School within a school: MIT Concourse

Published in MIT News on Dec 10, 2012 by SHASS

Prof. Anne McCantsThe single best thing about college for MIT Professor of History Anne McCants was "exploring ideas ravenously." It was like being in a candy store for four years," she says. Now, as newly appointed director of Concourse, a learning community for MIT freshmen, McCants says her goal is to give today's students the same heady experience of intellectual adventure and discovery within the context of a supportive group.

A welcoming portal to MIT

Recognized as one of MIT's finest teachers (she is a MacVicar Faculty Fellow), McCants understands that MIT, like many elite colleges, can be an "overwhelming or even frightening environment" for newcomers. That is why she is passionate about making Concourse a deeply welcoming portal to MIT — a year-long opportunity to take the edge off the anxiety and loneliness many freshmen experience.

"We want to create the kind of community you might have with people you've known a long time, something an individual might have difficulty jump-starting on their own," says McCants, who is also an award-winning historian and the housemaster for the Burton Conner residence hall....

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