Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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p. vii

List of Figures

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p. viii

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Foreword

Elaine Jarvik

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pp. ix-x

When I was growing up, I was captivated by a book called The Family of Man, a collection of black-and- white photographs of people from all over the world caught in the act of praying and playing, marrying and mourning. On the page that I returned to again and again were unsettling portraits...

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

Should you read this book? Yes, if you care about education, especially education in the humanities—history, philosophy, art, literature—those subjects that help us understand the full reach of human experience and expand the ways we see the world. “Only by studying this world can we...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

We walk across a large plaza toward a long, graceful ramp leading to the rooftop garden of the Salt Lake City Public Library. With its plaza and amphitheater outdoors and bookstores and coffee shops inside, this new library isn’t like the ones the students in our group have known. Before...

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1. From New York to Utah

Jean Cheney

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pp. 9-19

One November morning in 1998, Harper’s contributing editor and writer Earl Shorris stood at a podium in a hotel meeting room in Washington, DC. He had been invited to address a session of the annual conference of the Federation of State Humanities Councils.1 Organizers of the meeting had asked...

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2. Creating Venture

Jean Cheney

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pp. 20-32

From the beginning, the Venture Course was based on the original, 1995 model of a Clemente Course but with differences. To start, we decided against using the Clemente name. It made sense in New York City, where the Roberto Clemente Community Center is known, but not in Utah. And...

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3. Literature: Improvisation

Jeff Metcalf

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pp. 33-48

Eleven years ago, at the end of my first literature class for the Venture Course, I was visiting with students outside Horizonte as they slowly drifted off to catch the bus or light rail to head home. One of our students, a middle-aged woman who had been on the edge of the conversation, approached me...

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4. Art History: From Sight to Insight

Hikmet Sidney Loe

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pp. 49-59

When my four Venture colleagues invited me to join them to teach art history, I was elated. Having admired this program for years, I was excited to embark on a new teaching experience. Then the questions began to bubble up. Could I make art history come alive for these nontraditional adult students...

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5. Critical Writing: With Heart and Mind

Jean Cheney

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pp. 60-78

“I know why I write,” says Marcos. “It’s to say what I think, my opinions, for the sheer satisfaction of it. I guess you could say it’s for my ego.” Marcos flashes a grin as he looks around at his classmates for their reaction. He told us at orientation that he is living in a homeless shelter. Young, thin...

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6. Philosophy: Thinking for Life

Bridget M. Newell

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pp. 79-94

Jean and I sit at a small table near the window at the Coffee Garden in Salt Lake City. It is spring 2004. My mind races as she describes the new Venture Course in the Humanities. How awesome would it be to offer a philosophy course to students who would not otherwise be given the chance...

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7. American History: Preparing Voices for Democracy

L. Jackson Newell

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pp. 95-114

Tom is about forty, angular and slightly rumpled. He speaks deliberately to his peers in my American history class. “For this week’s assignment, we were supposed to interview and write about the memories of two people who lived through World War II. Between my work as a bartender and...

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8. Challenges

Jeff Metcalf

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pp. 115-121

When we started Venture, we thought we understood the difficulties students might have navigating the course, and much of what we imagined might happen, did. Some became ill or a family member became incapacitated, and they had to leave the course to provide care. Or the work became...

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9. Going Public: Venture Students Speak

Jean Cheney

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pp. 122-135

During the winter of 2006, the first year of the Venture Course in Utah, a documentary photographer in Salt Lake City approached the faculty with an idea. Kent Miles often works with oral historians to create exhibits and books featuring stories that have been missing from the record. In...

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10. Reverberations: Venture’s Impact

Jean Cheney

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pp. 136-146

When we began the Venture Course, we had only a vague idea of its potential impact. We hoped the course would be meaningful to our students as it had been to those taking the first Clemente Course. When we were growing up, the five of us who teach in Venture had largely taken...

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Epilogue

L. Jackson Newell

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pp. 147-150

A peek into our annual graduation ceremony concludes this tale of Venture’s first decade. The ceremony takes place in a bright auditorium on the Westminster College campus, but this venue is the only constant in graduation exercises from year to year. Everything else about our final event varies...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 151-154

There would have been no Venture Course without the help of many people and organizations that stoutly believe that the humanities belong to everyone. We are hugely indebted to Earl Shorris for his brilliant conception of the course in New York City in 1995 and the personal interest he took in...

Bibliography

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pp. 155-158

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The Authors

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pp. 159-160

Jean Cheney joined the staff of the Utah Humanities Council in 1997 after a career teaching writing and American literature in high schools and universities around the country. In 2005, she founded the Venture Course, now in three Utah locations, and is grateful for the students and faculty who...