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Search Results for: “johnson state college

Johnson State College

Johnson State College (visited 4/13/14)

Johnson State signLocated in the small town of Johnson (population 5,000) in the North Central part of the Northern Kingdom of Vermont, JSC has about 1,550 students who fall anywhere from the “high flyers” to “those needing intrusive advising.”

Johnson State Arts Cntr 2The campus is lovely and well maintained with many of the buildings surrounding a large and well-used quad. Students here are definitely outdoorsy. There are plenty of opportunities for hiking, river sports (rafting, kayaking, etc), mountain biking, and snow sports. There are several ski slopes nearby, and students get reduced price lift-tickets. Many places will give away ski passes, bindings, even snowboards as prizes for events on campus. The college even has an on-campus snowboarding park! It’s not surprising that their Outdoor Education program is well-renowned.

Johnson State acad bldg 1JSC offers a Wellness and Alternative Medicine major (definitely the only in New England; someone said the only one in the country). The students actually complete everything they need to apply to Med School if they do this major, but they also learn massage (and can get licensed before graduation), holistic medicine, non-western means of healing, and more. One recent grad is working a PhD in Alternative Medicine; two recent grads are in Med School.

Johnson State sun dial

One of the dorms

One of the dorms

Aaron, our tour guide, is a Vermonter who came here initially because of financial reasons; he wasn’t a great student in high school (I think he said he had a 2.9) and wasn’t getting any aid anywhere else. He raved about the help he got here in terms of them making it financially accessible to him. His twin brother also goes to school here on a pre-med track. Aaron is in the new Media Arts department; he loves that he got in on the ground floor because he’s really had a chance to help shape it. He showed us the multiple studios (sculpting, woodworking, photography, studio art, and more) as well as all the gallery spaces on campus. They’re clearly invested in helping students show off their work as well as bringing in outside artists to showcase new things.  The theater is also a wonderful; it was designed for the Vermont Symphony so acoustics are “the best in the state.”

Johnson State dorm 2They are working on increasing retention and graduation rates. Freshmen and sophomores must live on campus. They have a Summer Reading Program for incoming freshmen; this past year was Detroit, and they had discussions, lectures, and even the author come to campus. Aaron said that “It gives people something to talk about and bond over – even if it’s over the fact that they didn’t read it.”

Johnson State bldg and mntnsThis is an accepting community; although most students wouldn’t fall into what I’d call the “quirky” category, there were kids with dreads, unusual piercings, etc. No one gave them a second look.  The party scene is “downtown” – aka off campus, “but even then it’s not a Rave,” said Aaron. “You can do what you want. Weekends are pretty normal; we hang out, watch Netflix, do things around campus.” Students who need a break from the rural area can participate in the National Student Exchange across the country (two current students are in Bozemon, Montana, two are in Honolulu, and several others are scattered across the country); study abroad is also an option. One admissions rep, a JSC alum, said that kids are doing more on campus now such as going to watch the games. They have a rugby pitch on campus, and the Women’s Club team won the 2011 national championship.

© 2014

Johnson & Wales, Providence

Johnson and Wales, Providence (visited 4/29/19)

J&W sculptureThis is an amazing college for students wanting a solid education with hands-on components, students who want “to try new things, to succeed and even fail. We support them and help them transition.” Students start with their major on day one – but can work with their advisor to change. They can figure it out early if it isn’t the right fit. “This is the place to come if you want to learn and get a job. Students get hired.”

J&W chocolate lab

Chocolates lab class

J&W’s Providence campus is the flagship (with other campuses in Charlotte, Denver, and Miami). When students apply, they pick a campus but are accepted to all four. The school was founded by 2 women in 1914 before women were even allowed to vote – yet they started a major university as a business school to build opportunities for women and provide them with relevant skill sets in the work force. They still have strong business programs, including Equine Business Management (with Riding or Non-Riding options), Advertising & Marketing Communications, Fashion Merchandising & Retailing, and Restaurant/Food/Beverage Management.

J&W 2The Providence campus now offers 70 programs (majors vary a bit between campuses). Students are allowed to move between campuses, assuming their major is offered at the other location. The university offers Associates (Baking & Pastry or Culinary Arts) through Doctoral (Education) degrees. Students in the AS programs can roll into a related Bachelor’s program in the same or similar majors, including Food Service Management, Culinary Nutrition, Tourism & Hospitality Management, Dietetics & Applied Nutrition, or Food & Beverage Entrepreneurship.

J&W student centerThe university also continues to grow and try new things, as well. In the fall of 2019, 2 new majors are being implemented: Integrated Product Design and Comp Sci. In the fall of 2020, 4 more will begin: Sustainable Food System, Biomedical Science, Economics, and Create Your Own. They also offer accelerated Master’s Programs in areas like Addiction Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Organizational Psychology, Data Analytics, Information Security/Assurance, MBA, Global Leadership & Sustainable Economic Development, and Sport Leadership.

J&W Harborside

The Harborside campus

Classes are capped at 40 (some are capped at a lower point because of the physical work space), but class size averages only 21. Faculty members are experts in their field, many of whom have worked in the industry before coming to campus. They can help with networking, internships, and jobs. J&W has cultivated relationships with multiple companies and has over 1000 internship sites. Students can start interning as early as sophomore year (but junior year is more common).

J&W 3Providence’s campus is split into two parts about 3 miles apart (less than 10 minutes depending on traffic), and students can live on either one regardless of where their classes are held. There is a separate equine center located about 25 minutes away (actually across state lines in Massachusetts!) with regular shuttles running up there.

J&W Downcity res quad

The residential quad on the Downcity Campus

Student parking is located on the Harborside campus because of space issues, and shuttles run regularly between the two sites. We had breakfast in large meeting room in a building that has a dining hall and a res hall. Some of the students have rooms that overlook the water! This campus also has the Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence. Their culinary program is absolutely phenomenal! All aspects of the trade are taught. For example, students take a mixology lab: they use colored water instead of actual alcohol (“it would get prohibitively expensive to keep dumping alcohol down the drain,” said our tour guide). For their final exam, they dim the lights and blare music to mimic the industry. They have to prepare 12 drinks in 12 minutes. There’s also restaurant on site that serves lunch and dinner to just over 60 people. Students in a sophomore-level class work the restaurant and rotate through all aspects of it to learn everything from table set-up to service to food prep. The dessert comes from the Baking & Pastry labs. Students rotate through all sorts of labs; materials and uniforms (collar colors indicate different programs and progression: the lighter the color, the further along a student is) are included in tuition. Students learn how to use everything and not waste things. They use cuttings as garnish, they’ll dry and grind up leftover vegetables for powers to flavor dishes, etc.

The Downcity campus takes up 6 city blocks; the same amenities are on that campus including a pretty residential quad. They even have a pet-friendly floor! There is a bit of commuter parking at this campus, but it tends to be pricey. Providence has great arts, music, and restaurant scenes. This is a great college town with several universities nearby (including Brown, RISD, and Providence College), so places cater to students. For example, there’s a nearby event center that sells tickets at 50% off 2 hours before showtime.

© 2019

Lyndon State College

Lyndon State mapLyndon State College (visited 4/13/14)

Located about 20 minutes north of St. Johnsbury in the eastern part of the Northern Kingdom of Vermont, Johnson State College is home to just under 1,500 students. For very outdoorsy kids who are interested in Broadcast Journalism and/or meteorology/atmospheric sciences, this could be the perfect place.

Tv Studio

Tv Studio

They have an award winning news broadcast station on campus; students go on the air live, unlike many other school broadcasts. The director of the program said, “This puts us on par with Arizona State, Ohio State, and other huge schools; even places like Syracuse don’t usually go live to air.” People in the broadcast area can actually give feedback to the student broadcasters, and these ratings become part of the students’ grades.  Even the students doing the weather reports are reporting on their own work – they aren’t just getting on the air to report; “they did the math,” said the director. In addition to winning awards for the student production, they have alumni working on air around the country – and the Weather Station was started by JSC grads!

Lyndon State acad bldgThis isn’t the only area that stands out. The Music and Performing Arts students can go into Audio Production, Music and Self-Production, Music Industry Management, and Music Business and Industry. Recently, six students interned with James Taylor in his personal home studio. The Exercise Science students get certified before graduation as Personal Trainers, giving them a second area for a potential job when they graduate (and even before). These students work in the gym on campus, so the other students benefit from their expertise.

Lyndon State loungeThe college takes the “I’ll show you how to do something; now YOU do it” approach to education. President Joe, now completing his 2nd year as president, says, “Other people talk about experiential education. Here, we have it in our back pocket.” Even he learns alongside the students. When he came here from Queens, NY, he had never done any of the outdoor things that take up so much of the students’ free time. He promised to at least try everything. Once he went mountain climbing, and one of the older students got him all hooked up in the gear – and then took it off. “Now you have to put it back on.” He and the three freshmen with him all learned to do this for themselves.

President Joe (he really is called that!) has been asked many times, “Why on earth did you come here from Queens? Why would ANYONE come here?” It is amazingly remote, but he said, “People know other people’s names.” He can’t say enough about the place. People are allowed “to live what they love.”

The campus is small, and many of the main parts of campus (many academic areas, the athletic facilities, the library, the theater) are connected in one big building, giving is a bit of a glorified high school feel – although in the long winters and on rainy days, no one is complaining! Our tour guide said that she hated the school the first time she came; her mother insisted she come back during an admissions open-house weekend, and she started to like it better. Now she can’t picture being anywhere else. She said that things can get a bit boring on the weekend, but mostly there’s plenty to do.

© 2014

Misc. Colorado Colleges

Overview of Colorado Colleges and Universities not visited

I attended a breakfast hosted by a group of Colorado Universities and Colleges. They each only had a few minutes to present information about their individual institution; what follows is a summary of what they had to say.

ADAMS STATE UNIVERSITY

Adams is one of the most diverse in the state; with so many Hispanic students, it has officially been labeled as Hispanic-Serving. They also have a lot of first-gen students. The school, located about 3.5 hours southwest of Denver and 2 hours north of Santa Fe, is definitely off the beaten path. The popular majors are business, human performance/exercise science, psych, and bio/pre-med. Their sports are DII with 10 men’s and 9 women’s teams and are launching baseball this year. They’re known for running: they placed 2nd at the Stanford Invitational, almost beating Stanford. They offer a lot of admission-based merit scholarships.

COLORADO MESA UNIVERSITY

This medium-sized public university with just over 9,000 students is located in Grand Junction. With almost 150,000 people, this is largest city between Denver and Salt Lake City. They’ve recently invested $300 million into the infrastructure. Almost everything is new or renovated. The students they are looking for have an “adventurous spirit” who are willing and able to create own excitement. There’s a lot to do on campus but much of it is student run, so they want students who will be part of creating – and participating in – activities. They want those people who will enjoy what’s around. They have 23 DII teams which means that there is some scholarship money on that front as well as merit-based academic awards for students.

COLORADO MOUNTAIN COLLEGE

This is primarily a 2-year Community College, but they started offering BA degrees in 2011. This is a multi-campus college serving 9 counties in North-Central Colorado. Three of their campuses are residential including at Steamboat Springs. Because they have some dorms available, they do pull in some out-of-state students and provide scholarships to help draw these students in. They actually have 46 states represented on their campuses. Students come because of their highly ranked programs such as Resort Management, Vet Tech (they have a working farm), and a new media program. There’s a full range of student support services for students who need them.

COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES

This college is focused on very specific majors, but offers more than just Mining. They have several schools within the university: Applied Science and Math, Engineering, Geoscience and Resource Management, and even Humanities and Social Sciences (with majors like Economics, International Political Economy, and Public Affairs). Minors include unusual areas such as humanitarian engineering and explosives. Student life is active with typical sorts of clubs; 13 DII sports and Greek Life is also offered to students.

FORT LEWIS COLLEGE

Located in Durango, CO (the four corners region), this is “Colorado’s Public Liberal Arts Institution.” Their graduates have the lowest level of indebtedness in the state upon graduation. Due to its location in the Four Corners Region of the state and high Native American population, they’re designated as a Native American Serving institution. About 35% of the population is from out-of-state, with many of those coming from surrounding states, but they do pull from all over. The college is looking for students with an adventurous spirit who are willing to take risks and stretch themselves. There are no graduate programs at FLC, and as such, the students have direct, “privileged” access to faculty. Only one percent of classes have more than 50 students. The education, psychology, biology, engineering, anthropology/archaeology, and the Native American Studies programs are both popular and strong. Among their DII athletics, cycling and soccer are big.

JOHNSON AND WALES UNIVERSITY

JWU has 4 campuses across the country, one of which is in Denver. Their focus is on hands-on career preparation and offer both BA/BS and AAS degrees in areas such as Business Management, Culinary Arts, Hospitality Services, and Technology. 1 OF 2 colleges that have a culinary degree that’s certified by the nutrition board.

NAROPA UNIVERSITY

Naropa was founded by a Buddhist monk and a couple poets in the 60s in order to merge Eastern and Western ideals. They currently enroll 400 undergrads, 65% of whom come from out-of-state; 10% are international. During the admission process, Naropa will not look at test scores; they’re more interested in essays and the interview. They look for students who are interested in dialogue so what the students have to say, verbally and in written form, are important parts of the process. Some of their more unusual majors are Contemplative Psychology, Peace Studies, Writing and Literature, and Traditional Eastern Arts.

UC COLORADO SPRINGS

One of the main buildings in the middle of campus.

One of the main buildings in the middle of the UCCS campus.

This beautiful campus built on a hillside overlooking Colorado Springs is the smallest of the three UC campuses. I had a chance to walk around the campus when I was in CS, but did not have a chance to take a formal tour. They offer a wide range of academic offerings in 7 colleges. Some of their more unique majors include Professional Golf Management (in the Business and Administration college), Game Design and Development, Computer Security (in the Innovation college), Medical Technology, and Sports Health and Wellness Nursing and Health Sciences college). Their engineering program is ranked ninth in the nation. Their DII sports are generally well-regarded; cross-country is ranked 6th nationally.

UC DENVER

Set right in the heart of Denver, this campus is three campuses in one, so students have the benefit of a medical campus and Metropolitan State all in one spot. Light rail and bus lines go right through campus, connecting students to the entire metro area, and since they’re downtown, students can easily walk to many places. UCD enrolls 11000 undergrads and 5000 graduate students, with a large out-of-state population. UCD accepts WUE so residents of the 15 western states can take advantage of reduced tuition; they also offer “Denver-Bound” scholarship for out-of-state students. Successful applicants have an average of a 3.4 GPA and 1150 SAT or 24 ACT. Popular/strong majors include engineering, architecture, and urban planning. The classrooms were deliberately designed to be small and can’t hold more than 22 students.

WESTERN STATE COLORADO UNIVERSITY

WSCU is located in a mountain valley about 3.5 hours from Denver and about 30 minutes from Crested Butte ski area. Gunnison has an airport making it easy to travel to and from school. They offer both WUE and out-of-state scholarships. The Business and Education programs are reportedly the best on campus, and Land and Resource Management is perhaps the most unique. They have DII athletics with Cross-Country and wrestling being the strongest.

Washington and Lee

wl-main-buildings-2

W&L’s iconic building

Washington and Lee (visited 11/3/16)

“At the end of the day, I want the students to say, ‘it changed my life.’ I want it to be transformative. If they can say that, we’ve done our jobs.” The size of the school facilitates a lot of what they do, and “the faculty we bring on understand the pedagogy. Having famous faculty doesn’t help if they don’t want to know the students and work with them.”

wl-3

Some of W&L’s academic buildings

Washington & Lee is a traditional Liberal Arts and Sciences university, “underscore the AND.” They combine professional programs in the Williams School of Commerce, Politics, and Economics and Journalism (both interdisciplinary programs) with a liberal arts education. “Students don’t apply to the business program as they might in larger schools. I don’t want the Williams School to be a Venn diagram with the Liberal Arts: I want it to be completely immersed. We’ll teach things like Business of Contemporary Arts (co-taught by a Tax Accountant and Art Historian), Land in Lakota Culture, Economics, and History (co-taught by Anthro and Economics professors), or Cybersecurity (co-taught by a PoliSci professor and a lawyer).” Along the same lines, they won’t offer a 3+2 engineering program because they want the students to have the full undergraduate, liberal arts experience. Students in these programs are interested in the liberal arts and complete the foundations/distribution requirements, including the language requirement.

wl-6Students who thrive here are curious, high-horsepower students. They’re near the tops of their graduating classes; they’re keyed into community and engagement. Loners/people who have an affinity to work alone won’t do so well here. Students seek out professors and like to argue/discuss points from class. “Teachers will instigate conversations that are uncomfortable for students. It makes us grow,” said a student on the panel.

wl-treewalkLast year they admitted 1200 of 5100 applicants. Just over half of the class of 465 were admitted through ED (I or II). Crossovers include UVA, William & Mary, Chapel Hill, Georgetown, Dartmouth, and Davidson. The Johnson Scholarship is awarded not just for outstanding academics but to those students who they believe will bring transformative leadership skills to campus. “We want them to be change-makers.” They bring 200 finalists to campus for 3 days and will end up awarding 70 scholarships.

wl-hillel

The first floor of the Hillel building with the cafe in the back

“We want to have a broad range of students. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion does a lot of outreach. We’re concerned about affordability and accessibility. We meet 100% of financial need and do not include loans.” Almost every state is represented (there’s no one from ND in this freshman class); VA, TX, NC, GA, MD, FL, and NY have more than 20 students. Almost 10% are first-gen. Although only 17 of last year’s freshmen self-identified as Jewish, they do have a relatively new, large Hillel building; the E-Café inside is Kosher Dairy. They also have Salaam, a Muslim Student Association.

“We’re different because we have a sense of who we are,” said W&L’s President. “We produce citizens of honor who are ready to go out and make a difference.” Whatever they’re doing is working: they have a 98% retention rate, and 90% of students graduate in 4-years. He went on to illustrate a couple things that make them stand out:

  • wl-statueHonor System: “It’s a system, not a code saying that we will abide by the standards of the community.” This plays into exam schedules, too. Students can self-schedule their finals within the week, although some professors ask that their exams be done on a specific day. Others will give a take-home final and ask that it be brought back within 24 hours.
  • Speaking tradition: people will greet you when you walk around.
  • Their endowment allows them to provide “robust services” to students: they have an MD running Health Services, a psychiatrist on staff, deans for every class. There’s a lot to be said for community building, support, etc.
  • Freshmen all complete alcohol education and “bystander education.”
wl-junior-village

Junior Village in the background beyond the stadium

Lexington is very much a college community: VMI is next door with 1700 students, and the law school has another 350. They have a loose connection with VMI in that they will attend speakers and some other events happening at the other campus. All the seniors live off campus which helps mesh town-gown relations. W&L now requires all students to live on campus for 3 years – but only for 3 years! They recently built a “Junior Village” with has a café and dining hall; a pool is being built. Some Greek housing is in town, and there are 6 sorority houses near the football field. Usually sophomores live there. Rush is in the spring.

wl-sorority-row

Sorority Row

“I was surprised how integrated students are,” said our tour guide. “I was a little bit wary at first because of the 17% diversity rate, but it doesn’t matter. I wasn’t sure how the speaking tradition would play out, but people do talk to each other. I was shy. I didn’t know how to do that, but now I see that people go out of their way.”

wl-patioStudents tend to be more conservative but not exclusively, and there are a lot of liberal professors. “But everyone is civil. They talk about the issues, not about the people. Professors expect us to be able to have conversations and back up opinions, and students do.” A lot of people talked about civil discourse and the learning community while we were on campus. “I say community and opportunity a lot,” said one student. “It seems cliché but I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s not just about what we learn but the skills and experiences.”

wl-haunted-barn

Originally a stable, the doors are now left open because the story says that Lee’s horse Traveller haunts the building and will shake the doors when they are shut.

The average class size is 15. Only 5% have more than 25 students. “A few classes like organic chem and a popular geology class on climate change get higher.”

“There’s no one way to do a W&L education,” said the president. “We see some strange double majors. They get jobs because they’re unique.” The Core accounts for about 1/3 of a student’s curriculum. “We push against the idea that every class has to count for something. We want them to explore.” There is a Phys Ed requirement: “I can say with absolute certainty that every W&L grad knows how to swim.”

Students have a lot of school spirit. “We may be DIII, but we have football!” They have tailgates and an annual Lee-Jackson lacrosse game which both draw huge crowds. The Thanksgiving Dinner even draws community members.

© 2016

Howard University

Howard University (visited 9/13/16)

howard-long-walkHoward is set apart from other HBCUs because of its reputation; it’s not regional like many others. This is a diverse campus, geographically, socio-economically, religiously, etc. “One of the best quotes I’ve heard about Howard is, ‘You can find everything in the black world and its opposite here’,” said the admissions rep. This is a highly tolerant and accepting campus. There are lots of Muslims, lots of non-religious students, etc. LGBTQ students are comfortable here; they’re out and accepted. “People get called out on things if they’re being derogatory or exclusive. People will say, “You may get away with that at home, but it’s not going to fly here.”

howard-6“People are pushed to be better. There’s nothing you can’t do here,” said the admissions rep, also an alum. “Come here if you want to maximize your potential. Students are serious about fun AND serious about work.” She said that if students are not academically prepared or can’t handle the social scene, they won’t make it.

Founded on March 2,1867 to ensure that black students could come to the nation’s Capitol to get an education, Howard now has a long list of distinguished alumni including Thurgood Marshall, Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, politicians, actors, and plenty more. Today, the 7,000 undergrads come from 44 states/territories and 23 countries; the biggest feeder country is Nepal!

howard-view-of-dc

The view of the Capitol from campus

Students have formed state clubs and will often host students visiting from that area. “They’ll reach out to prospective and new students to help make the transition easier.” For example, the university does not run shuttles to the airport, but current students will make sure that new students know how to use the Metro or MARC systems to get to and from campus.

 

howard-greek-tree

One of the Greek Trees

Campus/extra-curricular life is busy. There are 19 DI sports; this is the only HBCU with Women’s Lacrosse (Hampton has Men’s). Debate is strong with an annual competition against Hampton, their big rival. They try to have it on the same weekend as the football game. The “Greek Letter Organizations” include honors and major-based (journalism, business, etc) groups as well as social. The Devine 9 were created in response to mainstream white Greek life. Five of those were created on Howard’s campus; members from all over come to campus to “see the birthplace” and visit their chapter’s “tree.” Each organization is assigned a tree that they have painted. Students can Pledge starting in sophomore year.

 

howard-fountain

One of the campus fountains

The biggest campus event is Homecoming in October drawing huge crowds of alumni and friends. Georgia Ave is blocked off for concerts and other fun. First Fridays are also hugely popular. Students looking to get off campus have no shortage of options: the Howard Theater and 930 Club host all sorts of concerts all year, and are within a 10 minute walk. Further afield are all the options available in DC, accessible via the metro stop only a couple blocks from campus.

 

howard-lower-quad

Lower Quad

There are 11 res halls; students are separated by gender for the first year (women by the Valley/lower quad, men by the football stadium) and then mixed. Freshmen are required to live on campus (with some concessions/ exceptions). Upperclassmen can usually live on campus if they want to, but they have the option to move off.

 

Academically, there is a lot to brag about ranging from their amazing Fine Arts programs to the sciences (and they start kids early! The Middle School for Math and Science – or (MC)2 – is right on campus). Howard is ranked #1 for graduating black students who go on to med school and PhDs in STEM fields. This is the only HBCU named as a Tier 1 research institution.

howard-business

The Business building

There are 70 undergrad majors in 6 schools. The top 5 majors are bio, psych, PoliSci, Media/Journalism/Film, and Chem. Among other notable programs are:

 

  • A 5-year BArch program allowing students to sit for their exam right after graduation.
  • Direct-Entry Nursing
  • A 6-year fast-track BS/MD Only 12-15 students get admitted every year and must have passed high-level math and sciences in high school. They complete the Bachelors in 2 years (including summers). Students must be accepted to the university first, then apply to the program by 3/1.
  • Several BFA programs in Interior Design, Fashion Design, Electronic Studio, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, Theater Tech, Musical Theater, Dance, Theater Administration, and Acting.
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Administration of Justice (combining Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice)
  • Several Engineering options (Chemical, Mechanical, Civil, Electrical, and Computer)
  • Physician Assistant
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Business students start right away; they have to wear business attire 2 days a week.
howard-bio-bldg

The biology department with greenhouses on the roof

Students in the Arts & Sciences, Business, and Communications schools can be invited into the Honors program in those areas. Applicants will be considered and invited as long as they declare a major coming in. If they aren’t invited upon entry, students can be invited to start as a sophomore. “The criteria is vague kind of on purpose because each year will be different,” said the rep. These programs open up honors classes and the opportunity for a faculty advisor for a thesis presented at symposiums at the end of the year.

 

howard-chapel

The campus chapel for students wanting to take advantage of its offerings

“The intellectual life here extends outside of the classroom.” For example:

  • The Freshman Class always reads a common text. Last year, it was Citizen by Claudia Rankin. She came and spent the day with the freshman.
  • All freshmen take a Freshman Seminar; they come together once a week for a lecture then once more for smaller section. During these times, they talk about the Common Text, adjusting to campus, and more.
  • The Freshman Leadership Academy focuses on Asian languages (particularly Mandarin). They meet as a cohort for the year and go abroad for 4-8 weeks during the summer after freshman year. After that, they serve as mentors to the new groups coming in.
  • Internships: most students do at least 1, but it’s rare to meet a student who hasn’t had one each year starting sophomore year. “It’s a very professional environment. They’ll go to class in suits because they have to leave for an internship right afterwards.” Students get great internships over the summers at places like Johnson & Johnson, Chase Bank headquarters, etc.
  • 12 schools in and around DC have articulation agreements for students looking to expand their academic options.
  • “Our kids are politically inclined. It’s part of the reason they want to come to DC. They’re always protesting something.”
  • To participate in Study Abroad, students must have sophomore or junior standing, 1 year of residency at Howard, and have at least a 3.0 GPA.
  • Student-led Alternative Spring Break is popular: Students have gone to Flint, Memphis, New Orleans, and other places to work on Anti-gun violence, Water stuff in Flint, tutoring, and housing. Some went to Haiti and Costa Rica (Engineers w/o borders).
  • Air Force ROTC is housed on Howard’s campus. Students wanting Army ROTC can do so at American University.

Howard only accepts the Common Application for admission. Accepted students generally have around a 3.5 unweighted GPA and 1150 SAT 1150 or 25 ACT (which tends to be higher than the national average for African-American students).

© 2016

Rowan University

ROWAN UNIVERSITY (visited 7/30/13)

Rowan meetingOne of Rowan’s claims to fame is that it hosted a meeting in 1967 between President Johnson and Soviet Premier Kosygin at the Hollybush Mansion, the university president’s home. They met here because of its location halfway between the UN and DC. Apparently, Lady Bird Johnson took the chairs which are now in the Smithsonian with a tag that says “Donated by Rowan” – the tour guide says that if we go there, we should tell people that they were taken from Rowan, not donated!

I had no idea what to expect from Rowan, one of New Jersey’s public universities, but I walked away with a good impression. Students are happy and enthusiastic about the programs and the opportunities they’ve had. This school of 10,750 undergraduates has recently been designated as a state Research Institution, and they’re proud that they do not do research at the expense of the undergraduate. Instead, they’ve been doing a great deal to expand their offerings and opportunities for their students. More money has been going into resources for students, and more scholarship money is available than ever before. They’ve increased their academic offerings for students, including eight new PhD programs and several new Masters programs are in the pipeline. Their Med School is highly competitive, receiving 3,000 apps for 50 seats, and it’s only the second university (after Michigan State) to offer both an MD and a DO (osteopathic medicine) degree. This has had a “trickle-down effect” into their undergraduate programs, and every undergraduate college on campus has a pre-med program, even the performing arts, including using dance as part of therapy. They’re getting away from the traditional model of pre-med prep.

Rowan academicsThey are proud of their Four Pillars program which includes: Economic Engine (helping students getting job and becoming involved in the community); Affordability (they froze tuition by keeping efficiencies in the system); Accessibility (making education available even though they’re getting more selective); and Growth (they’ve built the Stratford Campus for the medical and graduate programs, and they’ve built a partnership with Rutgers for a biomedical school). They’re looking to DOUBLE their student population over the next 10 years. They’ve already shown tremendous growth in their numbers; they used to only serve students from 4 or 5 counties; now they’re a well-known regional university, and they want to become better known across the country. Their out-of-state applications have been rapidly increasing, almost doubling last year from 400 to 700. In the most current freshman class, students had an average of a 3.6 GPA and 1200 SAT or 26 ACT.

Rowan Sci outside

Outside of the new science building

Inside the Science Building

Inside the Science Building

Some of the students’ favorite classes have been the History of WWII, the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and Developmental Psychopathology. Their classes range from 10-35, and they appreciate the small classes and the chance that they know the professors; people notice if they aren’t in class, and they’re able to get a lot out of classes. Rowan has a strong business program, including Supply Chain and Logistical Systems, Management Info Systems, Entrepreneurship, and other more usual concentrations. Engineering students can choose to specialize in Chemical (ranked 3rd in nation, top among public universities), Civil and Environmental, Electrical and Computer, or Mechanical (ranked 8th in nation). Within the Humanities and Social Sciences College, their Africana Studies, Law and Justice Studies, and Planning are the most unusual majors. In the Science and math division, students can choose from all the usual majors, plus Bioinformatics and Child Behavioral Services. Education is strong at Rowan, and they have a program that allows students to graduate before student teaching, as long as they’ve fulfilled all the other requirements. Two of the tour guides had just graduated but were staying for one more semester to do their student teaching requirement.

Rowan quadAlthough there’s a lot to do on campus, students love that they’re only 20 minutes from Philly, 45 minutes to the shore, and halfway between NYC and DC. The school is doing a lot to do more outreach into the local community, and the activities on campus give students a real sense of community within campus and into the wider town. Unless students commute from a parent’s house, they have to live on campus for the first 2 years. There are freshman-only dorms which are mostly traditional style, but some have suites where they have to clean their own bathrooms. The university is building a 5-block-long apartment complex with Honors housing, B&N bookstore, Starbucks, retail shops and restaurants, arts and entertainment district. Ten percent of the student population joins Greek life.

© 2013

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