Virtual Visit with BELOIT COLLEGE
Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin
Online with the University President
The focus of Conversation: The Beloit Action Plan during Covid-19 Pandemic
Scott Bierman-11th University President; Economist Professor
Jon Kaufman-VOX Global Communications
Beloit and Campus Culture:
Small liberal arts college founded in 1846
Wisconsin became a state two years later in 1848
Last 40 years has become more national/international; for example, they have as many students from CA as WI
20% of students are international
Most students: 18-22year-old; serious student body; they graduate to many different careers - many times to not mimic their majors.
Surprisingly diverse for small liberal arts in Midwest: 26% domestic non-majority
Income distribution: 1/3 of students Pell-eligible – Beloit purposefully spends a lot of money to provide access to education
Application: Beloit and Common Application – pick one.
Holistic Review: Look at academic preparation, essay/writing ability, test scores, recommendations, extracurricular activities, and optional creative samples (photography, poetry, art, music recordings, and research)
Early Decision – November 1st deadline; Early Action: December 1st.
Liberal Arts College Space:
Small liberal arts colleges have unique challenges as compared to larger higher ed institutions
A small fraction of the higher ed market (2-3%) – can get overlooked by students
One silly example – the title “liberal arts college” often gets interpreted as politically liberal – but that notion of ‘liberal’ is not political so a challenge to overcome the perception
Specifics of the moment: tuition-driven; generate tuition revenue to do a lot of what their doing; Cost them a lot of money to refund room & board and to adjust tuition to go online
Beloit Action Plan: Education That Works:
1st college to develop a plan to move to return to campus in Fall 2020; offering a way for students to move forward through 5 ways:
1. The Mods: MODULAR Plan:
Instead of taking 4 courses at one time; they do intensive work in 2 subjects at a time.
Split semester in ½ (2,8-week sessions)
Students take 2 classes in the first mod (8weeks) & 2 classes in the second mod.
If they can’t start in September, they will wait a little bit and start in later in October and then pick up the missed fall mod in summer right after the Spring modular.
2. The Midwest Match
Right now: Many families with financial upheaval.
For Beloit students who are residents of MN, IL, IN, IA, MN, MI, WI they will match the tuition of the land-grant institution of their residential state. (If a student is resident of Iowa, Beloit will match the tuition of Iowa State University – the Iowa land-grant institution) so the student will hopefully be able to stay at Beloit.
3. Advance Mentoring Program:
As soon as a student is admitted, they introduce them to comprehensive guidance and support systems for the first two-years at Beloit. It’s an intentional, inclusive interaction program with Beloit
4. Career Channels:
A relevant, real-world college experience—and graduates who are confident, focused, and employable. Voluntary apprenticeship programs.
The Beloit Promise:
Students who know that their college is investing in them. A community that runs on mutual support and understanding. And a strong, public affirmation of the value of a Beloit education.
Other Information on Pandemic Response:
In March, they made an extension of spring break; went all online the week after with the work of a university Task Force
Robust communication strategy – task force continues as a go-to group and will continue to do so.
Academics are a priority – they are proud of how they moved the herd so quickly.
Research shows getting involved on campus, belonging to a student organization, residence hall student government/ academic club/org or Fraternity/Sorority assists with retention – Student Affairs Connection to campus –
Contacting parents to ask them what makes them nervous: their response is the uncertainty of all the moving pieces.
Beloit is responding by creating a model that has enough flexibility, so it increases the likelihood to start up in a reasonable time frame. They have designated stopping points that make sense…minimize the likelihood of being online. Through the Academic strategic planning committee & Emergency action committee, they get input from faculty without having to go to the Senate. They funnel questions and concerns to a wide variety of people on campus and include them in the roll-out of new ideas in this order: students, parents, faculty/staff, alumni.
Other considerations for the start-up in fall: they looked at the Brown Op-Ed on Contact tracing, looking at Regular Covid-19 testing, looking at relative feasibility with many variables about having people back to campus.
They can generate distance easily on a college campus because of all the space so looking at:
How do we create structures to keep students at distance.
Set of behavioral principles – what are we going to commit to acting by… have students come up to identify the type of community they want to be part of.
Students police each other.
Same for Faculty/Staff principles of behavior
Important for them to be in the moment of their honor code: stamp of approval.
Changes or evolution of student life – they are re-imagining that for example, converting rooms to singles, Change the way we do food service by allowing for flexibility and distancing with food; maybe use time stamp tickets
Student groups like Fraternities and sororities will find spaces for them to get together – time-stamped opportunities to get them together to keep the campus culture going.