Council on Shared Learning

The Council on Shared Learning (CSL) is tasked with identifying academic experiences and goals that are to be shared by all students at The Cooper Union. As part of its charge, the CSL will engage the broader community in a discussion of opportunities across the Schools and a re-envisioning of the role of Humanities and Social Sciences to prepare students for active democratic and global citizenship and service, to inform and enrich students’ professional practices, to foster imaginative and critical thinking, and to serve as a standard bearer for an integrated liberal[*] and professional education. The CSL will then advise the President and Cabinet on the shared literacies, inquiries, and proficiencies in a holistic education that serve to make students’ time at The Cooper Union relevant, compelling, and distinctive, regardless of their professional field of study. It will also make recommendations about new ways to help students learn and how the faculties and academic programs can be best shaped and resourced to meet the shared learning goals.

This initiative was launched in Spring 2019 in response to the Middle States Commission recommendations; a review of the concerns raised by the Joint Student Council, The HSS Movement: Protest to Decolonize our Curricula, and various informal student groups; and consultation with the deans and the faculty for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The CSL is expected to produce an interim report in May 2019 for discussion and consideration by the cabinet and the faculties. A final report by November 2019 will inform the adoption of new institutional level learning objectives and further program development by the curriculum committees of the Schools and HSS.

CSL Members

The work of the CSL is focused on inclusivity and engagement, informed by the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and seeking the counsel of outside experts to examine new models of curricula development and organization. Membership consists of faculty, students, and administrative staff who have been nominated and selected with input from all of the deans, the Joint Student Council, and individual School Student Councils.

The Council on Shared Learning is co-chaired by Amanda Simson, assistant professor of chemical engineering, and Raffaele Bedarida, assistant professor of art history.

Faculty members include James Lowder, adjunct assistant professor of architecture; Leslie Hewitt, assistant professor of art; Mili Shah, associate professor of math; Anne Griffin, professor of political science; Harold Ramdass, adjunct assistant professor HSS; and Claire Gunning, art and architecture librarian.

Student members include Sophie Schneider, Sanjeev Menon, and Hannah Quirk of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering; Andzelika Berestko, Dalila Oliver, and Lucas Zeeberg of the School of Art; Khadijah Coppin, Oleksiy Godz, and Chong Gu of The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture.

Members of the administration serving on the council are Chris Chamberlin, dean of students, and Kit Nicholls, director of the Writing Center, two positions that interface regularly with faculty and students in ways that are integral to the core academic programs.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.