campus encounters

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Archive for the tag “Arts Administration”

University of Mary Washington

University of Mary Washington (visited 2/1/19)

UMW delivery bikes

Food Delivery Bikes!

This is the first campus I’ve seen where they will deliver food to students using bikes! (Maybe there are others out there; I’d love to know who they are, if so – and they should absolutely point that out on tours!)

I was last on UMW’s campus about 10 years ago with 34 students in tow. I could picture the main walkway – the “spine” – running through this long, skinny campus. On that trip, 3 former students met the group, took us to dinner, and showed us campus which was great for the students since they got didn’t get the “canned admission’s spiel.” However, I’m really glad I had this chance to come back, talk to a couple current students, remind myself about what was going on at the school, and see what had changed (and a lot tends to change on campuses in 10 years!).

UMW walkway 2

The main walkway through campus

This is a quintessentially pretty, traditional-looking campus full of brick buildings. I didn’t realize that it had functioned as a sister school to UVA (which didn’t accept females into undergraduate programs at the time); they went coed – and was fully independent of UVA – in 1972 and earned university status in 2004.

For a school this size (just under 4400 undergrads, making it the smallest public school in VA), they have some impressive choices for majors, and they seem to be thoughtful in their minors that allow students to build upon their interests and gain additional skills that will allow for better job procurement.

UMW collaboration lab

One of the many collaborative classroom workspaces

One of the students said that she was surprised by how much teachers want them to succeed. Classes are relatively small, and both students I spoke with raved about their First-Year Seminars. The FYS teacher is the advisor for the first 2 years; then they get an advisor in their major. The FYS is one of the Gen Ed requirements (which are fairly typical compared to other schools). All students must complete 2 “Speaking Intensive” (which I rarely see) and 4 “Writing Intensive” (more than many colleges) classes as well as an Experiential Learning experience. This can be done in a variety of ways such as internships or study abroad. One of the students said that his Experiential Learning psychology class (many majors offer classes that will fulfill the EL requirement) – Mentoring Students at Risk – class was the best one he had taken. This is offered during the summer; students were in the classroom for a week, then they spent a week working at a camp for children with incarcerated parents.

UMW dorm 2

Some of the dorms

Fredricksburg is a great college town. Although campus is just outside the city-center, things are accessible. Both DC and Richmond are an hour away, and students can hop on the Amtrak/VRE from the station located a 5-minute drive from campus. The students told me that some of their friends have done internships in those cities. They appreciate that there are so many additional social and academic opportunities because of the university’s location.

UMW Greek rockHowever, students aren’t running from campus, either; there’s plenty to do. One of the most popular student organizations is the Canine Companions for Independence club which allows students to raise and train service dogs. Students Helping Honduras (now a national organization that was co-founded by a UMW student) is another highly popular group. One of the students I spoke with, a sophomore, has already traveled to Honduras with the group to do work there.

UMW 1UMW has a 2-year residency requirement, but about 15% of first-year students commute from home (about 90% of students are from Virginia). One of the students told me that 68% of students stay in campus housing all 4 years. For those who choose to move off, there are several apartment complexes within walking distance. They’re redoing the entire dining hall, and there are a few other smaller food options on campus. “Food is a 7, maybe an 8. I’m not sure you can get to a 10 when you’re cooking for 5000 people.”

UMW bell towerUMW doesn’t recognize Greek Life although there are a couple unofficial chapters off campus as well as an on-campus community service organization that anyone can join. They have a trial every 10 years to hear student voices regarding whether they want to start officially recognizing Green organizations, and to date, they’ve never wanted to do so. The student telling me about this said that she appreciates that the college is responsive to students, cares about their opinions, and allows them input into decisions affecting campus life. Overall, she was very happy with her decision to come here and with UMW as a whole. “If anything, I would spend more money on internships and scholarships for study abroad, but it’s still pretty good the way it is.”

© 2019

Rider University

Rider University (visited 11/14/15)

~Rider quad 3During my tour, I had a hard time figuring out what makes Rider different from other smallish liberal arts schools. It’s a lovely campus with just over 4000 undergrads on the main campus in Lawrenceville. I visited on a partly-sunny day in November; although it was a bit windy, it wasn’t all that chilly, but only a few people seemed to be around campus. I don’t know how much of that was because it was a Saturday afternoon and classes were not in session, because students maybe go home on the weekend, or because there was an open house and several students were giving tours and helping to staff some Student Life Booths (although those students only represented a tiny fraction of the total population).

~Rider quad

Quad

The students I talked to were earnest and pleasant enough but most had trouble answering questions with any substance. Everyone I talked to said that they liked the community feel on campus, but there was little talk of how that manifested itself. I had to go to the website to learn about student life on campus; there appear to be a lot of great-sounding traditions, but none of the students talked about them, even when asked. The two students who were staffing the Hillel booth at the Open House Activities Fair were the exception to this. They were enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and interesting to talk to. They said they were “small but mighty” – there is a decent Jewish population on campus, but not a huge regular group at Hillel. However, those who came were very active, and they would often do things with The College of New Jersey which is only a few miles down the road.

~Rider businessThis seems like a good university for students looking for a solid, basic liberal-arts education with some options for career-oriented majors. I caught a bit of the Business Department’s presentation to prospective students. They were up-front about the fact that many careers that students prepare for don’t even exist yet. They have a wide range of options to choose from within the business program including Management and Leadership, Global Supply Chain Management, Information Systems, Business Economics, and Sport Management. Organizational Psychology will begin in Fall 2016.

~Rider sculpture 2Rider merged with the Westminster Choir College in the 1990s; that campus now houses the Arts College. They have robust range of offerings in this division including a BA in Popular Music Culture, Musical Theater, and Arts Administration.

Classes are kept small: the tour guide’s largest class had 40 students in her Intro to Geology class and 16 in her Cognitive Psych lab. Her favorite class was Theories of Psychotherapy.

One of the dorms

One of the dorms

Freshmen must live on campus; two years of housing are guaranteed, but the tour guide said that she had never heard of anyone being denied housing if they wanted it. Some housing is geared towards specific majors, and there’s 1 all-female dorm but no single-sex housing for males. Premium housing includes the suites and apartments (with a kitchen). Health Services gets rave reviews: “I love the health services here better than my own doctor.”

Pond with housing on the far side

Pond with housing on the far side

Centennial Pond is a nice feature on campus; there’s a bridge across and 2 fountains. The Lake House is a dorm on the far side for Musical Theater Majors. There are 2 frats (also housed by the lake) and 4 sororities. The Chapel has all sorts of religious services, including Shabbat services.

© 2015

Texas Christian University

Texas Christian University (visited 3/3/15)

~TCU main sign~TCU flowersOne of the big question a lot of us on the Counselor tour had was, how Christian is TCU? The general consensus was: as much as you want it to be. The school is insistent that students figure it out for themselves and be respectful of others. “We have really interesting conversations about God,” said one of the tour guides. Students are required to complete 1 theology class as part of their distribution requirements, but the choices range from Religion in the Arts to The Afterlife in Roman/Greek Traditions (taught by a German professor). One student on the panel wishes that the university were more Christian. “It’s in the name; no one is hiding that it’s part of who we are, but there’s 1 cross on campus. I’ve actively looked.”

~TCU main quad~TCU fountainThe campus is attractive with nice architecture and wonderful landscaping; daffodils were already popping up in early March, despite the chilly weather and dreary skies. Many of the buildings are made of yellow brick, and they’re making an effort to keep consistent to the general feeling as new construction goes up. The campus is located in Fort Worth, a city described by a student as a “booming suburbia.” It has a definite residential, family feel; students and younger professionals tend to like living here. “Dallas feels more business-like than here,” said one professors. Students can take easy advantage of the city with free bus rides with their TCU ID; they also have access to bike shares. However, there’s lots to do directly off campus, as well. Students get discounts at many places in town including free lunches at some places on Fridays. 35 places off-campus will take Flex Bucks.

~TCU dorm hallway

A dorm hallway

TCU has a two-year residency requirement but currently can’t meet demand for juniors and seniors. However, they’re committed to rectifying that and are building a new res hall per year for a decade; 4 new ones are up already. Students are happy that they’re working on the residential issues.

~TCU plaza 2Greek life is a huge part of campus life with almost half of students affiliating (it’s a higher percentage of women than men affiliating – about 55% and 40% respectively – which almost matches up with the general gender mix on campus). One student wishes that she knew how much Greek life was part of campus before she came here. She said that sometimes it feels like much more than half of the students belong to one of the Greek organizations. There is a bit of Greek housing, but many end up living together in regular dorms.

~TCU studentsStudents love the academics here, but “you need to want to learn. They can facilitate the learning, but can’t do it for you.” Favorite classes include:

  • Literature and Civilization: they spoke with a woman from Rwanda
  • Speech Pathology (she’s had her own clients for 2 years now).

~TCU main bldgAs with any university, there are a number of colleges to choose from including:

  • Business
  • Liberal Arts (notable programs: Geography, Criminal Justice, and Hispanic Studies). Students wanting to take classes in Aerospace Studies or Military Science can do so through the Air Force or Army ROTC (respectively).
  • Communications including Communication Studies, Film-TV-Digital Media, and Journalism.
  • Fine Arts: Art, Dance, Music, Theater, Interior Design and Merchandising, and Arts Administration
  • Education
  • Science and Engineering including Physics and Astronomy, Engineering, Computer Science, and the School of Geology, Energy, and the Environment.
  • TCU Honors volleyball

    Sand Volleyball Court

    The Honors College provides small classes and specialized housing (complete with a sand volleyball court!). Honors students have the opportunity to attend a special orientation and have access to Honors Study Abroad trips.~TCU mascot

~TCU mascot statue

Football stadium

Football stadium

Sports are a big deal here. Super Frog the Horned Frog is the beloved mascot (and listed in the top-10 weirdest mascots!); students rub the nose of the Horned Frog statue for luck before exams, and the university even owns a real horned frog. It’s housed at the FW Zoo because it’s an endangered species. TCU’s teams are DI; in addition to the common teams, there are women’s Equestrian and Rifle teams, and men’s DIA football. TCU ranks #1 in the country for attendance at women’s soccer and men’s baseball games. Their big rival is Baylor. Intramurals and club sports are a big part of life on campus, as well. They offer bowling, ice hockey, gymnastics, rugby, and water polo in addition to many other sports. There’s even an outdoor pool with kayaks and canoes available for students.

© 2015

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