I was up in New London Connecticut in January 2013 where I was surprised by the innovative changes at 2 colleges I hadn’t seen in over six years. I added the US Coast Guard Academy to my list of schools visited.
Mitchell College has 864 undergraduates [53% male/ 47% female and 31% minority] with a focus that is personal and practical. New since my last visit is Mitchell’s Campus Center and the Duques Academic Success Center. The Duques Academic Success Center is the home of advising, tutoring and the Bentsen Learning Center Program (“BCLP”). The BLCP was just redesigned for the Fall of 2012 and has four levels of support specifically designed to meet the needs of students in their freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years. Students have to apply to BLCP simultaneously while applying to Admissions at Mitchell College. They must be accepted to the College before being accepted to the BLCP program. The liaison with Admissions is Bernie Shea. With these changes, the learning support and one-on-one strategies are stronger than ever leading to improved academic success.
Nearby on Mohegan Avenue is Connecticut College. Even on a gray day, the campus is impressive. Starting at the landmark Nike – Winged Victory statue, many historic buildings house the 1,900 undergraduates of whom 98% live on campus in residence halls where students from all classes mingle. President Leo J. Higdon Jr. has said, ”Connecticut College is already known for personalized attention to each student’s learning. Our program will be state-of-the-art among liberal arts colleges.” This is clearly evidenced by two new developments on campus.
Brand new to Conn College since my last visit is the $21 million renovation and expansion of New London Hall to create an amazing high-tech home for the life sciences and computer science. It just opened in the Fall of 2012 with state-of-the –art labs, workspaces and collaborative areas for science professors. Connecticut College is especially known for supporting females in the sciences, and those on their way to the medical field. i.e. the Science Leaders Program http://www.conncoll.edu/academics/factsheets/NSF.pdf
Another noteworthy development is the plan for the $11 million Academic Resource Center to be housed on the 3rd floor of the Charles E. Shain Library. It will encompass workshops for engaging students with faculty through its curriculum. Programs include time management, reading and strategies, note-taking, test prep and organization. The Center will also incorporate best practices for effective learning, coaching and focus on high level skill development. It will also offer programs and services for students with learning disabilities through the Office of Disability Services. The Roth Writing Center will also move into the Resource Center.
Right across the street, stately and beautiful in brick and on the banks of the Thames River is the United States Coast Guard Academy. We decided to make an unplanned stop while we were so close by. As we waited for walking tour information, Admissions Director, Daniel Pinch, offered us an impromptu info session where we learned everything about the Coast Guard Academy in an hour. The Coast Guard has more females than any other service academy [36%.] They have the highest retention rate after required service is completed which of course may have to do with the nature of their mission. The US. Coast Guard Academy is much more humanitarian in its service versus the other service academies who focus more on combat. They work with Homeland Security, protect our ports, support the CIA and FBI, contain oil spills, protect our borders against drug smuggling and illegal immigration, break ice for fishing vessels and support the shipping industry. The majors are limited to engineering, government and STEM subjects (Science, Technology, and Math), so if you have other interests to pursue, this is not the place for you. You must complete your studies in four years, so the curriculum is quite rigorous. However, these are “Leaders of Character,” and the rewards are great, not to mention four years of free tuition, room and board. It is a beautiful place to attend school.
There’s something for everyone in New London, Connecticut, not to mention the incredible restaurants – especially good for those who love seafood! We loved S & P Oyster Company in Mystic, Connecticut http://www.sp-oyster.com/ , Anthony J’s Bistro http://www.anthonyjsbistro.com/ or Azu http://azuct.com/azu/index.shtml , which we didn’t have a chance to try but next time we are in Mystic we are certainly going to do so!