Another aspect of Bob – he was a very close evaluator of what he did, and this is what led to these experiential programs, which were completely different from the classic political philosophy classroom approach that he came to Williams with. To make a real shift in your pedagogy in mid career, why did he do that? That I know. He said. “My political philosophy is simply not reaching to the inside of a lot of these students. They’re really not incorporating it into their way of thinking. They’re not really letting it touch the core of these students. It’s too abstract, it’s just too abstract. I need something where we can still have these ideas out here but there’s some kind of experience.” In other words, these young men are just too inexperienced to deal in a functional, meaningful way with a lot of these ideas. They’re too divorced from their experience. So we’ve invented these experiential education programs to try to deal with that. So they would have these ideas but they would go out in the field together and they would have real experiences and Bob would know what those experiences were because he set them up and he was there with them. Then they would discuss some of these more high level ideas in terms of the actual experiences which they had shared.

David Booth,
Former Political Science Professor