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Building a new kind of school -- 2012 May 06

Huge changes are in the winds for us here at Mendicant University. After two years of running our program in private, we have decided to finally tear down our walls and open up to all those who wish to get involved. But in order to do that, we need to radically alter the way we do things.

The old Mendicant University was centered around courses, and our core skills course in particular was our flagship offering. While that course was truly unique and offered an excellent experience for both its students and instructors, it was extremely costly to run. To be precise, a single three week session came at a cost of over 1000 person-hours. This alone may help explain why we chose to strictly limit the growth of our program over the last couple years, but if you look at our other courses and projects, you’ll find that they also involved huge commitments for all those involved.

Over time, our surplus of ambition caught up with us. We ended up with a community that wanted to continue to learn and grow together, but had a hard time keeping up with things because our projects became more complex and more demanding over time. While we continued to provide good learning experiences and meaningful contributions to various projects, we managed to do so more by brute-force effort than anything else. As this became more and more apparent, we realized that we must completely change our way of doing things if we wanted to avoid organizational burnout.

As a result of this struggle, seeds for a new Mendicant University were recently planted. In the coming weeks and months, we will effectively become a school without courses, open to all those who want to get involved. Our new activities and events will be measurable on a scale of hours and days rather than weeks and months, which will make them easier to participate in and easier to run. Our hope is that this change will make our program more flexible while allowing us to stay true to the cultural values that we have developed over the last two years.

While the next few weeks are bound to be turbulent, you can take a look at our roadmap to get a sense of where things are heading. We will update this website as well as the @mendicant_news twitter feed as we work our way through this transition phase, so be sure to stay tuned if you’d like to be an active participant in the new Mendicant University.