International conflict and leadership, the environment, incarceration reform, a regenerative economy, an educated and emboldened citizenry—imagine an education where the world's most urgent issues are your subject matter and doing something about them is your aim.
Through coursework and fieldwork, students develop capacities essential to taking effective action in the world, whether that means identifying stakeholders and building coalitions and collaborations, honing problem-solving skills, learning the techniques of effective mediation, understanding how to effect policy decisions by lawmakers, or the myriad other components of making meaningful change in the world.
In these efforts, students work with faculty who defy categorization, people who draw on Bennington's deep artistic and analytic resources to collaborate with public and private organizations and leverage the classroom as a new kind of laboratory for creative problem-solving—work that converges in the Center for the Advancement of Public Action.
At Bennington, students work closely with faculty to design the content, structure, and sequence of their study and practice—their Plan—taking advantage of the College's resources both inside and outside the classroom to pursue their work.
Advancement of Public Action courses are designed to help you to define critical social issues in all their complexity, unpack key concepts, and hone your capacity to drive positive, lasting, and systemic change.
Your faculty will be your mentors, challenging you to ask the most interesting questions and to find the most meaningful answers to the problems you’ve chosen to tackle.
CAPA is housed in a state-of-the-art facility designed by award-winning architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. It blends the studio of the artist, the laboratory of the scientist, the think tank of the policymaker, and the town square of the citizen.
Field Work Term
During the annual Field Work Term, you bring your work to the world, confronting the challenges of implementation firsthand and refining your questions to further shape what you'll do when you get back to campus.
- The 52nd Street Project
- Bard Prison Initiative
- Berkshire Community Action Council
- California Coalition for Women Prisoners
- Center for Peacebuilding
- Hope of Children and Women
- Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice
- The Leadership Institute at The New York Open Center
- Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City
- NARAL Pro-Choice America
- The Northwest Workers Justice Project
- Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington
- Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka
- Mediation and Applied Conflict Resolution Studies, Champlain College
- Quantum Leap
- Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights
- Suncokret Center for Community Development
- Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
- Urban Justice Center Mental Health Project
- Vermont State Legislature
- China Institute
Bennington has always built deep connections between doing and knowing, action and reflection, the classroom and the world. Our alumni have long put that spirit into practice, playing leading roles.