Institute for Atlantic Studies
We live in a city and region that are rich with history, pivotal to our nation’s early beginnings and vital to its future. The history of Savannah is shared with that of the United States and many areas of the Atlantic world. Today, Savannah serves as an industrial, logistical, artistic, cultural, and scientific catalyst in our region and beyond.
The Institute for Atlantic Studies is a signature program in our Upper School composed of two primary areas of focus: the Institute itself serves as a hub and incubator for place-based and hands-on learning and teaching across disciplines, as well as co-curricular community engagement, partnerships, and service. Each year a different central theme will encourage students and teachers to explore critical issues through the lens of the Atlantic World.
Secondly, the Institute hosts the Atlantic Studies Seminar. This is a year-long elective course, facilitated by the IAS Director and available on application to rising 10-12 grade students. IAS Fellows are expected to dig deep into topic(s) which are of particular interest to them, and in the process take ownership of their own learning. Fellows’ work culminates in a capstone project of their own choosing, and a demonstration of learning which is presented to the School and the greater Savannah community each April.
Broadly speaking, the Institute encourages learning and teaching beyond traditional boundaries, through programming that advances the Mission of the School, and which takes full advantage of our location and its wealth of resources.
Atlantic Studies Seminar
The IAS Seminar is an opportunity for students to explore the interdisciplinary possibilities of hands-on learning. Students in grades 9-11 can apply to become Fellows, and if accepted to the program go on to design research and service activities which promote social and civic engagement. Learn more below.
Course DescriptionThe Atlantic Institute Seminar is a selective, pass-fail elective course open to grades 10-12. Selected students - ‘Institute Fellows’ - engage in a year-long program facilitated by the Institute for Atlantic Studies Director.
The IAS Seminar is an opportunity for students to explore the interdisciplinary possibilities of hands-on learning in the specific context of our own location: Savannah and the coastal southeastern United States. Institute Fellows engage in campus and community-based learning experiences, focussing on a sense of place and taking full advantage of our city, region, and beyond - both in-person and using virtual technologies. Students collaborate and creatively explore critical issues through the lens of the Atlantic World, interacting with experts and local partners. Fellows also design and implement service activities and promote social and civic engagement while developing intercultural competencies.
Course content explores many aspects of an annual theme, and students are expected to dig deep into the topic(s) which are of particular interest to them, in the process taking ownership of their own learning. Fellows’ work includes ‘demonstrations of learning’, and culminates in a capstone project of their own choosing, which is presented to the School and the greater Savannah community in April.
Fall Semester: Learning in the fall is focused on Savannah’s place in the Atlantic World. How have the cross-currents of Atlantic trade, history, or culture shaped the features of our city and surrounding area? How do we situate Savannah in the wider web of trans-Atlantic connections? What makes our city unique? We will look at four thematic topics: Food, Water, People, & Trade.
Spring Semester: In the spring students connect and compare multiple sites in the Atlantic World. We examine the various forces that have connected and integrated different places, and explore the cultural reverberations of large-scale historical processes.
Enrollment: Interested students complete an application during the Upper School course selection process in the spring. Applicants provide a statement of interest, details of referees, and examples of previous work, and are interviewed by members of the IAS Advisory Group.
Learning ApproachThe course uses a competency-based learning approach in which students build both IAS competencies and course-specific ones. Throughout the year, we assess outcomes tied to each competency to track student progress with the goal of students leaving the course able to use and apply these competencies in other Country Day courses and beyond.
AIS Core CompetenciesFellows will learn in practical, hands-on ways, which include the following core competencies:
- Examine issues of local, global & cultural significance
- Understand & appreciate the perspectives & worldviews of others
- Engage in open, appropriate & effective interactions across cultures
- Take action for collective well-being and sustainable development