Learning Together: The Lived Experience of Bridging in Scholars Studio

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This hermeneutic phenomenological investigation tends to the connections made in Scholars Studio—an interdisciplinary learning community for first-year students at a public Historically Black College and University (HBCU). In this study, I ask, What is the lived experience of bridging in Scholars Studio? I conceptualize bridging as a pedagogical orientation characterized by making connections across disciplines, between theory and praxis, across time and distance, and with one another. Bridging creates dynamic spaces that resist binary relationships, thus creating the potential for transformation. This study is grounded in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, Mariana Ortega, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Edward Casey, and David Michael Levin, and follows the methodological structure set forth by Max van Manen. This research captures conversations that bridge the experience of twelve participants—including faculty, students, and staff—who partook in a learning community focused on Black men in education. Through these conversations, the participants affirm the importance of curricula grounded in African American and African history and culture. As participants cross the metaphorical bridge, they consider the “edges” they encounter that are both full of risk and possibility. These edges push them outside of their comfort zones in search of wholeness and create potential sites for improvisation. I end by opening new possibilities for Scholars Studio, including grounding the work in African principles and considering future directions.