Sphere College Project

A New World of Learning

Connecting Dots

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There are many, many dots to connect. Here are a few:

We spend an enormous amount of money on incarcerating lots of people because they don’t have the skills to successfully contribute to our society. If they gained these skills, then we would save lots of tax money. The skills include the ability to communicate effectively with other people, possessing a good work ethic because they know their actions have an affect on the lives other people, recognition that treating other people well means that their own lives will be better, basic math skills for doing things like balancing checkbooks and calculating the amount of concrete needed to pour a foundation, and more generally, acknowledgement of when they don’t have enough knowledge to accomplish something.

And just as a musician selects the next thing they will practice to be the thing they have the most difficulty with, we need to provide effective education for the least educated members of society so we will have the most impact.

To appeal to this segment of the population that is already highly financially stressed, they need to know that they can access this education at no cost.

How can this possibly work? Well, there are already some successful models of high-quality higher education out there. Some of which I am aware include The Curtis Institute of Music, The Cooper Union and The Colburn School.

How are these institutions successful? They depend on alumni support, which Sphere College will do when we get to the point of having successful alumni who will want to give back to ensure that others have the same opportunity to attend Sphere College that they did. It’s like collecting tuition after students graduate and have the money rather than having them take out huge loans, creating more stress in their lives. Education and confronting oneself can be stressful enough in themselves!

How did these schools get started? They had benefactors who wanted to do something good for society. It seems to me there are two primary ways this could happen for Sphere College. First, by having lots of people give a little money, then we use that to get to the next level by writing grants. (BTW, for all of you who may be thinking “Why don’t you just write a grant?”, we’re working on it, but grants generally take a great deal of time and work to write, to be accepted and for the funding to make its way to the recipient. We do not yet have the infrastructure in place to do this work, so we must exist on individual contributions at this time.) Second, we could be put in contact with a benefactor who wants to have a positive impact on society through a sensible education program. This person just needs to become aware of the existence of the College.

If you have already contributed to Sphere College, we thank you. If not, please take a moment to visit the “DONATE!” tab to find out how to contribute to Sphere College. Any amount is greatly appreciated, and demonstrates broad support! And if you know of anyone who may be in a position to make a major gift, please connect us. I would be delighted to have the opportunity to answer any questions such an individual may have about the current status and future vision of the College.

IN THE CLASS we ended our series on Crucial Conversations. Particularly gratifying was to see Virginia sensibly employing some of the techniques from this study during our recent Steering Committee meeting in which we found ourselves in the middle of just such a conversation.

Next up: Chapter 1 from the book Looking for Spinoza. It seems a good follow-on to the crucial conversations topic.


Author: Richard Liston

Musician, computer scientist, educator. I'm creating a new educational environment for adults.

One thought on “Connecting Dots

  1. I wanted to share one idea that you may or may not already know about. Have you seen this website? http://www.kickstarter.com

    It’s possible that Sphere College could use this to fundraiser for specific projects or for the College overall. I’ve contributed to a few projects through that site and it’s very simple.

    Of course, people can also just donate through your site, but kickstarter provides a handy way to advertise, too. It’s easy to spread the word through social media sites, etc.

    (And no – I’m not affiliated with kickstarter in any way! It just seemed like something possibly useful to you.)

    I just moved to Phoenixville a couple months ago and I think Sphere College sounds like an excellent program. I’m wondering if there is a way I can contribute at some point in the future.

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