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Mason's Center for Field Studies (CFS) is dedicated to providing students with exciting and challenging field-based experiential learning opportunities.
Field studies as practiced by New Century College’s Center for Field Studies (CFS) is an immersion model in which classroom material is explored and applied within a given field experience. The center defines “field experience” broadly to encompass a wide spectrum ranging from the natural world to human populations in their respective social and cultural contexts and settings, including how individuals behave in families, neighborhoods, and communities. Within these field experiences, students apply their theoretical classroom knowledge in “real world” settings, through the collection of empirical data (whether quantitative or qualitative), which then becomes theoretically interpreted using a praxis model of application. Field experiences offered through the Center for Field Studies create educational experiences that bridge the classroom and the community.
Center for Field Studies courses are inherently interdisciplinary and integrated. While courses offered through the Center for Field Studies are discipline-based (i.e. biology, anthropology, art, sociology, etc.), they draw on multiple subjects in their examination of culture, sociopolitical issues, economics, the natural world, etc. to allow for a rich and textured exploration of the subject. Center for Field Studies, in keeping with New Century College’s interdisciplinary pedagogy, as well as being a center open to all George Mason University departments, supports a wide range of courses across the university such as anthropology, art, biology, cultural studies, dance, geography, geology, history, and sociology. In many ways field studies is synonymous with experiential learning; field studies opportunities often manifest, for example, in service learning, internships, or other learning opportunities with community partners.
CFS course offerings include a broad range of academic disciplines and subject matters, from a focus on the natural world to human populations in their respective social and cultural contexts. Students are given the opportunity to move beyond the traditional classroom and apply their knowledge and data collection skills first-hand in a variety of "real world" settings.