At Williams we believe that bringing together students and professors in small groups produces extraordinary academic outcomes. Our distinctive Oxford-style tutorial classes—in which two students are guided by a professor in deep exploration of a single topic—are a prime example. Each week the students take turns developing independent work—an essay, a problem set, a piece of art—and critiquing their partner’s work. Focused on close reading, writing, and oral defense of ideas, more than 60 tutorials a year are offered across the curriculum, with titles like “Aesthetic Outrage,” “Financial Crises: Causes and Cures,” and “Genome Sciences: At the Cutting Edge.”
The benefits of participation in the Berkeley Prize are extraordinary, not only for those students who receive an award. Involvement in the program catalyzes all students to explore their design ethics, ideas for addressing social and environmental challenges, and hopes for the future. Throughout this process, students are encouraged to clearly articulate their professional goals and identify their personal paths forward. Not surprisingly, many have gone on to have profound impact on people and places, through their activism and practice.