Founding Mentor William Irwin Thompson Visits

Ross Founding Mentor William Irwin Thompson visited Ross School last week to deliver a series of lectures to twelfth grade students as they embark on a recapitulation of the Ross Spiral Curriculum. Each year, Ross School seniors examine the two primary narratives at the core of the curriculum—the Cultural Ecologies, which describe the dynamic interaction between human culture and its environment, and the Artistic-Mathematical Mentalities, which relate to the worldviews and practices that emerge from Cultural Ecologies.

In addition to presenting to seniors, Thompson offered teachers and administrators an opportunity to review the Artistic-Mathematical Mentalities in a special lecture to faculty, and met with Saya, a Ross School senior from Kazakhstan, to discuss her Senior Project on the effects of radioactive fallout from Soviet nuclear testing in her hometown. Thompson also spent time consulting with teams working on different curricular projects, including a “histomap” visualization of the curriculum and an interactive 3D model of the curriculum.

Thompson, a cultural historian and poet, is the author of the first Spiral Curriculum framework, Cultural History and the Evolution of Consciousness (1995). In the 22 years since the school’s founding, Thompson has maintained an active role as mentor, often participating in Ross Institute’s annual Summer Academy for faculty, visiting campus each year to speak with students and teachers, and engaging in conversations about the ongoing development of the Ross curriculum.