win this week’s care package!

Care Package FrontHappy Wednesday, friends! It’s time for a special mid-week installment of our care package giveaway. All first and second semester students are eligible to win – just post an answer to the following question before midnight TONIGHT to be included in the drawing for this week’s care package. The winner will be chosen randomly from all of the respondents Thursday morning. Here goes:

If you could be the current world champion in any one sport, which sport would it be?

get to know summer@hampshire!

Written by program assistant Nina Gunther-Segal 13F

summerprograms-mainWondering how you’re going to spend the summer? Looking for a way to immerse and educate yourself in a particular area of interest? Lamenting the fact that in only a few months the school year will end, and you’ll have to leave campus? Then Hampshire’s Summer Academic Programs are for you!

I had a conversation with Abby Ferguson, an expert on the Summer Academic Programs, who told me what first-year students might want to know about them. They’re a series of programs designed to reflect Hampshire’s strengths during the academic year, and a time when Hampshire opens up course offerings to students from all over the country. They’re primarily undergraduate programs (although there is one pilot high school program this year) and because the programs are rooted in academics, they provide transfer credit. Abby made a point of letting me know that they’d really love first-year students to look into the programs — it’s an incredible opportunity to participate in a variety of hands-on, uniquely Hampshire activities (experientially-focused, interdisciplinary) that you won’t get at other schools.

Here’s some more specific info about the individual programs:

Food, Farm and Sustainability: This is Hampshire’s flagship summer program, now in its third year. It’s six weeks long, from June 2 to July 11. Participating students will have the opportunity to work on the farm and with Natural Sciences faculty to look at sustainable agriculture from a variety of perspectives. It’ll include lots of hands-on learning activities: communal meal preparation, working at a variety of local farms, and enjoying the beauty of the Pioneer Valley in the summer while integrating work and education. Partnerships with local farms are deeply rooted in the curriculum, and the immersive program really gets at the root of sustainable agriculture.

TESOL Teacher Training Course: This program, during the month of June, allows students to delve into the coursework of teaching English to speakers of other languages, gaining a TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certificate in the process. It’s strongly connected to the Fulbright Program — many students go on to get Fulbright scholarships after taking this course; it also opens up incredible opportunities, globally.

Creative Media Institute: This is Hampshire’s summer film studies program, for four weeks at the end of the summer. Every year it has a different focus–this year’s is non-fiction media, and will be an opportunity to get inside documentary filmmaking in an immersive way. Not only is it open to students, but also to practitioners and filmmakers, who can come and take the course alongside students. This is particularly cool because it allows different learning communities to communicate, learning side-by-side and from one another. Students are encouraged to bring their works in progress to the program. The program involves lots of screening and responding to films. It will have several guest faculty and artist visitors, among them two Hampshire alums: esteemed filmmakers Ken Burns and Brett Morgen.

Institute for Curatorial Practice: This one’s brand new, and the summer programs organizers are very excited about it. It’s a five-week program that examines the practice of curation from all sorts of disciplines. The education provided is cutting edge, attempting to take museum studies into the 21st century. This is a program that takes full advantage of the Five College Consortium, firmly rooting its education in the collections, archives and exhibitions of the area. There will be many field trips and museum visits, and as part of the course, students will get to use what they learn to create digital exhibitions in groups.

Designing Social Impact: Hampshire students can’t take this one, because it’s a high school program, but if you know of any high schoolers (age 16+) who might be interested in experiencing the unique things Hampshire does, let them know! This is a design-focused program that takes advantage of the fact that Hampshire is one of the first liberal arts colleges with a fully-functional fabrication shop. Students will get to work in the Center for Design with faculty to innovate and develop their own projects.

Interested? Apply online — go to summer.hampshire.edu and click on the program that interests you to find an application. It’s a relatively simple process, and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The priority deadline is April 14, meaning students are encouraged to get their application materials in by then — this is the last date by which spots can be guaranteed in the programs. As students apply, faculty will meet to review applications and make admissions decisions. Hampshire students are eligible for federal aid for the programs’ cost (if so, indicate your interest on the application form). Students can also take more than one program, because they’re staggered throughout the summer.

This is an amazing opportunity to see the college from all sorts of areas! You can talk to your advisor or a faculty member about how to apply it to your coursework and the overall trajectory of your Hampshire education.

If you have any more questions, email Abby Ferguson (afPR@hampshire.edu) or summer@hampshire.edu. And for more information about all the programs, check out the official Summer Academic Programs page.

taming your reading dragons

Written by program assistant Nina Gunther-Segal 13F

Taming Your Reading DragonsOn Tuesday, February 25 (after some scheduling issues due to snow!) Asha Kinney and Alana Kumbier shared their reading expertise with a group of interested students. Asha works in IT, specifically with educational technology, and Alana is a research librarian who works mostly with CSI classes. If you’re interested in getting an overview of what happened at this workshop and what resources were introduced — if you, too, would like to learn to tame those reading dragons — read on!

What Happened:
Participating students received a handout with a list of the topics that would be covered at the meeting, their brains fueled by the multitude of delicious snacks provided (seriously, Trader Joe’s has the best snacks). Alana and Asha started off by giving participants the opportunity to ask to focus on specific things with which they might have needed help. They went on to provide participants with tons of helpful information, starting with low-tech options (all-purpose reading and distraction-avoidance strategies) and then ramping up to higher-tech ones (dealing with PDFs, text-to-speech, etc.).

What We Learned–Low-Tech Tips:

  • The SQ3R reading method: This is a prescribed process for reading that really helps with retaining and digesting the information you encounter. It’s broken down into five steps:
    1. Survey – Go over the chapter, looking at headings and its general structure and content, before you dive in more deeply.
    2. Question – While surveying, ask questions about what you’re seeing (i.e. turn headings into questions).
    3. Read – This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but basically just do what you’d normally do when reading, structuring your understanding with your prior surveying/questioning.
    4. Recite – After reading a section, go back over its content and tell it back to yourself (or another person). Reproducing the content in your own words can be especially helpful if you need to write a paper on the topic and want to assimilate the information to avoid reciting it verbatim.
    5. Review – Step away from the chapter and then come back to it over a period of several days to better assimilate it.
  • Reading three times: Don’t worry–this doesn’t mean three times as much work! Instead, try this:
    1. Skim the reading (look at the headings, intro, and conclusion).
    2. Read more deeply — add annotations, and attempt to contextualize the information in the overall study of your class to figure out what’s most important to retain.
    3. Go back and note whatever is most important after class discussion of the reading.
  • Pomodoro Technique: This entails working in 25-minute increments (or however long works best for you) to accomplish a task. So many of us don’t even start a task because it’s too daunting, so breaking it down and having an end in sight makes it more psychologically manageable. Here’s how this works:
    1. Pick a task to accomplish.
    2. Set a timer for 25 minutes (here’s a helpful one: pomodoro.me).
    3. Work on the task without any diversion for 25 minutes, until the timer rings (if anything else comes up, ignore it and write it down to do later).
    4. Also helpful is keeping track of how many increments you’re doing for a task, to get a sense of your general pacing for various tasks (i.e. to read a certain number of pages); this allows you to plan the timing of your future work.
  • Miscellany:

    1. If you’re reading and you come across words or concepts you don’t know, take note of them and skip them, then return to them later–this helps prevent breaking the flow of your focus.
    2. A speed-reading technique that helps with visual focus is placing your fingers below the line you’re reading and following along so that only that line is visible. You can increase the speed of your hand’s movement to encourage yourself to read more quickly without losing track of your place on the page.

Higher-Tech Reading Tips:

  • Making text in a PDF recognizable to your computer: If you want to be able to select blocks of text or use text-to-speech, your computer needs to recognize it as text — the text in PDFs often appears to your computer as an image (especially if it’s a scanned book), but there’s a way to fix this! Robobraille.org allows you to upload a PDF and change it into recognizable text; you can also pick what kind of file it’s converted into (i.e. document, mp3 audio, Braille, e-book).
  • Adobe Reader annotations: Adobe Reader 11 (if you don’t already have it, it’s available for free download) has various tools for annotation. These include sticky notes, highlighting in different colors, recording audio, and drawing shapes. You can also search the text content of your notes for particular terms, making it a lot easier to find your notes on a particular subject. Preview also has similar features for annotation.
  • Text to speech: Hearing as well as seeing a reading can be helpful for understanding, and help keep focus. You can do this through robobraille.org, by having the PDF converted to mp3 audio. Mac users can select a block of text in TextEdit and convert it to an iTunes mp3 (and even change the voice and its speed in System Preferences > Speech > Text to speech). You can also download NaturalReader for free. And if you have an iPad/iPhone/Android, there’s the VoiceDream app, which has better voices than usual and a perfectly serviceable free version.
  • BeeLine Reader: Go to beelinereader.org to have the color of your text change in a subtle gradation, in such a way as to help keep your eye flowing. It sounds weird, but is actually really helpful.

A Final Note:
Asha and Alana noted the importance of having a backup method for documents. Hard drives die, and as terrible as that is, it’s even more terrible if they contain all your work and you lose that, too. There are several ways to do this, and an added benefit is that they make your work accessible from multiple computers (as well as iPhones and other devices):

  • Dropbox: It’s a free service that gives you plenty of remote storage in a folder on your desktop. Sign up and download it here: https://www.dropbox.com.
  • Google Drive: Allows you to create documents, presentations, spreadsheets, etc. and keep them all in one place on your Google Drive account, organized by folder. (drive.google.com)

Get In Touch:
If you’d like to reach Alana or Asha, or want more information on the workshop handouts, here’s their contact info:

Questions? Comments? You can reach us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu.

win this week’s care package!

Care Package Front

Happy Thursday, friends. It’s time for the first care package giveaway question of the semester!

All first and second semester students are eligible to win a care package – just post an answer to the following question in the comments before midnight TONIGHT to be included in the drawing for this week’s care package. The winner will be chosen randomly from all of the respondents tomorrow morning. Yay!

If you could choose the person who would play you in a movie about your life, who would you choose?

our identities, our community (and why you should attend!)

OIOCAre you a first-year student? Want to learn more about identity and how to engage in dialogue about difference? Our Identities, Our Community, a foundational identity workshop for first-year students, is coming up on Saturday, February 8, and we’d love for you to join us. Want to learn more? Read on for great information, and answers to the most common questions!

What’s this workshop all about?
As individuals, we bring a variety of different identities with us to the Hampshire community, many of which take on new meaning as we immerse ourselves in our new surroundings. As a participant, this workshop will help you to better understand your own multitude of identities, the ways in which they intersect, and how they inform your experiences at Hampshire and in the U.S. You’ll also be introduced to behaviors that support dialogue in a diverse community, with the goal of empowering yourself and others to continue to engage in conversations about social justice, oppression, power, and privilege at Hampshire and beyond.

Who is facilitating the workshop? Anyone I know?
The workshop will be facilitated by the Design Studio for Social Intervention, great friends of Hampshire College who have hosted workshops and trainings for a number of different groups and programs on campus. They have an informative, interactive, and engaging afternoon planned, and can’t wait to share it with you. Staff members from the office of new student programs will also be in attendance to provide support to the facilitators and to connect you with campus resources that will help you extend what you’ve learned beyond the workshop space and into the campus community.

Why would I want to attend something like this?
There are innumerable reasons to attend Our Identities, Our Community, but here are a few of our favorites:

  • You want to engage more deeply in conversation about identity and social justice in class or with other students, but feel intimidated and worried about saying the wrong thing.
  • You want to learn more about your own and others’ identities, how they intersect, and understand how identities can influence individuals’ experiences in the United States.
  • You want to meet other first-year students who share the same interests and passions as you do, and find new ways to connect.
  • You want to learn more about campus resources related to social justice and community advocacy.
  • You want to attend the ASK Conference in late February, and would like to learn some foundational concepts beforehand.
  • You’d like to earn four CEL-1 hours while you learn!

Sounds good to me. When is it and how do I register?
Saturday, February 8
12-4 p.m. (lunch provided)
Franklin Patterson Hall

Registration is limited to 50 participants, so register now to reserve your space!

Questions? Email us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu. We hope to see you there.

preparing for winter break!

Campus Residences close for winter break Tuesday, December 17th at 9 p.m. What do you need to know and do for shut down? Read on (and click on the checklist below) for more details!

December closing FLIERONLY FOLKS OFFICIALLY APPROVED TO STAY LATE CAN BE HERE AFTER DECEMBER 17!
You should have already filled out your late stay form online. Anyone on campus without approval will be asked to leave immediately, and will be charged $100 per night.

DON’T FORGET TO TAKE IMPORTANT STUFF… KEYS, PASSPORT, ID, TRAVEL TICKETS, MEDICATION, ETC!
Staff can’t access your room after shut down. Remember to bring room keys and ID back to campus with you when you return. If you’re worried about losing your ID over break, you can leave it in your mailbox and it will be waiting for you when you get back to campus. Questions? Ask at the post office for more information.

ROOMS WILL BE INSPECTED
Staff make sure your room and common area are safe and secure. Violations will be noted and illegal stuff confiscated.

Don’t forget to shut and lock windows, close shades and curtains, remove trash, unplug alarm clocks and other electronics, and lock doors.

RETURNING FOR JAN TERM?
Houses reopen on January 5th at NOON. Early arrival is not possible, so please plan ahead!

Questions? Watch The Low Down on Shut Down, and feel free to get in touch with the Housing Operations Office (HOO) at housing@hampshire.edu. Enjoy your break!

win this week’s care package!

Care Package FrontHappy Thursday, friends. It’s time for this week’s care package giveaway question!

All first and second semester students are eligible to win a care package – just post an answer to the following question in the comments before midnight TONIGHT to be included in the drawing for this week’s care package. The winner will be chosen randomly from all of the respondents tomorrow morning. Yay!

If you could be a contestant on any game show, which would you choose?

final projects and self-evals and course portfolios, oh my!

Written by program assistant Xavier A. Torres de JanonOh My

Your first college semester is almost over (can you believe it?), and for Hampshire students, this means three things: final projects, self-evaluations, and course portfolios. Wondering how to get it all done? We’ve compiled some advice and helpful suggestions for you to consider as the semester-crunch kicks in.

Final projects: the tougher sibling of final exams

Think final exams are harder than final projects? Well, any Hampshire student can immediately tell you that that’s mostly false. Final projects are tough, but they are not impossible. As long as you are working on them continuously, not allowing yourself to leave everything until hours before the deadline, you will be fine. Before you know it, you’ll have everything handed in, ready to rest and relax during Winter Break. Of course, writing a college-level 8+ page paper can be intimidating and stressful, so here are some tips that might be helpful:

  • Dedicate the timeThe quality of an academic project is directly related the amount of time dedicated for it. Trust me, professors can tell the difference between an all-nighter and a thoroughly edited essay. Try to put some work into your finals right now. Your future self will be pretty thankful!
  • Faculty are there for youYour professor will be the one evaluating your final, and so their expectations and requirements matter a lot. If you need guidance or just plain encouragement, reach out to them. Our faculty tend to also be very willing to give you feedback on drafts of your finals. If you feel uncertain of how your project is looking, send an e-mail to your professor. Comments from them can make the difference between a great and an outstanding final.
  • Breathe in, breathe out, and relax – Don’t overwork yourself. During finals season, there are a lot things going on at Hampshire to help you with research and writing — including a library workshop called Ask the Experts THIS WEDNESDAY from 7-9 p.m. on the first floor of the library. There’s also plenty of programming put up to help you de-stress, like Library Study Breaks and Wellness Center relaxation events.

Looking back and reflecting: self-evaluations

A big part of a Hampshire education involves reflecting on your own academic work, progress and growth. You’ll probably hear a lot about self-evaluations in the upcoming days. The good news is that you already wrote a short self-eval during your mid-semester evaluation, so you should have an idea of what a self-eval looks like. These are not critiques of the class or its professor, but a personal analysis of your performance in the class. Some faculty have specifics that they want to see in your self-eval, while others allow you to engage with them independently. Self-evals will be read by your professors when they’re writing your final evaluations, so make sure to include things that you’d like to remind or point out to your professor about your engagement with the class.

Honestly, I didn’t enjoy writing self-evals during my first semester. I struggled with them and felt that I was re-writing repetitive information for all of them. However, now I see their usefulness and importance. These are great opportunities for you to write down your evolution of academic interests and passions. What interested you in the class? What do you want to explore more? Would you take a similar class again? For more self-eval advice, specifics and recommendations, check out this previous post on our blog, written by former program assistant Cat Guzman 10F.

 “Where did I put that paper?!”: course portfolios

Another unique aspect of Hampshire classes is the demand of course portfolios. These packets (generally submitted in a large manila envelope) contain your classwork throughout the semester and help your professors in providing a fair assessment of your academic performance. There is no formula for a course portfolio, as each professor will want to see different things in them. Overall, though, you should be prepared to provide a compilation of your semester’s work, a self-eval and the class’s final project.

Ideally, the assignments in your portfolio should be the original versions, with faculty comments included. In other words, this is a good time to organize your room, folders, and files to dig up your papers of the semester. That being said, some professors will be flexible in accepting re-printed versions in your portfolio, but try your best to find the originals. If you got the paper back, it’s bound to be somewhere in your life. Spontaneous black holes in your room are, sadly, not a thing yet.

I hope this post will be useful to you. Spread it around to your friends! And as always, please contact us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu with any comments, questions, or concerns. We’re always happy to help. Best of luck in the next couple of weeks!

cel-what?

CEL-What FlierOn Thursday, November 14 from 3:30-4:30PM in FPH 101, Ivana Staiti, assistant director of community partnerships for social change and community engagement, set out to answer this question for new students. Have you started your CEL-1 yet? Still have questions? Read on for some great information about how to get going.

What Happened:
Attendees came with questions, and had the opportunity to learn more about the requirement and how to sign up for activities. Ivana also shared this helpful handout that broke down the steps for CEL-1 registration and sponsorship. Did you see the CEL-What? bulletin boards in Dakin and Merrill Houses? Check them out if you haven’t already — they’re chock full of information about FAQs, what counts, and other great tips. Most of this information is also available on the CEL-1 website.

What We Learned:

  • There are lots of different ways to complete the requirement, and there’s no need to choose just one activity to satisfy all 40 hours. By engaging in a multitude of activities, you’ll gain experience in different areas of campus life, meet more people, and have more opportunities to connect the CEL-1 to your academic interests.
  • New activities are posted almost every day, and each has a different timeline. Check back regularly to learn more about short and long term opportunities. Some last only a day, while others span entire semesters. You never know what you’ll find.
  • Participation in student groups, OPRA, EPEC, and Lemelson co-curricular courses counts towards this requirement, so you may have already started without even knowing it. Talk to your advisor and take a look at the website for more information on how to register the things that you’ve already started, and to ensure that these hours count towards your completion.
  • Although there are countless posted activities, it is possible to create your own. Staff, faculty, Division II, and Division III students can sponsor activities. If there’s something you’d really like to work on, talk to your advisor about how your idea will fit into the requirement and how to find someone to sponsor your work.

Use These Resources:

Did we miss anything? E-mail us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu for more information!

people you (transfer students) should know: anne downes!

Written by program assistant Xavier A. Torres de Janon 12F

0028449“Hi! What year are you in?” “Well, technically I’m a third year, but I’m changing my concentration, and I entered Hampshire last fall. You see, I’m a transfer student.”

Incoming transfer students may have similar experiences as first-years when they come to our school, but a transfer student’s adaptation to Hampshire is very different than that of a Hampshire first-year. This fall, 75 transfer students entered Hampshire (quite a large transfer class by Hampshire standards, if you were wondering). Let’s be honest: transferring into our school can be disorienting, but luckily for transfer students, Anne Downes can help in smoothing this transition.

Anne is a staff member of our Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA) and she oversees students in their sixth through eighth semesters and transfer students. She’s been working at Hampshire College for 30 years now. Wait, let me emphasize that — she’s been working at Hampshire College for 30 years now. She started her work here as the Greenwich-Enfield House Director, then became the Associate Dean of Students, and later joined our Center for Advising (now CASA). There’s no question that she understands very well the nuts and bolts of our college and the needs of its students; when meeting with her, I couldn’t help but feel a huge level of understanding from her. As we talked, I inadvertently found myself getting much needed insight and advice into my own Divisional work (thanks Anne!).

Not being a transfer student myself, I asked Anne what common challenges transfer students face as they come to Hampshire. Other than, of course, our unique divisional system, transfer students tend to be surprised about the intimacy of our classes. This can probably be new to every incoming student, but because transfer students have had previous college-level class experiences, they are able to compare our courses to something different that they’ve experienced. Hampshire classes demand high levels of engagement, participation, and critical writing; it’s not about a grade or just passing a course. “Hampshire is more than course counting, and this is sometimes hard to understand for transfer students,” says Anne. At other institutions, what matters is getting credits in classes that can count towards your degree. At Hampshire, transfer students are expected to truly immerse themselves in their academic concentration, which often changes as we explore our interests through the divisional system.

Anne has the following words of advice for incoming transfer students:

  • It’s common to change your academic program. This is hard to grasp because transfers have already spent time during their education focused in certain fields, having coursework limited to that. Faculty and staff like Anne Downes can help you if you’re in this position. Staff at Central Records can also offer support for transfer students with regard to how their former classes can map onto Division I and possibly be included in students’ Division II portfolios.
  • Don’t feel you have to figure everything out on your own. Transfer students worry a lot about forming their committees for Division II and III. Because most of them enter Hampshire in the ‘middle’ of their divisional progress, they can sometimes feel that they are alone in the struggle, scrambling for unknown faculty just to get advisors and committee members. The fact is that regular students go through the exact same process, and there are tons of programming and resource to help transfers get through this. CASA is a fantastic place to start if you are feeling lost in the system. The five School Deans (of our Schools of Thought) are always happy to advise students in finding prospective faculty to collaborate with. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
  • Focus on what you want to get out of your academic program. A Hampshire education is what you truly want to make out of it, not what your academics are ‘supposed’ to be or what classes you are ‘meant’ to be taking. Independent planning of your personalized curriculum is tough for everyone, but you should try to focus on what really interests you at an academic level.

It was fantastic talking with Anne Downes, and I would encourage all transfer students (and ending Div IIs and Div IIIs!) who are struggling with their academics to reach out to her at CASA. She also welcomes any new ideas or suggestions for her from transfer students, and encourages you to give her feedback!

You’re free to schedule an appointment with Anne by calling CASA at 413.559.5498, and she also welcomes drop-in visits to her office. Have a question that may not need an appointment, ideas or a suggestion for Anne? Feel free to email her at adownes@hampshire.edu.

Still have questions? Want more information? Email us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu. We’re happy to help!