Double the Classes Available to LU and H-SC Students: Southside Hiigher …

Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 4:53 pm

Double the Classes Available to LU and H-SC Students: Southside Hiigher Education Consortium Opens its Doors

Emily Allen

The Rotunda Online

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Double the opportunity, double the experiences, no extra cost; that’s the option available to all Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College (H-SC) students through the Southside Higher Education Consortium. According to Registrar at Hampden-Sydney Dawn Congleton, “The whole thing is an advantage.”

A cooperative exchange program was created in 1967 that allowed for students at Longwood and Hampden- Sydney to take any classes at the other institution, respectively, for no additional cost. In 1991 and 1992, the program was expanded to include Southside Virginia Community College and St. Paul’s College, creating the Southside Higher Education Consortium.

According to Suzanne Stetson, Longwood’s education support specialist and the school’s general overseer of the consortium, this program is very different from your typical credit transfer set-up. “Basically, it allows a student at their home school to take a class at one of the other participating colleges at the same home school expense, and the course remains on the home school schedule,” said Stetson.

Stetson added, “In other words, it’s part of their entire semester; it’s not treated as a transfer credit. That’s a distinct difference with this agreement and taking a course and transferring it in.”

However, Stetson has not had many students take advantage of this unique opportunity. “I average six to seven requests a semester,” said Stetson. The request number is slightly higher at H-SC. According to the assistant registrar, Cynthia Campbell, “Per semester I would say, on average, with the ROTC program, which is a big thing for our students, we average about 24 to 30 students.”

The registrar offices at both schools confirmed that Longwood students who take classes at H-SC predominately take Latin courses. All Longwood students are required to complete foreign language courses up to the 201 or 202 level, depending on their degree, under the university’s general education requirements.

Stetson said, “Hampden- Sydney offers Latin courses; we do not. A lot of students like to take advantage of that.”

Congleton echoed Stetson, saying, “They can use the courses here to satisfy their graduation requirement.” Other popular courses taken by Longwood students at H-SC tend to be sciences.

The classes H-SC students enroll in most often at the consortium are the military science courses, which are often taken by students participating in the schools’ joint ROTC program.

Education courses are the second most sought out in the consortium. Campbell sees this as one of the greatest advantages of the program. “I think with being a liberal arts school, we don’t offer military science classes or educational programs,” said Campbell, “so we give our students those opportunities where they wouldn’t have that if they were just going here.”

While these are the most common courses taken, the consortium was built so that students at either school could have the option to take any classes at the other school. Congleton often sees that “students are so entrenched in their majors and their core requirements that they don’t really have the opportunity to do as much as they might like and fully take advantage of it.”

To Congleton, one of the biggest benefits of the consortium is the flexibility it provides for students who are getting degrees in majors that have cycling schedules. Congleton explained, “If a student gets off cycle … and a course they need to graduate is not offered this semester… then they can take it [at Longwood] if they can get in there … it can help them a lot and they can graduate on time.”

The consortium does come with a few stipulations. According to the Longwood University 2013-2014 Student Handbook, “Students desiring to take advantage of this program must secure approval from their major adviser and from the registrar at their home institution.”

Students should always get guidance and approval from their adviser and department head for classes that they are looking to use to fulfill any general education or degree requirements. In order to participate in the program, students must be considered full-time students.

The consortium creates some logistics for students to deal with if they choose to take part in the program. According to Stetson, “The schools always allow their own students to register first. We normally don’t register the guest students at our schools until a day or so before courses begin so sometimes there can be issues with courses closing … it can be a little bit of that waiting game: ‘Am I going to get the class, am I not,’ so it can be a little stressful that way.”

Congleton expressed the same thoughts and added, “Some of our students get a little anxious having to wait, but if you get in, it’s a bonus. If you don’t, you’re back to where you were. I guess that might be how I see the program, as a bonus, that’s why I don’t see any disadvantages. You know if you don’t get it, you haven’t lost anything.”

Longwood and H-SC do have slightly different break schedules, but both registrar offices assured students that they work closely with each other to sort out any issues and encouraged the students to talk to the professors from the guest schools individually to work out any scheduling conflicts. 

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014 4:53 pm.

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