The philosopher Isaiah Berlin wrote a popular essay distinguishing between two kinds of intellect—hedgehogs who who view the world through the lens of a single theme or perspective (Plato, Dante, Nietzsche) and foxes who draw on a wide variety of experiences and for whom the world cannot be boiled down to a single idea (Aristotle, Shakespeare, Joyce).
This college, with its rich and diverse liberal arts tradition, had particular appeal to the “fox.” In developing this series of pieces, we challenged students to think about their own style of learning. Foxes, we argued, saw things in different ways. They were less concerned with a major, and more concerned with learning as much as they could, gaining familiarity as well as competence in many areas, and applying the skills and knowledge they acquired across disciplines.
Prospective students reacted positively. Hundreds sent notes back to HWS saying things like “Finally! Someone gets who I am.”