About SF State's Experimental College

Mission Statement

EXCO courses create a space for SF State students to develop leadership skills as they share their voices, backgrounds, and passions in a mutually supportive community of peers. Particularly during the global pandemic, widespread racial justice demonstrations, and remote learning, student-led courses empower all students to practice critical thinking in a variety of topics based on shared knowledge and personal experience, which transforms traditional academia. Ultimately, EXCO teachers develop the topics they teach to engage peers in re-envisioning how the world works through each students’ knowledge.

Our Goals:

Primarily, we exist to serve students (or else nothing else matters). We exist to serve the needs of SF State students, this means EXCO is whatever students want it to be, and whatever they make it.

  1. First of all, we must offer student-taught classes; this means we need to recruit and train student teachers for future semesters, according to common pedagogical and progressive education practices.
  2. We also need to maintain administrative (and general) approval and support. Generally, we should try to make friends on campus and not enemies…as much as possible.
  3. We also ought to affect some lasting change or changes on campus.

The experiment of the original experimental college was that students could run a better and more useful school than the administrators could; obviously, this has subjective meaning having to do with the goals of the institution, and one’s idea or goal of education. The original EXCO existed as a College within a College, with the goal of affecting change in the bigger College. EXCO existed to fill a gap in the traditional system.

We believe that the institution is here to educate students. Meaning help them progress through curriculum that they want to learn, at their own pace, for their own benefit. Progressive education practices are proven to help accomplish this: students learn faster and retain more when they have hands on experience. When they play an active role in decision-making they are more interested in the material. EXCO teaches students the skills that empower them to learn for themselves long after they leave SF State, and remember what they learned while they were here.

By modeling progressive education, we hope to influence the bigger University to adopt our principles. In this way we are also contributing to the progressive education movement.