A Message From the Dean

img-87Welcome to UX.  This is a place where everybody – no matter how much money you have, no matter your age or life experience, no matter how much education you have, or don’t have – can develop and learn new things.

UX is not a traditional university; it is a new crossroads for learning.  The whole city is its campus.  It takes place at the All Stars Project headquarters on 42nd Street and it also takes place in corporate boardrooms and back stage at Broadway theaters, in your neighborhood and at your school, even in your living room if you want it to. It has no tuition and no grades. And it’s the school for higher learning that I’ve always dreamed of.

I grew up poor in a Black town outside of Philadelphia, and I was the first in my family to go to college. I received my Ph.D. in developmental psychology, but only then did I really begin to discover that development is a foundation for learning and that it takes place when we can go outside of our daily life experiences and expectations. Scientific research has proven that kids learn best when they have richer lives outside of school; taking trips, visiting cultural institutions, meeting different kinds of people, having a chance to try new things.  That’s just the kind of thing we do at UX, and it’s true for adults as well as young people.  Those experiences help us develop – and you can’t learn without development . When we develop, we not only learn better, but we can play a more active role in shaping our own lives and that of our communities, our city, our country and our world.

The old style university-from medieval times to those “accredited” by the Board of Regents today-is made up of colleges and schools; it holds workshops and seminars; it brings in guest speakers and teachers; it puts on plays and it publishes books; and it brings together the most forward thinkers on a range of disciplines, who are exploring new ideas about the humanities.  UX does all that and more.  What’s the more?  The more is development.

You see, because UX is a development institution, it isn’t just about teaching you what happened in the past, or training you in skills to get a job.  We can do that, but what we’re really interested in is all of us creating something new together.  UX has trained development coaches to help you customize specific programs and activities. You can even be trained to be a development coach yourself!

The “X” in UX stands for the unknown.  What exactly our UX is or might become is unknown.  It depends on what you – its students, teachers, researchers and donors – create together.

Lenora B. Fulani, Ph.D.

Dean, UX

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