The SMB Area of Focus offers a unique pedagogical model as a "crossroads" for spiritual leaders and thinkers from around the globe. SMB prioritizes experiential learning interfaced with science, insights from world traditions and diverse spiritual practices.
The SMB Area of Focus' pedagogical model offers three integral components: Cohort, Coursework, Journeying. The SMB Area of Focus' pedagogical model is centered on its Cohort whereby students enter and graduate in their Incoming Year with their same cohort. Along with traditional Coursework during this first year, a Journey framework is applied to integrate academic knowledge with personal experience of spirituality and to illuminate their professional path. The cohort is therefore integral to the spirit of peer collaboration through coursework and journeying. By the end, students will have clarified and expanded their vision to include service and contribution through spirituality.
The cohort includes diverse students embodying the very crossroads described above. SMB students come from near and far to journey and learn together in deep engagement through coursework and conversation. Each year’s SMB cohort is invited to two SMBI Intensive Seminars (Summer & Winter) for immersive exposure to SMBI coursework also offered throughout the year.
The cohort is first initiated in Summer and then reunions again in Winter with additional touch-points via Journey Groups. Students who participate in the Summer Intensive have the unique opportunity to remain together for the entire duration of their studies within the Area of Focus, consistent with SMB's core value of Journeying.
The cohort model will promote a sense of community and deeper collaboration, as well as offer a range of diverse perspectives, support work outside of school, and create an expansive personal and professional network.
Teachers College faculty will closely work with students taking hybrid instruction, which includes both electives and independent studies. These courses will employ recent innovative and cutting-edge developments in the field of higher education.
This integrative approach will include a hybrid learning approach, which links the summer classroom time with a computer-mediated group and individual activities. Implementation of blended instruction combines the best aspects of both practices, collaborating with the technology fellows, and drawing from the work of visionary thought-leaders at Teachers College to work with faculty and students of the Area of Focus to re-imagine how learning is viewed.