research
  • Polling and public opinion 
  • Journalism 
  • Graphic design

FREFILM

French Through Films: Rue Cases-Nègres and Au revoir les enfants

In this intermediate-level course, French films are used as linguistic and cultural textbooks. While honing their language skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing about the films), students will focus their critical skills on selected cultural topics (food, clothes, gestures, history, etc.). Students will create film trailers that reflect their understanding of the French linguistic and specific cultural realities. Films include: Rue Cases-Nègres/Sugar Cane Alley (Palcy, 1983), Au revoir les enfants/Goodbye children (Malle, 1987)

A common website and student presentations will allow the group to share and discuss their findings. Intermediate Low (participants should have taken at least one year of French). Conducted in French, online with group, subgroup, and individual meetings with the professor.

This course is particularly for anyone interested in:

  • French
  • Film 
  • Cultural Studies

LIVREUN

L’Afrance: un livre/un film (FRE4607.02)

Vive l’Afrance! This film title (Gomis, 2001) summarizes the goal of this course: an exploration of the rich variety of shared and conflicting francophone identities. Constructed within or outside of France, the identities studied in this course will encompass West African, French, and/or Caribbean spaces. The discussion of notions such as « créolisation » and « déterritorialisation/ reterritorialisation » will allow students to develop their linguistic, cultural and critical skills. Each unit will consist of the study of a book and a film, studied in conversation with one another:

  • Oct 22, 26, Nov 2, 5 | Franz Fanon’s Les Damnés de la terre (1961) – Manthia Diawara’s Edouard Glissant: One World in relation (2010)
  • Nov 5, 9, 12, 16 | Léonora Miano’s Saisons de l’ombre (2013) – Mati Diop’s Atlantique (2019)
  • Nov 16, 19, 23, 30 | Maboula Soumahoro’s Le triangle et l’hexagone (2020) – Alice Diop’s La Mort de Danton (2017)
  • Nov 30, Dec 3, 7, 10 | Maryse Condé’s La traversée de la Mangrove (1992) – Cédric Ido’s La vie de château (2017)

This course can be taken for 1, 2, 3 or 4 credits – each unit will be worth one credit.

Advanced level (minimum: three years of French). Conducted in French, online with group, subgroup, and individual meetings with the professor.

This course is particularly for anyone interested in:

  • French
  • West Africa and the Caribbean 
  • Cultural Studies

COLAB

Collaborative Worldbuilding: Social Justice & Entrepreneurship

Year 2020. The Republic, a fledgling, young country, has left decades of relative prosperity and entered an era marked by poor governance, a world-shaking pandemic, the open persecution of oppressed minority groups, and a ruling class determined to maintain its wealth and power. The first half of this course will deconstruct the foundational social, economic, and governance systems in this fictional world which determine equity and success. The second half of the course will leverage collaborative worldbuilding design principles to begin codifying radical new foundational principles that make social and economic justice easier for all citizens in The Republic to access.

This course is particularly for anyone interested in:

  • Social and economic justice
  • Systems design
  • Governing structures and civic action
     

COMHEALTH

A Community Health Approach to Social Emergencies, American Racism, and Firearm Injury Prevention

Poor health outcomes in modern, advanced societies are influenced largely by a series of critical social factors known collectively as social determinants of health: economic inequity, racism, community violence and food insecurity, among others. Social determinants of health contribute directly to medical and social emergencies, and as the nexus of the US healthcare safety net, emergency departments and other first responders occupy a strategic position to identify, treat and mitigate those social determinants that have an adverse effect on individual and population health.

Social determinants of health, including racism in particular, play a significant role in community violence, which commonly involves firearms in American society.  By understanding firearm-related victimization, injury and death as a preventable disease and applying public health prevention techniques to this epidemic, healthcare professionals and their communities may develop systems of care to optimize gun safety, reduce risk and minimize public harm at every opportunity. 

This course introduces students to the most prevalent health issues related to the causes of gun violence, and explores the multi-level health strategies that may be developed to prevent and treat gun violence in American society. Students will also gain experience in program design by creating, operationalizing and evaluating the impact of a novel, narrative-based educational framework for community outreach that unifies community stakeholders with their health systems, healthcare providers and first responders. Readings will involve both real-world programmatic documents/evaluations as well as peer-reviewed journal articles.

This course is particularly for anyone interested in:

  • Public health
  • Gun violence and community health
  • Social determinants of health

REGEN

The Regeneration Generation: Rebuilding the Natural Abundance of Earth

Practical steps can be taken today to reverse the major environmental, social, health, and political downward-spirals that have defined the previous few decades on Earth. The growing global tragedies are born from a system of industrial resource management that creates scarcity—empowering the few—as opposed to creating abundance—empowering the many. A movement is growing around the globe to rethink how humans manage the natural resources and natural systems on the Earth. Conservation alone is no longer sufficient to save the natural world. Now is the time to begin the regeneration of Earth. This course will: examine the factors and thinking the led us to this perilous point in human history; make clear the connection between prevailing management dogma and many of the crises we face today; make a clear assessment of the current environmental situation; and provide practical steps to stop the destruction of the natural world in favor of creating a new, abundant, and resilient world for humans, and all other life on Earth.

This course will benefit anyone looking to take an active role in combating climate change, social justice, food justice, regenerative agriculture, or food system development. Topics discussed will include: holistic management, livestock, power structures, white supremacy, stratification of wealth, food systems, food deserts, desertification, human diets, human nutrition, chronic diseases, and more.

This course is particularly for anyone interested in:

  • Climate change
  • Food justice
  • Regenerative agriculture
  • Food system development

UNDFO


Understanding Food Insecurity in Bennington

This class builds on the work of a Mellon Foundation grant to study an overview of the programs currently being offered in Bennington, the best practices in our area and afar, and new projects that have been developed moving forward. Understanding Food Insecurity in Bennington County 2 will develop and sustain current coordinated engagement structures  and plan new strategies in response to the research and outreach that we have accomplished. In addition to Bennington College students, the course will be advertised and open to members of the larger community who wish to enroll, enriching discussions on food insecurity and promoting the practice of the socially-engaged humanities. This course includes a basic introduction to the food system. The class will also examine case studies and theory that addresses how to shift the food system to be more ecologically sound and just. Through reading, writing, and discussion, as well as engagement with the local community, students will gain an understanding of the complexity and the promise of food as a locus for human and environmental flourishing.

This course is particularly for anyone interested in:

  • Food insecurity
  • Public action 
  • Local politics
  • Development programs

WIKPRO

Wicked Problems and Diabolical Dilemmas

Some problems are hard, and some are downright wicked. Sending astronauts to the moon and bringing them safely home—that was hard. Immigration, climate change, terrorism, and human trafficking—these are “wicked.” “Wicked problems” demand answers and resist remedies. They loom large, yet cannot be located, or pinned down. Instead, they must be “tamed,” through conflict according to agreed-upon rules, counterintuitive improvisation, and continuous trial-and-error. In that process, we encounter “diabolical dilemmas,” where we must choose between repugnant possibilities in favor of the least bad option. In this remote course, we explore this combination of wicked problems and diabolical dilemmas, drawing from history, politics, public policy, social psychology, and practical ethics. After orienting ourselves in the relevant terminology and key thinkers, we will explore how communities past and present, near and far, are managing to tame wicked problems and navigate diabolical dilemmas through a mix of creative ideas, innovative programs, participatory experimentation, and collaborative public action. We will combine general discussions, smaller group activities, student-led sessions, online posts, and collaborative projects.

This course is particularly for anyone interested in:

  • Public policy challenges
  • Everyday ethics
  • Community strategies
  • Collaborative problem-solving