Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Hive?

The Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative — aka the Hive — is here to accelerate the creative development of students across the 5Cs (that is, the five undergraduate colleges in Claremont, CA—Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, Pomona College, and Scripps College). It is a place where the varied disciplines come together in order to harness the power of the liberal arts and to deepen – or revive – students’ creative practice, however it may show up within their discipline.

What are our goals?

Refer to our ‘About’ section

What do you actually do in the center?

The Hive hosts a wide range of activities that are exploratory, collaborative or experiential:

  • Workshops and events are part of the core experiece here at the Hive, introducing alternative ways of engaging with the liberal arts
  • There are several makerspaces where students can do screenprinting, woodworking, along with a variety of other building materials, sewing machines and crafts.

  • Course from around the 5Cs are taught in our flexible and experiential classrooms.

How did the center come about?

Faculty and students began discussions and brainstorming about the value of creativity, innovation, and collaboration in a liberal arts environment in 2014. With the support of a generous planning grant, we were able to prototype exploratory activities, workshops, and teaching experiments that informed our understanding of the Claremont Colleges’ unique needs, as well as student and faculty strengths and desires. Through a series of in-depth ethnographic interviews with students, faculty, alumni, and staff across the 5Cs, we learned more about how creativity and innovation could be integrated more fully into the undergraduate experience at the Claremont Colleges. 

Who is it for?

All are welcome. The Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity, or the Hive, was conceived specifically for students and faculty at all of the five undergraduate institutions at the Claremont Colleges. The Hive is for people from all disciplines and with varying levels of “creative confidence,” who all share a desire to work in a collaborative, experiential way on ambitious challenges and messy problems with no clear solutions. Fundamentally, we believe that everyone is creative and we support everyone who wants to deepen their creative practice.

How specifically can faculty be involved?

From the outset, the Hive has received an enthusiastic reception from faculty across the 5Cs who are excited about collaborative work and experimenting with their pedagogy. The Spring 2015 semester featured a number of course prototypes in which faculty explored innovative teaching formats such as near-peer teaching, novel workshop structures, and hands-on thought experiments. Bolstered by their successes (and learning from our interesting failures), the Sontag Center sponsored a formal set of grants for existing Fall 2015 courses, awarding 22 grants to individual and interdisciplinary teams of faculty members across the 5Cs.

What are the key things students “get” from The Hive?

Based on the needs and desires we heard from students and faculty across the 5Cs, the Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity organizes all of its activities around three themes: exploration, collaboration, and experiential learning.

  • Exploration: Provide a space to fail safely. Offer opportunities to explore new interests with low- to no-cost and a low barrier to entry. Explore a wider range of ideas and possibilities, and learn to empathize with radically different outlooks and approaches.
  • Collaboration: Share mindsets, not just tools. Be in the intellectual muck together, figure out ways of tackling problems together, and accomplish things together.
  • Experiential learning: Students will learn by doing. Gain skills to translate thinking into action. Develop resilience through making.

Is this curricular or co-curricular?

It’s both. In order to help students explore, it was critical to develop a variety of ways for students and faculty to plug in to this initiative. Our activities range from a large number of brief 1-hour experiences (for those students who might be testing the waters) to a few full term courses linked to the Center (for faculty and students who are willing to commit more time and effort).

Where is it?

The Hive is located on the northern border of Pomona’s campus, in renovated space on the first floor of Seeley G. Mudd Hall.

Who works at the Hive?

Check out amazing team here.

Can students earn credits?

Yes. There are several curricular courses taught at the Hive. See our course listings.

Are there student fees?

No. We are here for support!

Do you have to be a Pomona student or faculty?

Nope! In fact it’s the collaborative nature of this initiative, which harnesses the intellectual and creative energies of five diverse undergraduate institutions, that makes it more powerful and unique among other creative or innovative centers across higher education.