I’m lucky to be able to teach at a school I really believe in. I’ve written before about the distinctiveness of Shimer College’s pedagogy and about all the ways it cuts against the trends toward narrow over-specialization and one-size-fits-all pedagogy at mainstream universities. While many associate programs like Shimer’s with elite, exclusive schools, we have always tried to reach beyond that well-heeled population, in the belief that a liberal education is for everyone. In recent years, our student body has been particularly enriched by transfer students, particularly from the City Colleges of Chicago — a shift that has already made Shimer the most racially and ethnically diverse Great Books school in the country.
Now Shimer is doubling down on its commitment to transfer students with the Dangerous Optimist’s Scholarship, a new two-year, full-tuition scholarship for transfer students who join Shimer in the spring semester. The title comes from the semi-official slogan coined by our president, Susan Henking, and the scholarship competition has a unique structure. Instead of submitting credentials, students must demonstrate their ability and enthusiasm for doing what we do at Shimer — reading, writing, and talking about significant, challenging texts.
I encourage anyone who knows a potential transfer student to let them know about Shimer and about the opportunity to apply for this scholarship. If you are able to donate, this form allows you to designate that you want your donation to go toward the fund for this scholarship — or if you prefer, you can also call Mary Pat Barbarie, our Director of Development, at 312-235-3539.