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Division II Requirements

In addition to carrying out the work defined by the Division II contract, every Hampshire student must complete two academic requirements prior to completing Division II work: Multiple Cultural Perspectives and Community Engagement and Learning (CEL-2).

Multiple Cultural Perspectives
Hampshire College is committed to the principle that a liberal arts education should include a serious engagement with multiple cultural perspectives. The Multiple Cultural Perspectives requirement is to be an integral part of the set of questions that guide the Division II at its inception (Division II contract) and completion (Division II portfolio). In consultation with their Division II committee, students will fulfill the requirement through substantial engagement with one or more of the following critical issues: non-Western perspectives; race in the United States; and relations of knowledge and power. At the completion of the concentration, students will present the results of their work on the Multiple Cultural Perspectives requirement in their Division II portfolio, including course work and/or independent research. Students will also describe in their retrospective essay (or elsewhere) the impact those explorations have on their concentration as a whole. This requirement will be described and assessed as part of the Division II evaluation. 

Critical Issues for Multiple Cultural Perspectives Requirement
In satisfying this requirement, students can choose to address one or more of the following critical issues. However, students are encouraged to integrate all three issues into their Division II:

  1. Non-Western perspectives: Study of non-Western peoples and cultures helps students to understand better the cultural diversity of the interconnected world at large. An intellectually vigorous engagement with non-Western perspectives expands the way one comprehends the world. To achieve this goal, students must incorporate study of non-Western peoples and cultures into their Division II.
  2. Race in the United States: Study of the history, politics, and culture of race in the United States and elsewhere will enable our students to understand better the conditions that underlie discrepancies of power that often fall along racial lines. Serious academic study of theories and analyses pertaining to “race” offers a more critical approach to students’ education. To achieve this goal, students must incorporate study of the roles that race and racism play in American culture and society into their Division II.
  3. Knowledge and power: The influence of discrepancies in power and privilege is hidden from most scholarly discourse, where the canons of academic disciplines are apt to be presented as neutral and universal. Study of how academic knowledge may be shaped by relations of power and difference will help our students think more critically about the processes under which intellectual or artistic perspectives can be either privileged or marginalized. To achieve this goal, students must incorporate study of the relations between power and knowledge, in regard to either non-Western perspectives or race, into their Division II.

Community Engagement and Learning (CEL-2)
In keeping with our educational mission, Hampshire expects every student to contribute something of value to the larger college community and encourages them to advance the cause of social justice and the well-being of others outside Hampshire. A commitment to engaged scholarship also emerges from Hampshire’s distinctive pedagogy, which stresses the importance of critical inquiry and the development of knowledge that enables students to participate responsibly in a complex world. The Community Engagement and Learning requirement (CEL-2) encourages students to design multiple opportunities to build community on campus and seek innovative ways to help address critical needs as defined by communities and organizations outside the College. Off-campus projects are negotiated collaboratively between students and community organizations and should be founded on reciprocity and sustainability. Hampshire encourages students to integrate into their academic work, through documentation and reflection, the knowledge gained from extending their learning venues beyond the classroom. The requirement sets minimum standards for completion, but students are encouraged to engage in socially responsible activities and take advantage of the opportunity to incorporate engaged scholarship and learning throughout their Hampshire education.

Working closely with their academic advisors, Division II students will design and fulfill their Community Engagement and Learning requirement before the conclusion of their Division II. Engaging in a sustained, semester-long equivalent (about 40 hours) of community-based learning, students will demonstrate social responsibility by meeting agreed-upon goals defined by an organization, person, or community on or, more typically, off campus. To the extent possible, these contributions and the engaged learning that results will complement or in some way further a student’s academic course of study, and may take many forms. Typical examples are: 

  • Internships (in local, national, or international settings) that are arranged through a course, through a Hampshire program, or independently
  • Various forms of mentoring in one’s area of growing expertise (e.g., teaching assistant position, ESL, or other types of tutoring)
  • Other types of applied work that require students to utilize and build upon skills and expertise related to their divisional work (e.g., campus organizations, apprenticeships with NGOs, museums, or schools)

All students must carefully negotiate their proposed form of community engagement with their Division II committee before initiating the activity in order to determine if it meets the criteria and spirit of this requirement. Integration of the Division II Community Engagement and Learning requirement into the student’s area of concentration is desirable, but is not required. 

Students are expected to engage in ongoing reflection on the relationship between their own learning goals and community needs as defined by the individual(s) or organization(s) with whom they are working. A reflective essay that describes the work accomplished, the need(s) being addressed, the learning that took place from this experience and where applicable, the integration of this learning with the academic focus of a student’s concentration will be documented on TheHub. Please see how to document the CEL-2.