Greetings. We are now three weeks into the spring semester and the picture above is fitting given the forecast of an inch or two of snow tomorrow.
As you have probably noticed (or heard), Berry is in the process of updating its website to communicate more clearly what we believe is distinctive about Berry’s approach to education. We will emphasize the partnership between students and the college that is at the heart of a student’s personal and professional development. We call this partnership The Berry Compact. Our part is to provide challenging academics combined with up to eight semesters of paid professional development opportunities in a culture that is caring and supportive. Berry’s residential campus offers a community of mentors. In return, we urge students to embrace the opportunity and adopt an attitude of engagement.
I recently read an essay by Stanford University researchers explaining what is most important during the college years. Their analysis:
“The students who benefit the most from college are those who are most engaged in the academic and campus communities, taking advantage of the opportunities and resources their particular institution proves. Engagement is the key.”
They add that “the relationships students cultivate in college – especially with professors as mentors – are highly related to their learning, satisfaction with the college experience, and post-graduate success.” Here is the key take-away from the article:
Engagement is the most important factor influencing the success of students in college – how they choose to invest their time inside and outside of the classroom.
For most students, the college experience unfolds across eight semesters. The lessons and the work of the first two semesters are distinct from that of the seventh and eighth semesters. After each of these semesters, an important part of the learning process involves personal reflection and goal-setting. As you have opportunity, I encourage you to talk with them about what they are enjoying and what they are learning about themselves. (Remember, we can’t convey anything directly to you about their grades without their permission. It helps for you to have a candid and caring conversation about their progress.)
Please ask them about their experiences and the life goals that are making sense to them as they look ahead to graduation – whether that is close at hand or a couple of years away. We expect their goals to change on a regular basis, during college and in the years after, but at graduation, it is important for their self-confidence and decision-making to have a personal sense of direction and an understanding of what matters to them. Our hope is that they will discover a calling that inspires them to be self-motivated, agile and resilient learners for life.
Please let us know if you have particular concerns. You may reach out to Meredith Johnson, Assistant Dean of Students, at email@example.com or 706-236-2207.
Also, we would love for you to send us the name of others students you know who would thrive at a place like Berry. This past summer I wrote an essay that describes the importance of referrals from parents and others who know us well. (link: By Word of Your Mouth).
If you have someone to nominate, please use this link and we will reach out to offer information about Berry and invite them to visit. (link: Refer a Student)
4th Annual Parents’ Council Meeting
On October 5, 2018, Berry hosted the fourth annual Parents’ Council meeting. The Parents’ Council is an advisory body comprised of parents from the sophomore, junior, and senior classes. As parents themselves, members of that group understand how challenging it can be to keep up with everything that’s going on at Berry. During October’s meeting, Dr. Briggs shared updates regarding The Spires at Berry College, a continuing care retirement community to be located on approximately 50 acres of leased Berry property. When completed in 2020, The Spires will be a community of 170 cottage and apartment-style homes located on the shores of Eagle Lake, a former quarry. Deposits have now been paid on more than 80 percent of those residences, allowing construction to begin.
Council members engaged in round table discussions with Dr. David Slade, Associate Provost, and Lindsay Norman, Associate Dean of Students, regarding the experience of first-year students and with Dr. Andrew Bressette, Vice President for Enrollment Management, on the return on investment for Berry students. The Council rounded out the day by hearing from Shannon Biggers, Director of Creative Services, and Dr. Samantha Nazione, Assistant Professor of Communication, about Berry’s new branding and marketing strategy.
If you have questions, comments or concerns about any of these topics (or other Berry-related issues), please contact Meredith Johnson, Assistant Dean of Students, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Meredith Johnson, Assistant Dean of Students
New Signature Experience Program
As the director of a new program at Berry, the Signature Experience program (SEP), I wanted to share with you what this program is all about. The SEP was created to help students explore their personal growth while at Berry and refine their abilities to express their achievements to others in meaningful ways. After a student has completed one of our many signature learning experiences (SLEs) while at Berry (such as a study abroad, upper level student work, internship, research, leadership role etc.), they can apply to take BCC 300: Signature Experience Seminar. During this class they reflect on the connections between courses, life experiences, and real-world applications, focusing on what all of this is teaching them about themselves, their strengths, their goals, and their purpose. This is accomplished through reflective writing, discussions with the 10 peers in the class, and through a one-on-one meeting with their instructor at the coffee shop on campus.
A primary goal of this class is for students to take all that they have learned and be able to communicate this clearly and effectively with anyone, including those outside of their fields of study. One of the ways they do this is through creating an ePortfolio, a cutting-edge digital platform, to tell their story (for examples visit: here or here)
This program began officially this fall, but I taught a pilot section in Fall 2018, and I wanted to share the stories of two senior students in the pilot. First is Hannah Parker, an Exercise Science Major with a Minor in Psychology; She is currently a first-year Master’s student in Health and Exercise Science at Wake Forest University. When asked why she would recommend BCC 300 she responded:
“At Berry you will do something out of the ordinary, you’ll have a signature experience outside what a normal student gets an opportunity to partake in. It’s important to be able to describe that experience and how that experience is connected to your education, how it has affected you, and how it has affected your career and your goals.”
The second is Cole Abbott, who texted me “Guess who just landed their first zoo interview!” a couple of days ago. Cole, a Psychology major and Women’s and Gender Studies minor who was a Bonner Scholar, discovered that his true passion was educating others about animals and that he wanted to work at a zoo. However, most zoos reserve their internships for people with animal related degrees, and there are not that many internship spots available. Cole next wrote,
“I honestly don’t think I could’ve written an application good enough to land an interview without BCC 300. I knew since I didn’t have an animal related degree I needed to be able to connect psychology to work in a zoo and reflect on my experience in a way that would make it seem valuable to them. Thank you for everything you did for us in that class!”
Two days later I received this happy message “I’m moving to Texas in January!” He will be working at Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, Texas. These two stories illustrate the benefit of taking BCC 300, particularly in your junior or senior year when preparing for graduate applications or employment interviews. I hope you consider encouraging your student to take BCC 300!
Written by Susan Conradsen, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, Director of the Signature Experience Program and Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program
Parent to Parent
Mentoring Matters: More than 90 percent of Berry’s graduating seniors reported having at least two significant mentors at Berry. This University Parent article, People Your Student Should Connect and Network With in College, cites people in various roles on campus who could contribute to your student’s personal and professional development and help set them up for success after graduation.
Caring for a Sick Child from Afar: University Parent shares 10 tips for what to do when your child is sick at college. If you would like to send your student food or groceries remotely, Rome now has Dinner Delivered service as well as InstaCart. Berry College Student Government Association also offers a Care Package Service.
It Matters Where You Live
As a four-year residential community, we believe that the learning that takes place outside of the classroom is a complement to the lessons learned within the classroom. The residential experience provides a safe, real-world laboratory for your student to explore personal development, inter/intra-personal competence, social responsibility and civic responsibility. Living on campus helps students develop a positive, social structure and helps connect them to valuable campus resources. The residence hall environment offers a safe place for your student to transition into independence and truly take ownership of their college experience. One of the many ways we empower your student to take ownership over their residential experience is through the Room Selection Process.
The annual Room Selection Process is quickly approaching and we want to provide you with important information, as we know choosing a room is a family decision. It is our hope that you can help your student think through this process in order to choose the housing assignment that is best for them.
Every year, returning students have the opportunity to select their own room assignment and roommate through the Room Selection Process. This is an online process held in April each year. In order to participate in the online Room Selection Process, students must complete the following three steps by April 5th:
1. Pre-register for Fall 2019 classes
2. Pay the $200 prepayment*
3. Complete the online Housing Application at housing.berry.edu.
Your student must also have a roommate in order to participate in Room Selection. Students can see basic floor plans on their housing dashboard.
If your student does not complete the above steps by the above deadlines, they will not be allowed to go through Room Selection. If that happens, they will be assigned by our office this summer after all incoming student have been placed. Options will be limited at that point and we may not be able to honor a roommate request, so please make sure your student completes the steps above as we want them to have some choice in where they live next year.
We also encourage your student to pay close attention to the communication they will receive from Residence Life beginning in January as it will contain detailed information about this process. Your student’s Resident Assistant is also an excellent resource and opportunities to ask questions in person will also be available at multiple times, including information sessions, SGA meetings and a roommate mixer. Questions about the Room Selection Process can also be directed to email@example.com.
*Payments may be made at berry.afford.com, at the cashier’s window in Hermann Hall or via mail to Berry College, Attn: Cashier, P.O. Box 490129, Mount Berry, GA 30149. A check should indicate the student ID number and that it is for your housing prepayment. Payment must indicate that it is earmarked for the housing prepayment or it will not be credited correctly.
Written by Lindsay Norman, Associate Dean of Students
2019 Commencement and Graduation Ceremonies
Spring commencement/graduation is an exciting time for both the graduate and their family. We look forward to your joining us to celebrate and acknowledge all of the Class of 2019’s accomplishments.
MAY 3, 2019, 7 P.M. | COLLEGE CHAPEL – GRADUATE
MAY 4, 2019, 9 A.M. | EVANS SOUTH LAWN – UNDERGRADUATE
As you plan your graduation weekend, please keep these helpful tips in mind:
Graduation is outside: there is minimal shade where the graduation ceremony takes place. Bring chairs, sunblock, hat, and plenty of water to avoid dehydration, fatigue, or discomfort.
Park and walk: guests will be directed to park behind the Cage Center and walk to the ceremony location. If a member of your party needs assistance, please communicate to our Campus Safety officers directing traffic.
Plan your time: give your family plenty of time to navigate campus before and after the ceremonies. There will be many people on campus celebrating their student, and traffic will be heavier than usual. If you plan to make reservations downtown, give yourself time to enjoy meeting your student’s friends and faculty as well as allow traffic to subside before your reservation time.
For more information regarding Berry College Commencement/Graduation ceremonies, please visit http://www.berry.edu/academics/commencement/
Mark your calendar for the important dates during spring semester below!
March 11 – 15; Residence Halls will remain open
Room Selection Process
April 5: $200 housing prepayment due
April 15-17: Online room selection
Residence Halls Close for Summer
End of Year Closing: May 2 at 6:00 pm
Graduating Seniors: May 4 at 6:00 pm
Fall and Summer Registration
Fall: March 25 – April 5
Summer: April 25 – May 1
Refer a Student
We would love for you to send us the name of other students you know who would thrive at a place like Berry. If you have someone to nominate, please use this link and we will reach out to offer information about Berry and invite them to visit. (Link: berry.edu/refer)
- Berry Magazine is the flagship publication of Berry College. Each issue includes alumni features, a presidential essay, class notes and other institutional news of note. Berry is distributed three times annually to alumni and friends of the college.
- Alumni Accent is complementary e-newsletter to the Berry Magazine and is published 7-8 times each year.
- Viking Fusion is a student-run multimedia website that seeks to inform and entertain both the Berry student community and the larger public. Content on the site is exclusively authored and produced by Berry College students.
- The Carrier is a student-run weekly newspaper that addresses current issues affecting the Berry community. Content in The Carrier is exclusively authored and produced by Berry College students.
- Parent Resources is a page devoted to providing current information for parents. This page is updated monthly to provide information specific to where students are in the academic year.