Talk to students, faculty, and other folks at Hiram College and you’ll begin to get a picture of what sets this small liberal arts college apart. It starts with the Ohio college’s tight-knit campus community, set in an idyllic location in the heart of Northeast Ohio, just 35 miles from Cleveland, and halfway between Chicago and New York City. But there’s more.
Hiram has an impressive 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio and an average class size of around 13, but benefits of a small college like this are more than just numbers. What makes the college such a special place, say students, is the faculty’s deep commitment.
“The professors in all areas of every major go so far above and beyond, not just for me, but for so many of my friends,” says James Cross, a senior communications major. “They really are here for us.”
That’s in the classroom, of course, but also outside it. Students are encouraged to reach out to professors whenever. Every student will tell you about the time they ate dinner at a professor’s home, or how a professor reached out to provide help when it was needed.
Community is big at Hiram. “We really want students to get engaged,” says Liz Okuma, Ph.D., Hiram’s dean of students. “We are one of the few colleges in Ohio where students sit on the board of directors and many other committees. We have 40 student organizations, and if a student comes in and says, ‘I really have something I want to do,’ well, then we’ll have 41.”
Hiram’s students are also a diverse bunch, racially, culturally, and socioeconomically—almost 40 percent of its students are the first in their family to go to college. “You get to meet so many different people from so many different backgrounds,” adds Cross.
Academic Calendar—The Hiram Plan
Most colleges are on a semester system and so is Hiram, but with a twist. Students take three or four classes for 12 weeks, take a week off, then return to campus for an intensive three-week class. That three-week class might be one of the college’s many “away” programs, including study abroad, which are led by Hiram faculty. It might be a deep dive into a particular topic. Or it might be an opportunity to take a required class a student can’t fit into his normal schedule.
Seriously Plugged In
New for the 2017-2018 school year, every student at Hiram will receive an iPad Pro as part of the college’s multi-million dollar Tech & Trek initiative, which seeks to create an even playing field for all students when it comes to technology.
Faculty also have access to iPad Pros, and they have been working for almost a year to develop strategies for using them with students both in and out of their classrooms. How cool is that?
Not only does Hiram offer a top-notch liberal arts education, but it also makes sure students gets the skills they’ll need to be successful after graduation.
This is where Hiram Connect comes in. All students participate in this four-year program, which helps them figure out what they want to do and guides them in selecting a major. Its experiential learning component—an internship, a study-away program, or a faculty-guided research project—helps connect what students learn in the classroom to the real world.
“This is where some of the real magic happens at Hiram,” says Okuma. “Here, it’s not just the theoretical; it’s also the practical. We teach students how to work hard in the classroom, but also how to find work they’re passionate about.”
It’s all part of Hiram’s New Liberal Arts: integrated study, high-impact experiences, and mindful technology.