In the following Bob suggests the need to escape from the book centered syndrome and encourage an understanding that a large number of people need and want to be life centered, not focused on the written or spoken word. He believes if higher learning were more multifaceted it would be accessible to all types of people from most cultures of the world. Students could fit in without suppressing their cultural traditions and thought modes.

He also says when higher education is motivated by a desire to increase one's income instead of improving the general well being of the community it has many serious drawbacks and fails to do what is most urgent in our fractured societies, build a desire to strengthen and improve our community and become more community oriented.

Wholelife University

Learn to be contributors to a better society
With the right educational environment and with motivated students it is possible to develop outstanding, valuable adults regardless of their previous academic performances. By valuable is meant individuals who excel themselves, not those with a drive to be better than those around them. All students are encouraged to recognize that every person is unique and thus has a special contribution to make to her or his society. which is unlike that of anyone else. They see their special qualities as gifts from life that are to be used to raise up the whole society. In other words they are not students learning a profession to earn more money in order to climb the social and economic ladder. Social advance is to them the improvement of society as a whole including the lot of the poorest and weakest along with that of the gifted and economically swell off. .

Experimenting, discovering, creating
The best educational environment is one that temps and challenges the student in many fields of development without frustrating her or him. An unsuccessful experiment should be seen as a learning experience, not a failure. Because the students are spending half or more of their time in real life pursuits they know success is actual accomplishments not just success in passing artificial exams. In such life tests grades are meaningless. .

Education means gaining greater perspective
Learning must combine the theoretical with the practical. The practical provides the immediate experience in the real world. The theoretical projects this experience in many directions, historically, geographically, ideologically, spiritually, thus developing holistic thinking..

The carpenter philosopher, the farmer bioregionalist, the weaver fiber artist, the fisherman are all environmentalists who have their feet planted solidly in reality yet also focus on distant stars. They see life in perspective. They connect the past and future with the present be viewing life as a continuum. They relate their immediate area with the larger community and that with other parts of the world. To them life is an art. Every act, every things can be made beautiful with the right attitude. Song, music, sculpting, designing are expressions of the beauty in life. As a result of their superior education they see life with a more universal perspective. Like nocturnal animals who can see with wave lengths invisible to our eyes their minds are tuned to a wider band of understanding..

A holistic learning environment gives every personality room to flourish
Their education is holistic. Each aspects blends into others aspects around them as the hues of the rainbow meld into each other creating a harmonious, multicolored unity. They move easily from growing their own vegetables and maintaining their living and study quarters and grounds to laboratory and research work, to producing things of value, to learning how to manage in a harmonious creative community of students and adult mentors. This broad based education, abounding with experiments, permits the excelling of many types of students. Thus no one type feels superior to the others. One may be gifted with plants, another with research, another with manual arts, another with interpersonal relations or drama or music. Each has respected unique qualities to contribute to the community and the satisfaction that flows from this giving and succeeding...

Productivity makes the university self supporting
The Wholelife University needs no great subsidies because it is a working-learning self supporting community. An essential part of the students' learning comes from practicing the art of producing quality products and needs. The students raise all their own food while learning biology, ecology, horticulture, for example. By earning their way through learning endeavours students gain the self confidence the comes from being self reliant. They are not cut off as in the academic world but are intimately connected with the natural world and learn the realitiies of the economic world of their society. They learn architecture as they build their houses, both for the campus and to sell. They learn audio-video by making valuable CDs for the university to use and to sell. They learn child psychology by running a children's farm school, special summer camps, by running a school for the campus children. They might also establish a children's fillage for children from disrupted families. And they produce learning equipment to market..

They learn journalism by producing and selling their own weekly world news magazine. Their fellow students working around the world are also correspondents for it. They learn sustainable energy systems by building solar cookers, and wind generators. They learn economics by running their own businesses. They become skilled managers by taking responsibility, side by side with their experienced mentors, fo their campus communities and the various campuses enterprises and programs. The University is not managed for them. Their is no maintanance crew. They are the ccrews and managers, bookkeeplers and planners..

None of them are stuck in routine mass production programs though everyone may take a stint at an assembly line task. The work is interesting also because all the enterprises produce innovative, not run of the mill, products. The buildings they produce are solar, nature friendly, often using experimental designs and materials such as Portland cement-straw molded elements. Their gardens are intensive, companion planted, highly mulched, earth worm stimulated plots. All aspects of thier life develop better natural health-giving methods. Their south wall solar solarium-greenhouse lean-tos on most buildings buildings, provide good food at their elbows and even produce exotic fruits and help heat the buildigs like a solar cooker.. They where, in the coldest weather, students can experiment and or just enjoy the fragrance of the plants and flowers. Everything they do is some kind of creative trial aimed to develop more gentle and better methods to accommodate our crowded planet with sustainable methods. Thus what they sell is unique -- on the cutting edge of progress, both useful and environmentally friendly..

Independent thinking
Because they are self supporting they are beholden to no money source. No financial supporter can threaten their independent thinking, their commitment to an education for humanity that examines the failures of our money powered dominated societies to serve the people, the environment and our beautiful potentialities..

No glorified high school continuation
Becasue they learn to be responsible adults by working as adults throughout their education when they are ready to go out into the world they are so well rounded, employers compete to hire them. Or, if they prefer to be indipendent, are prepared to start their own enterprises such as artists who know how to market their creations. Or they may become managers of cooperative enterprises. .

Entry prerequisites are very different
What kind of young people would be best suited for such a program? A high academic standing would be less important than high motivation and a readiness to do practical and physical work. Indipendent intitiative would be more valuable than pleasing the professor and toeing the institutional line. Some might be people with, what the academic world calls "learning disabilities" because they are not book-centered or may be dyslexic. .

From other cultures.
They may come from other cultural backgrounds that don't fit them for the white intelectualisms of academia. Many might be from Latin-American villages or from Africa or Asia, -- young people without facility in English or in American mentality. They might be American minority students who haven't the money for college or the academic twist of the white community but are keen students in their own rights. .

Qualities needed
They would need to be socially adjusted enough to become part of a harmonious team/community. They would be of all races and various ages with a large number not from the white dominant class. ./

Eager to work with their hands and minds
A positive attitude towards work of all kinds would be a requirement, also a feeling that manual work was not menial, that physical work was not beneath them, that work is a creative process when one has the right attitude. .

Eager to learn
An eagerness to learn, not to get a diploma and higher wages, but to know the creative satisfaction of gaining a broader understanding of life, of society, of art, of history and technology so as to better serve one's community would be the most desirable motivation for all students. .

Tuition
There would be no tuition for any student since they would be learning by being productive One might say they all had working scholarships, not only those who came from humble families but everyone. The structure would blot out discriminatin between wealth and class. They would probably graduate in six or seven years, A longer stay would be no burden on the program since they would be carrying their own load the whole way. Those who wanted to stay for a "graduate course" could build their own graduate accommodations along side, and run their own program in harmony with the university. .

Diploma
Proof of their education would be a long document describing many of the skills, and the knowledge they had gained. As the reputation of the Wholelife Universities spread they would be sought after as exceptionally valuable workers in many fields such as -- educators, entrepreneurs, research scientists, planning specialists, and community development experts, designers and artists in every field. .

Campus
The university would be composed of many small colleges ranging from 100 to 150 students in each, the size the Danish folk high schools have demonstrated makes possible a managable learning community. Bigger would create an impersonal, institutional atmosphere -- smaller would lack needed diversity. The intimate size makes it easier for the students to learn to democratically manage their living facilities and their activities. . ..

Each college would function as a kind of village-community. Besides the students there might be an elderly couple who acted as grand parent-mentors and a couple faculty families. There could be 10 to 30 colleges each one under the care of the students, mentors and faculty living in it. Students would be free to participate in the learning activities of any college, and would be encouraged to do so, no matter which one they lived in. .

Products and services produced by each college would be a sharing of products by the entire university. Thus the income from the buildings constructed by the architecture students would go to the entire university budget. The agricultural students would produce much of the food for the whole university and also sell some. The income from the sale of the audio-visual educational CD's would likewise go to the whole university. Thus, although each college ran in some way autonomously, they would all share a common economy. .

Instructors
Each college would have at least one intellectuallly trained professor and also an instructor with years of practical experience in his/her field. A great deal of the theoretical learning might be without lecturers:-- through reading, through tapes and CD's of outstanding thinkers, through individual research, through study groups and trips and from living and working abroad. . This would get the students in the habit of self-study which would carry on after they left school. The large selection of recorded lectures would include some of the greatest scientists, thinkers and educators of the world. In this way all the students would have the best thinkers and educators at their fingertips even though the university had only a few professors. it might thus even have a high academic standing without a large faculty..

The entire university might gather once a week for a special program or speaker or student production in the campus theater. .

One or several years abroad would be part of every student's experience. .

The University would help each student find a working position in another country. After working and adapting to that different culture for a few months the student would make a study trip in the region and write a detailed report of her or his observations. The students abroad would be in correspondence with the faculty person they chose. Each student abroad would also be a correspondent for the university world news..

First year
For the first year or two students would not specialize but would be given the opportunity to experience different lines of work and study. They would also begin to immerse themselves in the broader perspectives all university students should gain -- in history, literature, art and science - by going to different lectures, reading different books, participating in their own study groups etc. .

Will you be a supporter?
There would be no shortage of students. Probably no difficulty in finding instructors and professors either because it would have an exceptionally inspring atmosphere. . The main hurdle is getting the land, and building the first buildings. This is an invitation for all to join in helping to get this venture on the way. It could be in contributing to the primary financing. It could be contributing books, and educational equipment and all kinds of tools and equipment or other things. Perhaps you would like to give a couple months to come and teach or help with construction.

Address: Bob Luitweiler, P O Box 28808, Belllingham, WA 98228