With an application deadline set for Dec. 16, Belmont University announced today that it is expanding itsBridges to Belmont scholarship program from 26 Nashville students in the 2013-14 charter class to 30 current high school seniors for next fall’s freshman class. With the selection of the next 30 Bridges scholars, the program will provide the Davidson County students–many of whom are first generation college students—unprecedented opportunities for higher education and future careers.
Belmont University President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “At the heart of Belmont’s mission is our desire to provide a transformative education to our students in the hopes that they can then take their skills, passions and talents and make a difference in the world around them. I honestly can’t think of a better example of us living out that mission than what we are doing with the Bridges program. I’m thrilled to have these local students as part of the Belmont community.”
Launched in March 2013, Bridges to Belmont is a program designed to enroll high potential students from Metro Nashville Public Schools who may not have previously been able to consider Belmont as an option. As a participant in the “Bridges to Belmont” program, all of the students’ expenses—tuition, room, board, required fees and books—that are not covered by state or federal grant resources are provided via scholarships from Belmont for four consecutive academic years, translating to a potential investment by Belmont that could exceed $10 million in the first four years of the program. Fisher added, “I have been thrilled by the response of donors who have become enthusiastic givers to support these kids.”
Enrollment eligibility for Bridges scholars then follows the standard satisfactory academic progress expectations of all students.
“The Bridges to Belmont program is a life-changing opportunity for our students,” said Metro Schools’ Director Dr. Jesse Register. “They know with hard work, they can achieve their dream of a college education. It is an investment in their future and the community, and we appreciate everyone at Belmont who has worked to develop and expand this program.”
In addition, the Bridges program creates a learning and service environment to empower students’ personal passion to meet the needs of the world. The first class of 26 Bridge students lived and worked on campus last summer while attending an intensive institute to prepare them for a successful transition in the college environment.
Dr. René Rochester, director of the Bridges to Belmont program, added, “I remember standing in the back of the room when Dr. Fisher announced the Bridges to Belmont initiative. I listened carefully to his words and thought, ‘WOW! What a bold declaration of service.’ I have worked in urban outreach and education for a long time, and know that with a bold declaration there must be the hard work of implementation… This has been a great opportunity not only for the students, but for the staff, faculty and administration of Belmont. We all have been learning about serving young adults who come with unlimited potential and who need assistance in crossing the cultural, collegiate bridge into a new community. We are committed to teach to and through the students’ personal and cultural strengths, holding high academic expectations and offering appropriate support.”
The pilot program provided scholarships to students from Maplewood and Stratford High Schools, and in the second year, the program is expanding to include students at Whites Creek and Pearl Cohn High Schools. Preferred candidates for the program are nominated by the high schools’ leadership and are expected to be taking a college prep curriculum with a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher in core academic courses. Applicants should also have demonstrated leadership experiences at their current schools, provide strong recommendations regarding academic motivation and personal character and demonstrate significant financial need.
Bridges to Belmont reflects a deliberate effort on the part of Belmont’s administration to enhance the cultural and ethnic diversity within the campus community while also continuing efforts to provide higher education to students in Davidson County. Belmont senior leaders along with University enrollment and academic officers have met with MNPS principals and admission counselors during the past year to establish the foundations for the program and to educate students about the opportunities and requirements. The program is also another step toward Belmont’s Vision 2015 goal to establish “engagement with and service to the Nashville community that is unmatched by any other institution of higher education.”
About Metro Nashville Public Schools
Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools is the nation’s 42nd largest district, preparing more than 83,000 students to excel in higher education, work and life with the goal of being the first choice for Nashville’s families. Metro Schools is committed to providing a high quality education to every student and currently ranks in the top 27 percent of districts in the state for academic performance. The governing body for Metro Schools is the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Public Education, a nine-member elected body. For more information, visit www.mnps.org.
The Center for Executive Education hosted Dan Ariely as the keynote speaker during its Fall Leadership Breakfast on Dec. 5 in the Curb Event Center arena. Presented in partnership with the Nashville Chamber of Commerce andEntrepreneurs’ Organization Nashville, the event explored how irrational behavior is a part of human nature as well as how emotions, relativity and social norms influence economic behavior.
Ariely began his keynote address with the story of how an explosion while he served in the Israel Defense Forces burned 70 percent of his body and kept him in a hospital for three years. During that time, he debated with nurses how to change the bandages of burn patients. They insisted on swift removal, which caused intense pain for a short period. Ariely preferred a slow peeling of the bandages, which lessened the pain but increased its duration, he said. After recovering from his injuries and pursuing higher education, Ariel began studying decision making through experiments that pinched fingers, made annoying sounds, radiated electrical shocks and changed body temperatures through suits running with hot or cold water. This led him to conclusions on why humans make systematic, predictable mistakes.
“The environment in which you are being placed makes a lot of the decisions for you,” he said. For example, in Denmark where drivers must opt-in to an organ donation program, the country has only 4 percent participation. On the other hand, Poland uses an opt-out form for organ donation and has 100 percent participation, simply because people do not like to fill out forms.
“We prefer the default, the path of least resistance and the easiest way to do something,” Ariely said. “We need to think very differently about how we make decisions and rationality. Asking people questions is a good way to reconsider what they are doing, think about the answer and make a better decision.”
People also are “self-herders,” meaning they repeat previous acts because, he said, “We have no memory for emotional states, but we do remember our actions.”
Ariely’s talk focused on his New York Times bestsellers Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality. He is James B. Duke professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight and the author of New York Times bestseller The Honest Truth About Dishonesty. After the breakfast, he autographed copies of Predictably Irrational and continued to interact with Nashville business executives during a Talk Back Session in the Vince Gill Room.
During the event, Center of Executive Education Director of Executive Learning and Marketing Jill Robinson announced best-selling author and New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell will kick off the 2014 speaker series with a keynote address centered around his new release, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. More details on the event will be announced soon.
The Center for Executive Education at Belmont University has been a premier provider of leadership education for more than 25 years, existing to provide world-class learning to meet the needs of the Nashville community and beyond. The Center provides a full range of executive learning opportunities including its Executive Learning Networks, Executive Leadership Experience, certificate programs and customized solutions. ELN membership consists of senior leaders from over 50 Middle Tennessee companies who seek to learn from one another and national leaders through ongoing networking, speakers’ series and small group discussions.
Do you think you have what it takes to be an RA? Residence Life would love for you to apply! Applications are due by January 20, 2014.
Simply go to jobs.belmont.edu and search for the Resident Assistant Position.
For more information, contact The RA Selection Committee email@example.com or 615-460-5802.
Need a way to de-stress during finals week? Join us during any of our Finals Week Group Fitness Classes! Our finals week schedule is:
• Resistance Training with Emily, Monday at noon
• Pilates with David, Monday at 5 p.m.
• Spin* with Kelsey, Tuesday at 6:30 a.m.
• Just Weights with Emily, Tuesday at 11:45 a.m.
• Corefit & Cardio with Maria, Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.
*Due to limited spots, registration opens 24 hours in advance. To register, call (615) 460-6313 or visit FitRecConnect.belmont.edu.
The 12South Winter Warm Up benefiting the 12South Neighborhood Association will take place from 6 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. The race route will close 12th Avenue South from Bate Avenue to Gale Lane. Vehicles will be able to exit and enter Hillside from the north only. Visit the race website for complete information about the race course and use these links to plan your routes to and from campus on Dec. 7.
The Army ROTC would like to welcome Belmont University freshmen and sophomores to take Military Science Courses in Spring 2014.
This course will develop your leadership, planning, organizing and interpersonal skills which can be applied in situations ranging from military to humanitarian to corporate environments. Military Science is an open enrollment course for all students attending Vanderbilt, Belmont, Lipscomb, Trevecca and Tennessee State University. Army ROTC Cadets have the opportunity to travel to foreign countries each year at no cost while learning the fundamentals of leadership and Army officership. The benefits of this leadership training will extend well beyond your college years into any career you choose.
The focus of the freshmen and sophomore courses is on developing a basic understanding of leader attributes and core leader competencies while assessing the applicability of these principles and practices across sectors of American society.
Students interested in learning more about Army ROTC may also attend the Leadership and Personal Development Lab. This lab is an introduction to the ROTC Leader Development Program. Students are introduced to military operations, squad and platoon level tactics, and have the opportunity to train and travel during the summer.
Belmont students Mackenzie Watson, Ashley Miller, Maren Richards, Hallie Cunningham, Emma Price, Jessica Porreca, Mikaela Sensley and Brittney Hampshire and Dr. Kimberlee Daus, professor of chemistry, recently participated in the Dickson County Drug Take-Back event. This event was held on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and was coordinated by Vanderbilt University and the Dickson County Police Department. Working alongside faculty and students from Vanderbilt and Lipscomb universities, Belmont students and faculty cataloged and counted more than 60 pounds of medication. The National Drug Take-Back Day, set by the Drug Enforcement Agency, provides a service to community through safe and responsible disposal of unused medication. Additionally, these events help to educate the public about the potential of drug abuse associated with these medications.
Visit the Belmont Athletics website for information about upcoming athletic events.
Despite the catchy, sing-along hook of the old TV theme song, a horse is not just a horse, of course. Rather, in the case of Dr. Judy Skeen’s First Year Seminar (FYS) on the topic “Cross Species Communications: Through the Eyes of Other Creatures,” horses are a gift to the education process, allowing Belmont freshmen a different way to interact with the campus-wide theme, Through the Eyes of Others.
Subtitled “Learning about being human by encountering horses,” the two sections of Skeen’s class allowed students the opportunity to visit the professor’s Franklin, Tenn.-ranch where they interacted with four of her horses. As with all FYS courses, the primary goal is to increase students’ “recognition, appreciation and use of multiple ways of knowing.”
Skeen said, “Years ago I came across this quote from Mark Twain: ‘It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.’ It struck me as an important idea, especially for studying religion. Now working with horses has expanded that to how we think about everything. With so much information out there, we seem drawn to what we already think or know. Students in this class are encouraged to think about what they know, what they don’t know and what they think they know that might not be true.”
In class conversations examined the prey/predator relationship horses experience with humans, challenging what many students believed about how the two interact. “Most humans don’t think of ourselves as predators,” Skeen continued, “but when students encounter horses after reading and talking about this prey/predator mindset, if they want to engage the horse in peaceful ways, ways that lead to partnership rather than domination/intimidation, they have to challenge their natural predatory tendencies. So our reading and discussions and video viewing invite us to think differently and to work to understand this other creature on its own terms.”
Student Christine Sisson noted that time with the horses allowed her and her fellow students “to see it from the horse’s perspective instead of just our own. The horses are so big that you don’t think about the fact that they’re scared of us.”
Grace Netter, a design communications major from Malibu, Calif., added, “This has altered my perspective by allowing me to see the more predator/prey aspect in situations in human interactions, not just animals. I now know that people also have some personality traits of animals and vice-versa, so we must treat each person accordingly.”
A discussion-based class, students were required to read the common book by Daniel Everett, Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazon Jungle, along with books by Jodi Picoult (Lone Wolf), Temple Grandin (Animals Make Us Human or Animals in Translation) and George Leonard (Mastery). Other course requirements included the viewing of Nowhere in Africa and Beasts of the Southern Wild in addition to convocations and theatre events surrounding the campus theme.
For Skeen, all of the readings, discussions, viewings and hands on experiences are designed to open students to seeing the world through a different lens. “I hope students take away from this three things: 1) Other creatures aren’t here for our use or amusement – they are creatures of worth and dignity aside from us. 2) Because some of us are drawn to connect with these other creatures, we can learn about ourselves and the world by being in their company. And 3) more broadly, it’s always good to take a step back and check out what we think we know – often we learn about ourselves, others and how to be more whole human beings in the world.”
Student Audrey Arroyo may have summed it up best: “[This class] helped us get a bit better idea about how to understand everyone else. We get so bogged down in our own environment. In different parts of the world, things are done differently and that’s their normal. This experience helps broaden our views.”
A bright red door on the front porch of 1524 Compton Avenue welcomes visitors into a unique space on Belmont’s campus, the recently renovated home of the University’sHonors program.
The Honors program moved from Fidelity Hall into the house in 2006. Built in 1920 and purchased by Belmont in the mid-’90s, the building long served as a residence for junior and senior women. This past summer an honors student’s parents generously donated the funds to renovate the somewhat dated rooms with the goal to make the house more of a home, creating a community-minded space that would better serve the program.
Dr. Jonathan Thorndike, professor and chair of the Honors program, said, “The renovation has made the house more beautiful, more contemporary and more inviting for students and faculty. They have been using it more for study space and for gathering for lunch on the front porch besides for classes. The renovation helped build community and make the students and faculty feel like the university values our space.”
Janie Townsend, a sophomore music business major from Pflugerville, Texas, added, “The renovation makes the Honors House an even more pleasant environment to spend time in, whether for social or academic purposes. It also makes the house sufficiently less creepy. Which is a perk.”
In addition to paint, new artwork and lamps, the renovation also included new furniture in several rooms, a significant update to the kitchen and the addition of railings, tables and chairs to both the front and back porches. For a program that hovers around 180 students total, the porches are a particularly positive update as they provide additional gathering space for students throughout the day as well as for program events.
Belmont’s Honors program offers an accelerated, interdisciplinary core curriculum that bolsters a community of scholars through small classes taught by dedicated faculty. Approximately 50 freshmen are accepted into the program each year, and students can design their own major. In addition, honors students choose between four different tracks, each of which culminates with a major team project, work of original scholarship or significant artistic work:
* The Scholarship Track in the Humanities and Social Sciences
* The Scholarship Track in the Sciences and Mathematics
* The Artists’ Studio Track
* The Project LEAD Track
Thorndike added, “We get to work with the best students in the university, and it is an honor to teach and advise the Honors Students. They are full of energy and ideas, highly motivated, and they want to make a difference in the world. They are fun to be around and they have a sense of humor when things don’t always go right. We have small classes that make it easy to get to know them as unique individuals.”
As an honors student, Townsend agrees that the program’s close-knit community adds a great deal to her overall Belmont experience. “The most rewarding and simultaneously the most encouraging thing about being in Honors is that I’m guaranteed time with a constant group of really swell, hilarious people. Having people to explore the rigors of academia with makes life much, much happier.”
Current honors students’ projects demonstrate a diverse field of interests from a thesis on Affirmative Action in University Admissions to an exploration of the marketing of Broadway musicals to the development of iPhone apps using the intersection of studies in computer science and art. For more information, visit www.belmont.edu/honors.