campus encounters

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Archive for the tag “Industrial Psychology”

Western New England University

Western New England University (visited 5/29/19)

WNEU fountain“I chose to come here because people here looked happy. Everyone at the other school I was considering looked stressed out. I definitely made the right choice.”

I feel very confident recommending WNEU to students. I love walking away from a college with that feeling, particularly when I knew almost nothing about it to start. First, I love that WNEU made their campus easy to navigate – and particularly that their Welcome Center was so easy to find.

WNEU 2More importantly, I love that WNEU is able to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Because of this, enrollment has been going up despite the declining demographics. I spent over an hour talking to the Dean of Admission: “I love where we’re going. It’s so different from when I was in school. We’re looking to add majors and programs. The only true competition we have in the area is UMass.”

WNEU 9

The Library entrance

It’s no secret that universities face a lot of competition, particularly in the Northeast. Because there are so many institutions to choose from, WNEU has deliberately differentiated themselves. “We tend to sent trends. We get things going, and within a couple years, it seems like other places are starting to pick up on what we’re doing, but that just helps us to keep thinking outside the box.” One way they do this is by the working between the colleges:

  • WNEU sci bldg int

    The atrium of one of the science buildings

    They are one of the few schools this size to have a Law School on campus. They use this to their advantage.

    • They’ve created a BS/JD Engineering and Law program for people who want to go into patent law. “This is a really rigorous program and usually only a few students will do this in any given year.”
    • They offer a 3+3 accelerated law Students essentially finish their major/core requirements in the first 3 years and “save the electives for senior year. The first year of law school basically fills those electives, and then they get the Bachelors degree.”
  • Business:
    • WNEU solar house

      A solar house built by students; they took this to a national competition in California

      Ohio University was the pioneer of the Sports Management, but WNEU has the only other one with double accreditation. “Don’t come here for Kinesiology. Come here for the business side.” They’ve been ranked #1 in this department.

    • They have a strong programs in Arts and Entertainment Management, Sport Leadership and Coaching, and Pharmaceutical Business.
    • Accounting is ranked #2 for recruitment of students by major companies out of Hartford (only UConn beat them and they’re 4 times bigger).
    • They are 1 of only 7 schools offering classes in SAP and the only one to offer its students a chance to gain certification. Students with this often get a $6,000-8000 bump in salary. They also offer SAS certification in Business Analytics. Market Analytics is also getting big, especially for non-profits.
  • WNEU lab 2

    One of the labs

    Engineering puts students into labs immediately as freshman, they complete group projects every year, and every student gets a paid internship before graduation. The university has good relationships with United Technology, Smith & Wesson, and many more. Some freshmen even get internships because the program is so strong, but they can’t earn credit until junior year.

  • WNEU Sci and PharmHealth Sciences has almost doubled in size in the last couple years. It’s their version of pre-med.
    • Pre-Optometry and Pre-Physician Assistant are 4-year tracks that aren’t capped.
    • Pharmacy is a 6-year program (2 in pre-pharm, 4 in pharm). They only take 65 students into the program each year, and the SATs are required. If they’re accepted, it’s early-assurance. If they earn a 3.3 GPA in the first 3 semesters with no grades lower than a C-, they’re guaranteed a seat without the need for rec letters or tests. “This helps the students know that it’s really what they want so they can change their mind and still transfer credits into another major. It also helps the school by not having them transfer out of the professional program.”
  • WNEU psych classes

    A poster helping students navigate the multitude of options within the psychology department

    In the Arts & Sciences, Criminal Justice and Psych are the biggest majors.

    • CJ offers concentrations such as Homeland Security and Terrorism, Victim Studies, Criminal Investigations (like the forensics w/o the science), legal studies.
    • Psych: offers both BA or BS (more research oriented) with more than 15 tracks (not a concentration) such as clinical, sports, forensics, environmental psych, and industrial/organizational.
    • Forensic Bio and Forensic Chem are also popular.

WNEU 6I love that they offer so many accelerated, direct-entry, and 4+1 programs. “Anything we can do to help out the student and maybe save them a bit of money is beneficial.”

It’s amazing how deliberate they are in helping students find the right fit, even if that isn’t WNEU. “The resources and the opportunities make it the right fit. I’d rather lose kids who don’t want to be here than try to convince them to come and then lose them. That doesn’t help anyone. If we can’t support you, if we don’t have the major you want, then I’m going to tell a student to look at another school.” This plays a huge role in retention.

WNEU 10Another way they help prospective students is to tell them where they stand if they bring a transcript and test scores to their visit. Many programs (particularly business and Arts & Sciences are test-optional). “We can let them know if sending in test scores is a good idea or not in these cases when we look over stuff.”

“We’d rather take the B/B+ students who work hard and have been involved in school life because they’re the ones who will take advantage of more opportunities. The 4.0 kids are often more focused on the books. The others are looking to get involved and do really well here. We’ll have the kids who struggled or didn’t want to come here to give tours. They’re the best ambassadors we have.”

WNEU cupola 2One of the perceived drawbacks of the college is the location, “but this is NOT the same city it was 20 years ago. It’s no longer on the Dangerous City List,” said the rep. Springfield is the 3rd largest city in Massachuetts and the city of Firsts (Basketball, Goodyear tires, and the Webster dictionary to name a few). The casino has come in, people have moved up from Hartford, and there’s quite a bit of revitalization. There are resources available for students, not just in the city but the region.

WNEU mascot 2

The Mascot statue which students ride

Campus is also booming. They have clubs for transfers, vets, and commuters so they look out for all sorts of students. One of the most popular “and one of the most welcoming clubs I’ve ever seen” is Warp, a gaming club. They’re looking into adding E-Sports, potentially starting it as a club. There are a number of popular traditions, including:

  • Students are supposed to ride the Bear statue (the mascot) before they graduate
  • Painting the rock to advertise something
  • Midnight Madness – intro to winter sports
  • Bear Olympics: this part of transitions program in the first 3 weeks. Every dorm and a Commuter Team all compete. I think it’s great that they include commuters in this; they often get left out of dorm competitions.

Sports are also popular, both to play and for students to go watch. They’re starting a Women’s Ice Hockey team in 2020 (this may help balance out the gender imbalance – they’re currently at 60% male which makes sense because of their engineering programs). The rep would love to see an ice hockey rink built on campus. “We’re losing talented players because other places have the rink.” He’d also love to build up the arts a bit more. They have an established theater program but no black box. He’d love to combine Sports Management and Business Analytics. Some Masters programs could be added and increase the offerings – but this just links back to WNEU being on the cutting edge. Everyone is thinking about the next thing there.

© 2019

Embry Riddle Aeronautic University

Embry-Riddle Aeronautic University (Informational Lunch on 9/18/14)

ERAU has two campuses: one in Florida (located next to the Daytona airport) with 5,500 students, and one in Arizona with 2,000 students. “The Arizona campus is up in the mountains and just stunning!” said one of the reps. Students come from all over the country, and per capita, they travel further to attend ER than anywhere else in the country, coming from an average of almost 800 miles away. Currently, their student population is almost 80% male, but that’s slowly lowering towards 75%.

The university got its start in 1925 when Embry took a flight lesson – a $20 plane ride –from Riddle. From there, they started a flight school, an airline (now American!), and a mail route. They taught flight and maintenance classes in Miami through WWII, and the school officially became a university in the 1960s.

Some majors are only offered at specific campuses. Global Security, Forensic Biology, Wildlife Science, and Industrial Psychology (among others) are only in Arizona. Aerospace & Occupational Safety, Computational Math, Business Administration, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems Science (among others) are only offered in Florida. However, most majors are available at either campus. Usually, students will stay at one campus for their 4 years. Sometimes they move after freshman year, particularly if their academic interests shift, but they generally don’t bounce back and forth between the two.

There are a lot of interesting things going on academically. Clearly, any of the aviation sciences are incredibly strong. Options range from Aviation Business Administration to Aeronautical Engineering to Air Traffic Management. “We shape industry and write policy.” They have a crash lab; both airlines and the government will hire them to look at why crashes happen and how they can avoid them in the future. Aviation students pay per hour for flight training which can be $15-18,000 for the first year, and it decreases after that.

Engineering is another strong and popular area. In addition to all the subcategories you’d expect, students can study Motorsports and Unmanned and Autonomated Systems. They offer both Computer Science and Computer Engineering. Comp Sci majors builds the software; Comp Eng builds the interface and is almost a bridge between Comp Sci and Electrical Engineering (they build the hardware). They also offer 2 meteorology programs: Applied meteorology is much more math intensive. These are the people who create the predictive models for weather forecasting. Operational meteorology doesn’t create the forecasting; they have an understanding of the weather, but are looking towards broadcasting or other fields that need that understanding rather than doing the behind-the-scenes forecasting.

Just over a third of the students live on campus. It’s guaranteed and required for the first year, and it’s guaranteed for those who want it during the 2nd year. There’s a housing office to help students find off-campus housing, but a lot is found just by driving around. There are a lot of apartment complexes nearby. Most students will drive in and park on campus. All students can have cars, and at most, parking is 15 minutes away. Parking spaces are based on their residential status (living on campus or commuting).

In terms of admissions, Engineering is looking for close to a 3.9 GPA. They require pre-calc, physics, and chemistry, and they prefer that students already have calculus. For Aviation majors, they must have at least Algebra 2. Students can test out of classes through AP scores, but they recommend that students do the whole program so there are no gaps. It’s a little easier to test out of the English, social science requirements through AP. Merit based scholarships are based on the application. They are now test optional! If they do submit scores, they can’t hurt the students, according to the rep.

Two of the reps I spoke with are alumni. One was most surprised at the all the ways there were to get involved – that’s what made him comfortable, less homesick, and ultimately kept him at the school. The other rep was surprised by the drive and the focus of the students. At first he said that he couldn’t think of anything that they should never change because they shift to meet new technologies and needs of the job field – but then he said that they should never change their flexibility. One of them said that he’d like to improve the endowment so they can give out better scholarships. He said that he expects that this will improve over time: the alums are young, so they’re not donating as much as some other places.

Students who transfer out often leave because their academic interests have changed. Others go to their local state schools because of finances.

Florida has DII sports; Arizona has NAIA. Students can participate in Army or Air Force ROTC on either campus; Navy ROTC is currently only in Florida. About 15% of the students are in Greek life. Clubs include rocket club, skydiving, and scuba diving. There’s a new student center and res halls in the works for the Florida campus. Both reps said that the food is good. Students love the omelets! There’s also lots of non-dining hall options such as Chick-fil-a and Starbucks.

(c) 2014

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