Thanks to a generous donation from the Albano family, the Valente Center is able to offer support to Bentley undergraduates eager to deepen their understanding of the arts and sciences by organizing their own Student Seminars. These self-directed, not-for-credit seminars will allow small groups of students to explore their interest in drama, music, art, history, film, politics, government, math, and other topics clearly related to the arts and sciences. These seminars may be inspired by courses that you have already taken or by subjects that are not currently offered at Bentley.
Participants in a Student Seminar could, for example, propose to:
- Read and discuss novels related to the experience of newcomers to the United States from the Caribbean, such as Julia Alvarez's How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents and Edwidge Danticat's Breath, Eyes, Memory.
- Study photography and visit exhibits at local galleries and museums, such as the Museum of Fine Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art
- Study a genre of music, such as classical, jazz, or hip hop, and then go to a series of concerts or performances at local venues such as Boston Symphony Orchestra or Wally's Café
- Arrange for a master class to be taught by a local professional artist
- Study, discuss, and see plays presented by the American Repertory Theatre, or films playing at the Brattle Theater or the Harvard Film Archive in Cambridge
- Study the history and culture of Ghana and invite a Ghanain speaker to campus
- Visit, read about, and discuss historical sites along the Freedom Trail or the Black Heritage Trail in Boston
- Read about transcendentalism and explore natural and/or historic places, such as Mass Audubon or Walden Pond
- Read and discuss selected writings on a topic related to politics or science, such as the science of evolution, the efficacy of gun control laws, or the sustainability efforts of campuses around the country
- Study Brazilian art and culture, and visit Brazilian cultural centers and festivals in the area
Deadline: Late March for fall seminars; late October for spring seminars
Successful student groups will receive funding to cover costs incidental to the seminar, such as the purchase of books, admission to the theatre or museum, or registration for a conference. For seminar meetings on campus, the Valente Center will make room arrangements and pay for food and refreshments. Funds are limited and support will be awarded on a competitive basis. To maximize the number of seminars that can be funded, no seminar may include more than ten students.
Each proposal should be 4 pages maximum and include the following information;
- Intellectual Goal: A clear description of the intellectual goal of the student seminar, and a statement about what works you plan to read, study and/or view, and what questions you plan to consider in relation to you proposed topic. This section of the proposal should also indicate the discipline closest to the proposed activities- e.g. history, political science, natural science, mathematics, philosophy, literature, psychology, media studies, or sociology
- Proposed Activities: A clear description and timeline for all activities proposed, including dates for on-campus meetings and dates and locations for any off-campus events
- A Detailed Budget: an itemized estimate of expenses for each element of the proposal, including food and beverage costs, and the total cost of the student seminar (not to exceed $2500).
- A Letter of Commitment: signed by all students who will participate in the seminar.
Those interested in applying should feel free to contact the Director of the Valente Center for advice and feedback as you write your proposal and design seminars that are both intellectually rigorous and fun! We would be happy to supply you with a recent successful application and/or designate a mentor who may provide additional guidance as your prepare your application.
Seminar Groups selected for support will present a brief final report (2-3 pages) on their work to the Valente Center and may be asked to visit selected classes to tell students about their seminar attend an open house and/or share their experience with first year students during first week. The seminars are to be created and directed by students, for students. Faculty members DO NOT participate, but a faculty member may be assigned to you to provide guidance on logistics, seminar content, etc.
Our Thanks go to Diane and Dennis Albano for making the student seminars possible.