how to pass division I (in a nutshell)

Written by Program Assistant Cat Guzman 10F

Around this time two years ago, I remember stressing over my Division I portfolio. I had met all of my requirements, so I was (technically) ready to pass, but I felt overwhelmed and mentally unprepared. The urgent e-mails that flooded my inbox sometimes added to the pressure instead of motivating me, and with finals just around the corner, the process felt so daunting that I ended up waiting until the beginning of my second year to do it.

Looking back, I realize I probably would have saved myself the extra pressure to pass if I had just done it when I was first ready. What I needed was to see the process from a different and simpler perspective.

Let’s break it down into individual steps:

1. First, courses! Take one course in four of these five distribution areas (totaling four courses):

  • Arts, Design, and Media (ADM)
  • Culture, Humanities, and Languages (CHL)
  • Mind, Brain, and Information (MBI)
  • Physical and Biological Sciences (PBS)
  • Power, Community, and Social Justice (PCSJ)

Take three elective courses (these are courses that don’t necessarily hit a distribution area, and are totally determined by YOU).

So, a grand total of SEVEN courses will comprise your Division I portfolio. And along the way, make sure you’ve progressed in these cumulative skills:

  • Progress/proficiency in analytical writing and informed research practice
  • Progress/proficiency in quantitative skills
  • Engagement with multiple cultural perspectives
  • Progress/proficiency in the ability to successfully undertake independent work

2. Complete at least one CEL-1 (Campus Engaged Learning) activity, totaling 40 hours. Your retrospective essay will include reflection on your CEL-1 activities, so be thinking about how they fit into your overall Division I experience.

3. Write a retrospective essay on your academic experience thus far (more on this in a future blog post).

4. Create a portfolio of your best work over the course of the year (more on this soon too!).

5.  Set up a final meeting with your advisor, and submit your Division I portfolio.

By this time, you’ll be wrapping up your courses and CEL-1 activity for the year, so the actual portfolio (including the retrospective) is the only thing that stands in your way of passing and becoming a Div II! Theoretically speaking, you could pass next semester—but who wants to dwell on officially passing their Division I over the summer? Save yourself the pressure, and get it done now if you can!

Feeling like you might be ready to pass Division I? Here’s a suggested timeline:

  • April: Make an appointment with your advisor for Progress Review Week. You’ll be expected to give your advisor your Division I portfolio, including your retrospective essay (more on these items in an upcoming blog post!). By now, you should be completing your CEL-1 activities. Remember that you need to complete the online passing process in addition to meeting with your advisor!
  • May: If you’ve completed all of your Division I requirements, you will be expected to pass your Division I now. Complete the online passing process: you will be asked to select your Division I courses, post your Division I retrospective essay (which includes your CEL-1 reflection, check for guiding questions on TheHub), and complete an online Division II Intent form. Meet with you advisor for your Division I passing meeting. If you have not completed all of the requirements for Division I, you must still meet with your advisor and agree upon a plan for the completion of Division I.
  • September: Happy School Year! Passed Division I in May? You can begin to draft your Division II contract on TheHub now.

I hope this helps put things into perspective, but if you find yourself still feeling lost or overwhelmed, stay tuned for a future blog post where I’ll break down the steps of creating your Division I portfolio, including writing your retrospective! Also, mark your calendars for this year’s Division I Portfolio Making Party, which will be held on Tuesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. in the Dakin Living Room. Laura Melbin from CASA will be in attendance, and we’ll provide lots of snacks and portfolio-making supplies!

Good luck, and don’t hesitate to contact us at with any questions or concerns!

everything you wanted to know about division II but were afraid to ask

Everything You Wanted to Know

On Tuesday, March 26 and Tuesday, April 2 in the FPH Faculty Lounge, Ernie Alleva and Zena Clift from the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA), presented two special Division II workshops to groups of Division I students. Did you miss them? Read on for lots of great information on Division II, and how to begin thinking about academic life after you’ve completed Division I!

The Basics of Division II

  • Division II is a four semester process, with three semesters filed in your concentration with your committee
  • It includes work in your concentration and other additional studies
  • Work in your concentration can include courses, field study in the United States or abroad, and other learning activities (internships, etc.)
  • Your Division II will be directed by a two-person faculty committee, including one chair and one member. Your committee chair becomes your academic advisor in Division II.
  • It includes engagement with the Multiple Cultural Perspectives: Non-Western Perspectives, Race in the United States, and Knowledge and Power
  • It includes 40 hours of Community Engaged Learning (CEL-2)
  • Upon completion of your Division II, it will be documented by a retrospective and portfolio

Filing Your Division II
After your second semester:

  • Fill out your Division II Intent form on TheHub. A brief, clear description of your proposed area of concentration is all that is needed. Also, indicate if you would like to change your Division I advisor before filing your Division II contract. When you file your Division II contract, your Division II chair will become your advisor. This form will be available on TheHub at the end of the spring semester.
  • Begin drafting your Division II contract on TheHub, and talk with potential faculty members about serving as your Division II chair/advisor or committee member.
  • If relevant, submit your application to the Film/Photo/Video, Theatre, Writing, or Studio Art program to be assigned a Division II chair/advisor or committee member from these programs. The deadline for these application is Friday, October 26, 2013.
  • The deadline for filing your Division II so that you can graduate in four years is not until early in your fourth semester, by Thursday, February 13, 2014. You must complete your Division II contract and have both your chair and member sign on to it on TheHub by that date. However, CASA recommends that students file their Division II contract as soon as possible after passing Division I.

Helpful Hints:

  • Can’t wait to file Division II after this semester? Know that you can’t officially file until mid-June, once all of your evaluations have come in and you’ve officially passed Division I. There’s no need to feel pressure to file this quickly, but keep this in mind if you already have plans and a committee lined up.
  • Most Division II committees include only two people (a chair and a member), but you can include a third if you choose. Your third member can even be a five college professor or Hampshire staff member.
  • Although you can wait until your fourth semester to file Division II, it behooves you to get started sooner. Faculty start signing on to Division II committees early on, so you have a better chance of working with particular faculty members if you start reaching out sooner rather than later.
  • You can change your committee at any time, and some students will need to do so if committee chairs or members are on sabbatical or leaves of absence at certain points. You can discuss this with your committee to determine the best course of action.
  • CASA also has a helpful handout with instructions on how to file Division II on TheHub. Access it here!

Use These Resources:

Still need more information? Want to talk to someone about your plans? Feel free to email Ernie Alleva ( or Zena Clift (, or make an appointment with either of them by calling CASA at 413.559.5498. Ernie and Zena work exclusively with Division II students, and are more than willing to help!

Questions? E-mail us at Happy planning!

people you should know: joel dansky!

Written by program assistant Cat Guzman 10F

Meet Joel Dansky, the disabilities services coordinator here at Hampshire. I interviewed him a couple of weeks ago and learned about his role on campus, and how you can best benefit from the resources that he provides.

Here are some quick facts about Joel:

  • He has a background in social work
  • Has previously worked as a school therapist and counselor
  • He has worked at Hampshire for nine years

As disabilities services coordinator in the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA), Joel’s major responsibility is to make sure the College meets official requirements to accommodate individuals with disabilities. For students with documented disabilities, Joel is the person on campus who will coordinate with administrative services and the campus community to accommodate specific needs, such as contacting the HOO (Housing Operations Office) to assist those with limited mobility and mediating conversations between faculty and students with learning disabilities. Joel acknowledges that accessibility is a right entitled to every student at Hampshire College and that people learn in different ways, and works to coordinate and provide appropriate services and accommodations for students with disabilities.

Additionally, Joel works with students from all different backgrounds on a variety of academic issues. He’s happy to meet with students who are struggling with a wide range of academic needs, regardless of whether or not the student has a documented disability. In particular, Joel helps many students with time management skills, and helps students to create and manage their own personal calendars. While Joel’s title is disabilities services coordinator at Hampshire, it was clear in our interview that he’s open to meeting with anyone who has an issue or just wants to talk.

You can find Joel in the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA) in the Lemelson Building. It’s best to make an appointment through calling CASA (ext. 5498), but you’re welcome to visit his office and see whether he’s busy or not. Joel is also available by e-mail at Not ready for an appointment? Joel will be facilitating a Time Management workshop on Tuesday, November 13 from 4-5 p.m. in FPH 101. Stop by, meet Joel, get some great advice, and enjoy free snacks!

Have any questions, comments or concerns? Feel free to email us at!