Sacred Heart University (visited 10/11/16)
If you’re looking to study at a campus in Ireland or Luxembourg, Sacred Heart might be your school! SHU (pronounced like “shoe”) owns and operates campuses in both places, and they’re well-utilized by a variety of students. Business students even get a tuition waiver for class abroad!
Sacred Heart is another one of those schools that I wish more people knew about. In addition to being a beautiful campus, students are friendly, happy, and engaged in academics and campus social life. The university is student-centered and welcoming to visitors. There are several new buildings with more on the way. They recently celebrated their 50th university; even so new, they’re the 2nd largest Catholic college in New England (after BC).
The chapel is beautiful in a non-traditional sort of way. The large mural dominating the front of the building was done by a Vatican artist who had done work for Pope John Paul II; this is the only American work of his not housed in a museum. Surprisingly, it only took him 3 weeks to complete. A fun fact is that he never signs his name; instead, he adds a squirrel somewhere in the work.
All students take 8 classes in the Core including 1 religion class, The Art of Thinking, and a First-Year Seminar (these last two are taken in freshman year, 1 per semester). My tour guide took Self, Society, and Technology for her FYS, but there are plenty of options (The Seven Deadly Sins was another that popped into her head). Students can only choose their topic if they take it in 2nd semester; otherwise, it’s chosen for them coming in.
Because SHU was hosting a college fair on the day I was visiting, they were not offering the normal 2pm tour, but the admissions rep, who knew I was visiting, had a student give me a personal tour. She was absolutely wonderful – both enthusiastic and genuine. I was sold on the school. “I love giving tours! I want people to love this place as much as I do!”
Dorms are spacious, and they’re working on upgrading the oldest buildings while also building more. The newest dorm has a video game room and a cross-fit studio. The pods are “gigantic – they could be triples. It’s like a hotel.” LLC offerings include business, community connections, healthy living, and more. The Honors LLC has 12-person suites. Alcohol is not allowed in the res halls, but they do have a campus pub where of-age students can get beer and wine (no hard liquor is served); “the pub food is great for late night options!” There are 2 buffet-style dining halls, one of which is smartly located in main academic quad. Mac & Cheese is what everyone runs to get.
Greek life is one of the fastest growing groups on campus. Football is probably the most popular of the sports, drawing a lot of fans. For students wanting to get off campus, there are shuttles that run to the mall, the transit center and the ferry, and off-campus housing. The tour guide’s favorite tradition is the Penny Parade: during orientation, freshmen march through campus, throw pennies into the fountain, make a wish, and then take a group picture in the shape of their graduation year.
The arts, including Art and Design, dance, music, and theater are popular and strong. The Music department offers concentrations in performance, theory and history, and literature and theory. The Contemporary Art Gallery includes community, student, and staff. They have a few big name alumni, including John Ratzenberger (of Cheers and Pixar fame) and Kevin Nealon.
Business and communications are particularly strong here. They just opened a new building with state of the art equipment for both of these departments; the building has lots of natural light and plenty of seating and meeting areas. It’s so popular with the students as a study area that they school has started putting FYE classes in there so more students have the opportunity to use it. A new health science building is in the planning stages and will look similar to the new building. Colleges of Nursing and Health Professions will be housed in here.
The Business department has a Human Subject Lab (used a lot for psychology), a room with an X-box to record and grade presentations, and Stock-Ticker room completely wired for Skype and microphones. The microphones can be turned on to pick up questions and conversation when the Skyping with outsiders; they also can be used to translate spoken words into text for to assist hearing impaired students. The Communications department has all sorts of sets, including a news set donated by Nickelodeon. Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s degrees are available (MA in Comm, Sports Comm and Media, and Media Literacy and Digital Culture).