Travel time with HECA: Rhode Island and Johnson & Wales

It’s always a joy for me to return home, to the place where one of my earliest memories is getting my first library card and experiencing the excitement of knowing I could read as many books as  I wanted for free.

This time I went home to tour colleges as part of the Higher Educational Consultants Association (HECA) Rhode Island tour. In two and a half days, we walked in great weather (and rain), sampled some delicious meals, and experienced Campus Sherpas. We toured Brown University, Bryant University, Johnson & Wales University, Providence College, Rhode Island School of Design, Roger Williams University, Salve Regina University, and the University of Rhode Island.

Staying at the cute boutique hotel, The Hotel Providence stationed us in the heart of Downtown Providence. During a period of re-branding almost two decades ago, the capital of Rhode Island acquired the nickname the Renaissance City. One fabulous outcome of this period is WaterFire, an outdoor experience capitalizing on the location of the Moshassuck, Woonasquatucket, and Providence Rivers. Braziers of lighted wood attended to volunteers in gondoliers line these waterways with music, food, and entertainment for everyone. One of my favorite aspects are the living statues, which delight the young and old especially when they reach out to an unsuspecting patron.

To kick off the tour, Johnson & Wales University (JWU) hosted an opening reception giving us an overview of their institution, along with an effervescent student panel who shared their favorite experiences in each of their programs: Criminal Justice, Sports Entertainment & Events Management, Travel & Tourism, Graphic Design, Baking & Pastry, Business Administration, and Culinary Nutrition/Culinary Management.

JWU has several programs that caught my interest during this visit. One program, the Early Enrollment Program (EEP), allows high school juniors to complete their senior year and their first year at Johnson & Wales simultaneously. This program is not designed for students who are undecided about their career path; students begin coursework in their major the first trimester. Eligibility requirements are a 2.75 GPA with a B- in English. Working closely together, the admissions office at JWU and the school counselor from the sending high school ensure all courses required for high school graduation are part of the student’s schedule during that year. While a school counselor at East Providence High School, several of my students enrolled in EEP and were successful.

The SHARP (Special Honors and Rewards Program) allows eligible students to accelerate their time to degree by taking additional credits (up to 25 quarter hours) at no additional cost. Maintaining a 3.40 GPA each term along with full-time status will keep a student eligible for this honors program.

Students can explore their career interests in culinary arts, baking & pastry arts or hospitality at the Providence, RI, Denver, CO, North Miami, FL, or Charlotte, NC campus with the Career Explorations program. Created for rising seniors, this program offers an opportunity to get up close and personal with a career. Not all programs are at all campuses, so be sure to research the options.

Thank you to Kim Hodges (Director of Admissions Research & Planning), Ray Dube (Director, Early Enrollment Program), Rick Daniels (Coordinator of Admission Events), Bill Priante (Director of Admissions), and Jim Richards (Director of Culinary Admissions) for providing a great snapshot of the Downcity campus with a sneak peek at the Harborside campus. Johnson & Wales was kind enough to extend the tour to an additional afternoon to tour the Downcity and the Harborside campus but my travel arrangements were set.  Next time I am home, I will be sure to get out to the Harborside campus to tour the Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence and some of the other facilities on that campus.


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May 2021 Update

Professional development continues to be a major factor in my work life. With physical visits to campuses curtailed during 2020 (most are re-opening for in-person visits), I spend about 7 -10 hours per week on virtual visits with college admission counselors. The IECA, one of my professional organizations, regularly conducts College Conversations, an hour-long presentation with time built in for Q & A. To date, members of IECA had sessions with the colleges on the chart. Additionally, I added to this list by facilitating sessions in my capacity as the college counselor for the Montessori School of Raleigh where, along with the students, we learned more about UNC Charlotte, UNC Wilmington, the College of Wooster, Queens University of Charlotte, Muhlenberg, Elon, Western Carolina, North Carolina Central, the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Did you know UNC Wilmington has a major in Coastal Engineering or that Western Carolina (along with UNC Pembroke and Elizabeth City State) is a NC Promise institution? A NC Promise school’s in-state tuition is $500 while non-residents pay $2500 per semester.

Our virtual world allows for hours upon hours of accessible college information sessions. I had to step back and limit myself to a reasonable number of hours of “college visits”.

I challenge my students regularly to move beyond their comfort zone and during the height of the pandemic, I stretched myself way beyond my level of comfort. I am one of 14 co-authors of Becoming The Shero, an anthology depicting the journeys of entrepreneurs at different stages of their lives. My story is in the Embracing the Pivot section.

Another way I stay current is through my new position at Providence College. As of August 2020, I am the College Supervisor for the School Counseling Program. What does the college supervisor do? I supervise the students in the program during their 2-semester internship at a school, where they are directly supervised by their Site Supervisor, a certified professional school counselor. It is the student teaching equivalent for school counseling.

Reading is a daily pleasure for me. Here are nine books (not in chronological order) that helped me to educate myself about current events and issues of social justice:

  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents ~ Isabel Wilkerson
  • How to Be An Anti-Racist ~ Ibram X. Kendi
  • Stamped From The Beginning ~ Ibram X. Kendi
  • I’m Still Here ~ Austin Channing Brown
  • The Color Of Law ~ Richard Rothstein
  • We Want To Do More Than Survive ~ Bettina Love
  • Down Along With That Devil’s Bones ~ Connor Towne O’Neill
  • Interrupting Racism: Equity and Social Justice in School Counseling ~ Rebecca Atkins & Alicia Oglesby
  • Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race ~ Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D.

To stay up-to-date on trends in college, career and paying for college, see my list of books under the “Parent Resources” tab.

I challenge my students to be lifelong readers. I am practicing what I preach. What are you reading today?

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