University of Hartford (visited 5/30/19)
Hartford is bigger than I expected (it’s over 300 acres) but relatively easy to navigate. Campus is divided into Academic and Residential sides with a stream in between. Even in late May after graduation, campus was fairly busy. They were doing Orientation Leader training, and a lot of the students knew my tour guide. She had been studying abroad for a semester, so there were a few reunions. She kept apologizing for the interruptions, but it was nice to see that students knew each other and wanted to interact.
Students seem to have a good balance to socializing and work. There’s a strong social aspect to campus. “We’re a hammock school!” said the tour guide. They have frequent faculty-student dodge ball and kickball games. However, the social doesn’t seem to interfere with either the service- or academic-minded part of things, and in fact, all of these seem to work together well. My tour guide talked about going on Alternative Spring Break: “Spending 36 hours on a bus to Houston was … an experience, but I got a lot of new best friends out of it!” All aspects of campus life seem to play off of each other and helps students have a great experience at the college.
“I love the size [there are just over 5,000 undergrads]. I’m more a name than a number,” said my tour guide. She visited other schools but knew that big lectures were not the right thing for her. There are only 2 lecture halls on Hartford’s campus, each seating 75-100 people. “They’re rarely filled to capacity.” Her smallest class had 4 students (a psych class: Discovering Yourself and Others). “He’s arguably my favorite professor. We got a one-on-one experience. To have that sort of introspection with only 4 people was great.” Her largest, another psych class, had 30. Her favorite class was Dynamics of Artistic Expression. “She catered to the education students. The staff is really here for you.”
My tour guide was an education major and was in the classroom in first semester freshman year. “I was working with the cutest 2nd graders, and it solidified that I was doing the right thing.” She went to the high school in sophomore year. “I loved that there are 3 schools on campus affiliated with the university. I can walk 15 minutes from my dorm instead of driving across town.”
Other notable academic information includes:
- They have a patent on a NASA helmet. They offer one of only a few undergraduate Acoustic Engineering degrees in the country, and students in that major got to design one of the academic lounges in a new building several years ago.
- One of the professors was awarded a Connecticut Space Grant in 2019.
- There’s a wind tunnel under one of the science buildings.
They offer a minor in Complexity!
- They just added 10,000 square feet into the business school.
- Hillyer College was one of the founding schools and is now treated a bit like a dual-enrollment school. Students looking to ease the transition through additional academic support and smaller classes (they cap classes at 18) should look at this. It grants AA degrees, and students can transition into the Bachelors if they want. Honors Students can go to Hawaii and take a 3-credit class in the winter session.
The Hartt School is a dance, music, and theater Conservatory located on a separate campus (Fine Arts are on Main Campus). These students have an 87% job placement rate at graduation. They put on 400 performances a year, and some even get live streamed. They can major in Music Ed as well.
As students cross the bridge from the academic to the residential side, they come into Alumni Plaza (“Don’t step on the H!”) The res side has a combination of older dorms clustered into small groups and a few new ones, the most notable one, Hawk Hall, opened in 2007 and has 8 residential Living Communities like Honors, STEM, emerging Leaders, Wellness, Global Engagement, and Community Service. It’s more competitive to get into and requires an essay. Students can list 2 choices on the application. Each LC has about 50 people; floors are coed by room.