campus encounters

"Get the first-hand scoop about colleges and universities"

Archive for the tag “Organizational Leadership”

Case Western Reserve University

CASE WESTERN RESERVE (visited 4/11 and 1/13)

~CWR bikes and quadOne of the admissions reps described Case Western students this way: “Every place says that their kids are nice. . . . it’s bizarre here.” So nice, in fact, that students regularly take up the Million Minute Community Service Challenge.

~CWR 5Students are also very competitive, very smart, and very demanding on themselves. Many double or even triple major. “Our kids are focused but not so set in their one path that they aren’t willing to try other things.” However, about 2/3 do end up graduating in the division in which they entered, although not necessarily the same major. Nursing is the exception to this with about 95% continuing.

CWR students

Students collaborating in a Business School lounge.

Students can be creative and innovative here: they design, fail, break things, and try again. The school isn’t setting kids up to fail. Often, this is the first time they’re with a lot of people who were in the top of their classes in high school but learn quickly that this is ok.

~CWR dorms and track

New residential area surrounding some of the athletic facilities

This is a big campus for 4500 undergraduates (about ¼ of whom are from Ohio); there are actually more graduate and professional students than undergrads, but CWR is actively increasing research opportunities for undergrads who can start as early as the first year. Case actively looks for ways to “expand” campus by encouraging students to utilize all the wonderful things at their doorstep in the city of Cleveland. Campus borders University Circle, a renowned cultural, artistic, medical, and educational center.

Case’s SAGES program (Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship) includes 5 semester-long, writing-intensive seminars. These classes, limited to 17 students, include 3 interdisciplinary classes over the first two years, 1 class in the student’s major, and a capstone project. Students can no longer test out of their writing requirement based on AP scores, and faculty say that this helps with writing skills. The content and sequence is “integrated and intentional. Students are well-coached and well-practiced in skills employers want.”

~CWR 7The first seminar (taken in the first year) focuses on skill building by providing extensive feedback about writing, speaking, engagement, etc. Students have several options meant to engage them in life of the mind. The built-in “Fourth Hour” includes events scheduled in the institutions around the Circle (Art museum, Natural History museum, etc) so that students take advantage of the region’s cultural capital. Before the end of sophomore year, students also complete 2 University Seminars meant to extend knowledge by exploring topics at a more sophisticated level. They produce longer writing projects and oral presentations showing a more advanced analysis. The Seminar in Major allows them to become facile in disciplinary knowledge and the modes of communication in that discipline. Finally, the Capstone allows them to define a problem or ask a question, then find a solution or answer. It could be an experiment, an artistic creation, an extensive research project, etc. Both written and oral presentations are required.

~CWR 6About 2/3 of the students are in the Science and Engineering departments. Biomedical Engineering draws the most students followed by Mechanical Engineering. Systems and Control Eng., Engineering Physics, Civil Engineering, and Polymer Science and Engineering are the “small but mighty” departments. In the Sciences, the Gerontological Studies, History and Philosophy of Science, and Evolutionary Biology programs are worth noting.

~CWR Applied SSTheir Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences departments are smaller but still strong; these departments will feel much more like a small Liberal Arts college with discussion courses. There are several Collaborative Programs that link CWR with other schools and programs throughout the city. Their music department is a bit unusual in that they teach musicology and music history but not theory or performance: students looking for those can cross-register at the Cleveland Institute of Music and neither can complete degrees without the other. They do the same with the Cleveland Institute of Art: students at either school interested in Art Education complete part of their degrees at the other school. All CWR students can take up to 4 credits per term at either the CIA (Art) or CIM (music).

~CWR business 3

Business School

The Business School is booming and housed in a modern, well-designed building. Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Organizational Leadership, International Business, and Supply Chain Management are particularly worth taking a look at.

~CWR nursing

Nursing building

The nursing program is particularly strong and is named as one of the top 15 in the country. This is a direct-entry program with classes starting in the first semester – and clinicals starting in week 3! Students complete 1600 clinical hours before graduation, almost 2 times the national average. If that weren’t impressive enough, students can also study abroad through articulation agreements with programs in China, Cameroon, and Alaska (yes, they know that this isn’t abroad – but students say that it sometimes feels that way in the small villages they’re placed in!). One student from Pittsburgh did her capstone in Hong Kong where she audited classes and studied increasing obesity in high schoolers. Also unusual is that students in the program can double major. One student from Cincinnati is also getting a degree in PoliSci.

Applications have increased more than 200% in the last 8 years; international apps are up from 500 to over 4000. Applicants get ranked in 22 academic, leadership, and extra-curricular categories. They currently admit about 42% of applicants. Students who visited campus, went to the HS visit, or did an alumni interview are twice as likely to be admitted. “We can still take kids with a 1200 SAT. We don’t want to have it harder to do that.” They have a single-door admission except for music (audition requirement) and art (portfolio requirement).

~CWR north Res VillageFreshmen are housed in 4 residential communities helping Case with their excellent 93% retention rate. There are also residential complexes for 2nd year and for upperclass students. Their Graduating Senior Experience program is one of the few I’ve run into. Almost 1/3 of students are Greek-affiliated (and many live in Greek Housing). 20% of students stay on campus to take classes, do research, or just take advantage of other opportunities during the summer. The college-owned Squire Valleevue Farm is about 8 miles from main campus. Aquatic Biology is offered in May Term so students can go into the streams for hands-on learning. There’s also a ceramics area out there.

© 2015

College of Saint Joseph

College of St. Joseph (visited 4/16/14)

St. Joe's missionThis is the first tour I’ve ever taken during which the Director of Food Services talked to the group (she came out as we were eating breakfast). She has been here for 8 years, and not only works in the dining hall, but also teaches Kick Boxing to the kids. She really gets to know them; “I know when something isn’t right. I know their names, and within a couple months, I know their footsteps as they pass by my office.”

St. Joe's Acad BldgThis small school of 350 students sits on 117 acres in the small city of Rutland, Vermont. They’re starting to transfer some of that land so they can grow their own food which will be served in the dining hall. The food is all homemade; “if something doesn’t taste like mom’s food, bring me mom’s recipe. We’ll make it.”



The campus is so small that the tour only took about 20 minutes. They currently have two single-sex dorms, but are looking to increase the residential population by 30% so the dorms may become coed by next year. The dorm we went into looks like a motel with doors leading right outside, but the suites are lovely. The common room even comes with a TV! Students who opt for a single room pay a $500 per semester surcharge.

St. Joe's statueOne tour guide said that the Catholic tradition was “historical rather than practical, but we’re looking to reactive that tradition.” Another one basically said “It’s a Catholic institution. We’re not actively looking for other students.” Despite the level of affiliation with the Catholic Church, they do institute the core values of Sisters of St. Joseph which include a commitment to hospitality and concern for people around them; part of their mission is to reach out to others. They run a wonderful program called STEPs (Students Taking an Effective Path to Success) to support students from the Vermont Foster Care system. They accept 5-7 students under this program each year and support them through the college years, including full room and board year-round, including breaks. Students in this program graduate at almost ten times the national average. They also enroll a high percentage of first-gen students, and almost 90% are Pell Eligible. They really live up to what they said about admitting their freshmen class: “It’s not about your SAT score. It’s about who you want to be when you exit.”

St. Joe's Acad Bldg 2Starting next fall, they’re moving to a four-day schedule with no classes on Wednesday which will be Community Day. There will be time set aside for the Freshman Experience, for spiritual reflection, for work in the community, and for tutoring or extra help/meeting time with faculty.

They’re just wrapping up their first year of the Provider Scholarship Program which provides a scholarship in exchange for service to the school and community. Students have to be intellectually curious, participate in a campus activity of their choosing (could be a club, sport, etc), complete 15 hours of community service hours per semester (usually with a local company), and attend a career workshop. There’s a declining cost structure; students get an increase in scholarship money each year as long as they continue to meet the requirements. The Director of Admissions partially credits their rising retention rate to this (75% return for sophomore year compared to 49% a few years ago).

They have a limited number of majors due to their small size, but they do offer a couple unusual options including Radiography, Organizational Leadership, and Sports Management. Students in the Business program can complete a concentration in Social Media. Classes are small, and even the introductory levels usually only have 13-20 students. Upper levels often have 5 or 6. Because there are so few students, they can be placed in meaningful internships.

© 2014

Post Navigation