Catalina Island could host Chapman University classes by next school year – Orange County Register
Chapman University students have a new study abroad option: Catalina Island.
Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is teaming up with the Catalina Island Museum in Avalon to create a program for its students to take courses on the island starting next school year and gain real-world experience by documenting the region’s rich history for exhibits and research.
“We always want to send a message that it is not impossible to major in the arts, humanities and social sciences,” said Jennifer Keene, the dean of the college. “You learn valuable skills that are fully transferable across multiple careers, and one of the ways you learn it is through this type of partnership with these museums.”
After the museum moved from a small screen in Catalina Casino to its new $ 9.2 million home in 2016, its staff have started looking for a university to partner with, CEO Julie Perlin Lee said.
“Due to the size of the museum in the past, we have not been able to play a role in education, which is a major goal and function of most institutions,” she said. . “Our museum is transforming for the first time into an institution that embraces scholarship.”
And because the museum remains relatively small, Chapman officials expect students to be able to play a larger role in shaping exhibits than they would at larger institutions, Keene said.
“This is not just a class project, but they will have the satisfaction of seeing their work integrated into exhibitions that will run over several months,” she said. “The impact that students can have seems to be much more magnified. “
Students could lead tours of the museum or create an oral history of key moments in Catalina Island while taking courses related to their work, Keene said. “We are looking to determine what is feasible. “
Catalina Island has been a popular excursion spot for students of marine biology or oceanography. But the island also has a rich history, said Perlin Lee, for example, spies from the Office of Strategic Services, a precursor to the CIA, trained in the region in the 1940s.
Through the partnership with Chapman, the museum could document and share the history of the island with a much wider audience, she said.
Keene said the program will likely start with just a few students. It remains to be seen whether the students will stay on the island full-time or make multiple trips.
For Donald Wise, a Newport Beach resident and museum board member who helped kick off the talks for the partnership, the program has great potential, he said. “There is just a plethora of really exciting opportunities for Chapman and the museum.”