Opportunities Common to Many Fields of Study
Several course numbers are common to multiple programs. Courses numbered 186/286/386/486 are Special Topics courses; the content may vary from term to term or year to year. In addition, two (2) independent experiences can be proposed by students in most disciplines: Independent Study, numbered 390/490 (A or B) and Team Initiated Study, numbered 397/497 (A or B). With the support of a faculty sponsor and the approval of the Coordinator of Internships, students who find internship opportunities may be registered for the experience, numbered 395/495. Students also may enter into a Directed Study (398/498) working with a program faculty member, upon approval of the Program Coordinator. Additional information about these opportunities follows.
A course designed to meet the particular interests of students and faculty and numbered 186, 286, 386, or 486. Topics vary from year to year and seldom are repeated as Special Topics. Descriptions of Special Topics courses are provided in the corresponding term's Schedule of Classes. Special Topics courses can be designated as 1/2 course credit or 1 course credit.
Independent Study and Team Initiated Study
The purpose of Independent Study and Team Initiated Study courses is to provide students with the opportunity to study topics not ordinarily covered in regular College course offerings, to follow up on previous research, or to undertake projects not otherwise available through regular courses. These studies also may be concerned with more narrowly defined or more advanced material than that offered in regular courses. They must increase knowledge beyond that already gained, enhance analytical ability, and/or lead to higher skills acquisition. An Independent Study or Team Initiated Study need not be in the student's major field of study, but requires sufficient background knowledge for analysis or description within a conceptual framework, i.e., aesthetic, ethical, historical, literary, scientific, sociological, etc.
Students should consult with a Faculty Sponsor during the thinking and planning stages of the study to help develop a course syllabus that is rigorous, has clear and measurable goals, and that includes clear assessment guidelines upon completion of the work. Together, the Faculty member and student(s) will develop a course syllabus for the study, which will be submitted to the Program Coordinator for review. The faculty sponsor must be from the Program in which the study is to be conducted. Faculty members are limited to involvement with a maximum of two (2) Independent Studies or Team Initiated Studies in any one (1) term.
Each academic program is responsible for providing guidelines and/or forms to students and faculty for the process required within the academic unit to review and approve Independent and Team Initiated studies.
In addition, the Academic Program Council and College Faculty Assembly have set the following restrictions. Independent Studies and Team Initiated studies:
- may be proposed only by Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors who are not on any type of probation (academic, social, or labor).
- cannot duplicate courses listed in the current Catalog & Student Handbook.
- cannot be used to meet the Practical Reasoning (PR/PRQ) or any Perspective Area in the General Education Program.
- may carry one (1) earned course credit; studies carrying earned credit have the following minimum GPA requirements at the time the study is approved: Sophomores, 3.00; Juniors or Seniors, 2.50.
- may be approved as not-for-earned-credit (available only in Summer terms) provided the Sophomore, Junior, or Senior has a minimum 2.00 overall GPA at the time the study is approved.
- may meet the Active Learning Experience (ALE) requirement (see below).
Students who wish to propose an Independent or Team Initiated study to meet the Active Learning Experience (ALE) requirement in the General Education Program must complete the ALE Criteria and Proposal form (which is attached to the Independent Study and Team Initiated Study guidelines in the Self-Serve Room, 101 Lincoln) along with their proposed syllabus to the ALE Coordinator (currently Rebecca Bates), who will be looking for these components:
- How well does the study explore the connections between theory and practice?
- Does the study include an ongoing reflection component (e.g., journal, blog, photo journal, or extensive interaction with onsite resource)?
- Does the study include a synthesizing project (performance, play, presentation, composition, or exhibition, including interaction with the on-site advisor or other on-site audiences).
Independent Studies are carried out by one student; Team Initiated Studies are carried out by two or more students. For-credit studies are designated as GST or (discipline pre-fix i.e., ART/CFS, etc.) 390/490 for Independent Study and 397/497 for Team Initiated Study, followed by an "A" for an ALE credit and B a non-ALE credit course. Independent and Team Initiated Studies also may be proposed as non-credit for Summer terms (which can carry only ALE credit, but do not count in the minimum of 32 earned credits needed to graduate). Some types of non-credit studies are also eligible for ALE credit. Non-credit Independent Studies are designated as GST or (discipline pre-fix) 090 (A with ALE; B without ALE credit) and GST or (discipline pre-fix) 097 (A with ALE; B without ALE) for Team Initiated Studies.
Proposals under the General Studies rubric (GST) must demonstrate clearly the interdisciplinary nature of the project or be for disciplines not offered at Berea (provided there is a qualified Berea faculty member available to sponsor the study and it is approved by the Dean of Curriculum and Student Learning). Otherwise, the student(s) should determine which academic program best fits the goals and scope of the study.
Studies involving international travel require consultation with and the signature of the Education Abroad Advisor and of College Health Services. Students on F-1 visas also must have the signature of the International Student Adviser for any off-campus study. Studies involving a budget for expenses must be reviewed and approved by a counselor in the Student Financial Aid Services Office. No institutional funding will be provided for Independent Studies or Team Initiated Studies in international settings. (See "Education Abroad Policies" under Student Rights and Responsibilities for more information.)
With the approval of the Program Coordinator, the course syllabus will be submitted for registration to the Director of Student Records and Accounts. (See above eligibility requirements concerning probation and minimum GPA that must be met before the study can be registered.)
Berea College supports student experiential education opportunities off-campus in the form of internships and summer work or service experiences that support the aims and outcomes of a Berea College liberal-arts education. Such experiences promote engaged learning by helping students find connections between theory and practice, between learning in courses and learning outside the classroom, and between their academic interests and potential career possibilities. Learning is optimized when these experiences are intentionally designed to include reflection and assessment. Some students may use these experiences to earn academic credit and/or to meet the Active Learning Experience required for graduation.
The College makes available limited institutional funds to help support student internships and summer work or service experiences (whether for credit or not), provided that the experience meets both of the following criteria:
- The experience must further the student’s educational goals. This criterion can be met by showing that the experience provides the opportunity to gain skills relevant to a possible career choice, enables exploration of an educational area of interest, or supports the student’s academic major/minor.
- The experience must include reflection on the experience and conclude with an appropriate summative assessment of the experience
Students may apply for institutional funds for up to two internships or summer work or service experiences. Funding for such experiences is subject to availability of funds. No funding will be provided for projects that do not include the required reflection and assessment. Students on academic, labor, or social probation are not eligible to receive funds.
Each student who plans to engage in the type of experiential education described above should consult the Internship Office for additional information and to complete the relevant forms. Projects must receive the approval of this office in order to obtain funding from any campus program.
The Internship Program is open to students with sophomore or above classification and will include on-campus seminars with academic sponsors as well as non-classroom experience. An Internship may be either a program or General Studies offering and is numbered 395 for sophomores and juniors and 495 for seniors. Every program rubric Internship proposal requires the approval of two faculty sponsors and the Program, assumes the responsibility for determining credit allowance. General Studies Internship proposals require the approval of two faculty sponsors, and the Dean of Curriculum and Student Learning assumes responsibility for determining credit allowance. The Coordinator of Internships gives final approval for Internship proposals. Applications for Internships can be obtained from the Coordinator of Internships or found on the myberea portal. By Faculty action, all approved Internships will meet the ALE Requirement in the General Education curriculum. However, an Internship may not be used to meet the Practical Reasoning (PR/PRQ) or any Perspective Area in the General Education Program. No institutional funding will be provided for Internships in international settings.
A Directed Study is a full-credit course organized and directed by Faculty and approved by the Program Coordinator to meet the particular interests and/or needs of specific students. This should not be confused with an Independent Study or Team Initiated Study, which is much more independent in nature (see above). The course is numbered 398 or 498 and is available as student interest and faculty availability allow.
In courses designated as Service-Learning, students apply academic knowledge to address community issues while developing their academic skills; sense of civic responsibility; critical, reflective thinking skills; and commitment to the community. Service-learning courses are taught each term in a variety of Programs at Berea College. Designated service-learning courses are listed for each term in the Schedule of Classes for registration. These designated service-learning courses meet the Active Learning Experience (ALE) requirement in the General Education Program. More information, including faculty guidelines and a proposal form for service-learning course designation, can be found on the Center for Excellence in Learning Through Service (CELTS) Service Learning. For more information, see Service-Learning Opportunities in the Campus Community section of this publication.
Undergraduate Research Credit (UGR 010 and UGR 020)
In addition to the valuable research experience gained in the collaborative faculty-student undergraduate research described in the Life on Campus section of this publication, students participating in a full-time (minimum of 8-10 weeks, 40 hours per week) Undergraduate Research and Creative Projects Program (URCPP) or other program approved summer undergraduate research project may request to be registered for UGR 010 (for URCPP-funded projects) or UGR 020 (for other program-approved projects), which will result in earning a grade of "S" or "U" and will appear on the student's College transcript as "Undergraduate Research." (Requests to be registered for UGR courses should be made to the Undergraduate Research and Creative Projects Program Committee in care of the Academic Dean's Office)
During that Summer Term, except for UGR 010, students participating in a URCPP-funded project are not permitted to enroll simultaneously in any other course either at Berea or elsewhere.
In other words, students are not permitted to take any course other than UGR 010 AND participate in the URCPP-funded project during the same Summer Term. While no academic credit can be earned for this research experience, students who earn a grade of "S" in UGR 010 or UGR 020 can meet the Active Learning Experience (ALE) requirement.
Notice and Disclaimer
This online publication is the official text of the Berea College Catalog & Student Handbook. Berea College reserves the right to amend, revise, or modify content within this publication at any time.Posted: 11-10-2011
Updated by Wanda Burch