“Today is about relationships, and it’s about reconnecting,” said Stephanie Balmer, dean of admissions and vice president for enrollment, marketing & communications. Her welcome remarks were on Thursday morning to more than 80 enrolled students their and families, totaling more than 250 visitors representing 13 states, during the Enrolled Student Preview Day.
She encouraged students to create relationships with each other and with faculty members they would be meeting later in the day and to reconnect with influencers such as admissions staff and athletics coaches whom they met early on in the process.
“Settle in,” she added. “Enjoy getting to know our faculty, our students and your new college.”
That welcome set the tone for a day filled with energy and excitement as these students began to truly envision the shapes their Dickinson experiences can take. Provost and Dean Neil Weissman followed up Dean Balmer’s comments by encouraging the students to be open-minded, flexible and willing to explore new opportunities with the academic program.
“We have 42 majors, which is a lot for a college our size,” he noted, explaining that without core distribution requirements, there’s a lot of different ways to approach it. He outlined how rather than having a math requirement, Dickinson students must take a quantitative-reasoning courses, but the options for those span everything from economics and sociology to music composition and Judaic studies.
“But with freedom comes great responsibility,” he quipped. “With so many choices, it can be difficult to navigate. I can tell you that you will have lots of help, starting today at the Academic Open House. The end result is that four years from now, you will all have finished with an academic program that is very thorough and one of which you can be proud.”
Students and parents then heard from associate provosts Brenda Bretz and Shalom Staub, who offered insights into how to make the most out of Dickinson’s academic experiences. The day later included lunch in the Dining Hall, campus-life tours and a closing reception.
While parents heard more from Bretz and Staub about academic life at Dickinson, the students headed to the Social Hall in the Holland Union Building for the Academic Open House.
Blended with upper-level students also seeking academic direction, the newly enrolled students snaked through rows of tables where welcoming faculty members and current students sat ready to answer any and all of their questions.
Classics professor Marc Mastrangelo adeptly responded to a member of the class of 2017 who asked about integration between the classics department and the law department with, “You’ll find those connections easily. Those guys are my friends. We like them, and they like us.”
A student shared his interest in Italian with professor Steve Weinberger and learned that “Dickinson is a really good place for students interested in Italian. We have a great program in Bologna, and we do a fair amount with Italian film.”
French professor Catherine Beaudry was pleased to talk with a combination of beginners eager to learn a new language and students with years of experience looking to perfect their skills.
And in the midst of it all, a group of four enrolled students—representing Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia—clustered together to exchange contact information, having just met and bonded that day and eager to stay in touch until returning to campus in August.
Relationships, reconnecting and a readiness to truly be Dickinsonians.