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Office Hours

2 Apr

Today, much like any other day of the week here for me at Washington and Lee, I went to office hours. As a math major, this part of my day is crucial to my academic success. Whether I’m working on a weekly problem set or studying for the next big Real Analysis test, my professor, just like any other professor at W&L, is more than accessible and really eager to help. This part of my day is where I can solidify the class lectures and ensure that I understand what we’ve covered. To me, this is one of the major benefits of coming to a small liberal arts college like Washington and Lee. All of our professors here really want us to do well and are certainly willing to lend a hand to make it happen.

Partnerships.

11 Mar

I overslept this morning. I could blame it on daylight savings or a long weekend, but really I just plain overslept. I woke up right as my first class was ending and immediately felt  both confused (why did I hit ‘off’ and not ‘snooze’?) and very, very guilty.

You see, when you sleep through your alarm or miss class at W&L, your professor’s notice and that is because when you walk into the first day of class, your Professor’s learn your names right away. Having small class sizes at W&L not only allows for an excellent learning environment and vibrant discussion, it also means that you establish real relationships with your Professor’s. The academic experience at W&L is very much a two-way street, or better yet, a partnership. If you seem to be having an off week or two, it is very common to get an e-mail from a Professor or Advisor checking in to make sure everything is ok. Have your grades taken a hit? Professor’s will open their doors for extra help and office hours.

Knowing my Professor’s truly care instills in me a feeling of responsibility. I matter in the classroom, and that class time matters for my learning. You can’t phone it in at W&L, but once you get here, you won’t ever want to!

 

Personalizing the major

26 Feb

It’s that time of year: the time for sophomores to declare an initial major. I was fortunate enough to come into W&L knowing that I wanted to major in journalism. I also knew that I wanted a second major to explore another interest to complement my journalism major.

At the academic fair during orientation week, a professor encouraged me not to rush into choosing a second major. He suggested that I take a variety of classes and find subjects and professors that interest me the most. I took a variety of courses from art history and literature to mathematics and economics during my first year at W&L. This past fall term, I took a course in politics that was very interesting and useful to my study in journalism and taught by a great professor. I decided to take a seminar with the same professor this winter term and I really liked working with her.

Now that I am required to officially declare an initial major in journalism, I have also decided that I want to add politics as a second major. I am fortunate enough to get to work with my politics professor even more as an advisor for my politics major.

Because W&L is such a small school, students get to choose their advisors when they declare their majors. I feel very fortunate that I not only get to create my curriculum around topics that interest me, but that I also get to pick the professors that I get to work with.

Relaxed atmoshpere

26 Feb

We have just returned from February Break. Personally, I spent mine relaxing and visiting my friends. It was a great time and I am thankful to have had the break, but I am also excited to be back at school with everyone. The nice thing about being back on campus and even being in classes is that the atmosphere, though serious, is relaxed. Every student works hard along with all the teachers and thanks to the honor system there is a huge amount of trust and a great relationship between the two. I was immediately reminded of this yesterday when my teacher taught us about Combinatorics (Math) with the aid of her dog. Yes, she gave her lecture while letting her dog roam the room. The feeling in the classroom was very relaxed and it was a nice way to ease back into school and the rigor of classes, and the dog was very cute. But it is not all fun and games, in that same class I have a problem set due tomorrow, so better finish that up. At least I have that dog to motivate me!

Department Details: Mathematics

16 Feb

 

Robinson Hall, home to the Mathematics Department.

Robinson Hall, home to the Mathematics Department.

 

“Ponder the possibilities of time travel. Apply number theory to crunch through codes. Explore the structure of Hilbert space. Study abroad in Budapest or Scotland. Engage in research projects with faculty. Consider the opportunities that the study of mathematics has provided recent majors who have pursued careers as analysts with consulting firms, as actuaries, as financial analysts in the banking and finance arenas, as teachers, and as software developers; other majors have pursued advanced degrees in mathematics, computer science, economics, engineering, law, and medicine.

During their four years at W&L, mathematics majors learn to “walk and talk” in such fundamental areas of mathematics as single and multi-variable calculus, linear algebra, modern abstract algebra, real and complex analysis, ordinary and partial differential equations, geometry, topology, mathematical statistics, graph theory, and numerical analysis. By “walking and talking” we mean that our goal is for our students to be not only technically sound, but also conversant in mathematics. Each year, several of our majors participate in summer research, either here at W&L or at other universities. Since 1990, our students have written four software packages, developed five websites, published seven expository papers, and authored or co-authored twelve articles appearing in prestigious professional journals such as the American Mathematical Monthly, Linear Algebra and its Applications, and the Transactions of the American Mathematical Society.”

Editors note: The Mathematics Department also runs The Math Center, which is open 8-10 Su-Th and is staffed by upperclassmen Math majors who are available to assist any students who need help in their Math Classes. This was a big help for me freshman year!

For more information on the Math Department, click here.

Honor.

14 Feb
Honor is everything at W&L

Honor is everything at W&L

From ‘The Honor System’ on the W&L website:

Honor is the moral cornerstone of Washington and Lee University. Commitment to honor is recognized by every student, faculty member, administrator, and staff member of the University. Honor provides the common thread woven through the many aspects of this institution and creates a community of trust and respect affecting fundamentally the relationships of all its members.

The centrality of honor at Washington and Lee is contained in its Honor System. The Board of Trustees has granted to students the privilege of overseeing the administration of the Honor System. The sole penalty for an Honor System violation is dismissal from the University. These responsibilities are administered by the Executive Committee of the Student Body, a group of students elected annually by their peers.

Academic life is essentially shaped by the commitment to honor. Assuming that students will behave honorably, the faculty grants flexibility in the scheduling of most final examinations, and all are taken without supervision. Take-home closed book examinations are a common occurrence. The pledge, “On my honor, I have neither given nor received any unacknowledged aid on this (exam, test, paper, etc.),” expresses the student’s promise that the work submitted is his or hers alone. Students’ dedication to honorable behavior creates a strong bond of trust among them and between them and the faculty. This student dedication and the bond that it engenders also provide the basis for the faculty’s commitment to accepting a student’s word without question.

The dedication to behave honorably is not confined to academic life. It is expected that students will respect each other’s word and intellectual and personal property in the residence halls and the Greek houses, on the playing field, in the city of Lexington, or wherever Washington and Lee students take themselves. This principled expectation provides the foundation for the community of trust which students seek to create not only in the academic sphere but in life outside it, as well.

The Honor System has been a unique feature of Washington and Lee University for well over a century. Thousands of students have lived under it while in residence, have been morally shaped by it, and as alumni and alumnae, continue to be guided by it in their professional lives. Current students are as committed to it as were those who lived and studied here before them, and they maintain with firm conviction this distinctive ideal of the University.

 

“On my honor, I have neither given nor received any unacknowledged aid on this blog post.” -Ali

Department Details: Journalism and Mass Communications

11 Feb
Our studio at W&L

Our studio at W&L

As the nation’s only accredited journalism and mass communications program in a highly competitive liberal arts university, we remain committed to our first and highest mission: to educate, to broaden minds, to inculcate habits of honor, careful analysis, reasoned discourse and excellent writing in an increasingly diverse and pluralistic culture.

The Department of Journalism and Mass Communications is among the largest programs at Washington and Lee. The department faculty believe journalism is the ideal liberal arts major, combining a deep grounding in the liberal arts and sciences with solid experience in research, analysis and clear communication. Its majors have an excellent reputation throughout the news industry, in the law and in advertising and public relations.

Since the total renovation of the department’s building, Reid Hall, students and faculty have worked in an environment perfectly designed for the convergence that is sweeping the professional media world. The W&L journalism program had been among the first in the nation to fully computerize all reporting and editing classes, and now it is among the first to create totally digital classroom and laboratory systems.

All students must have at least one internship, perhaps the most important criterion for a job in journalism. That experience and the demanding professional courses they take mean that journalism majors are well positioned for excellent jobs upon graduation and rapid advancement.

As graduates, they have been highly successful professionally as journalists and lawyers, in advertising and public relations, and in a wide variety of other communications-related fields. They are valued in virtually any field for their ability to gather information and present it compellingly, with precision and clarity, in any medium.

For more information about our Journalism and Mass Communcations Department, click here.