|CLASS at RPI
CLASS (Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students) is designed to provide support and co-curricular opportunities for students throughout their undergraduate years. Through CLASS, students are connected to a network of faculty, staff, and other students who lend support and guidance and help to build a strong community of learners as they strive to become the leaders of tomorrow.
College is a time of transition, and with transitions come challenges. The rates at which students adjust to academic demands or integrate into social groupings can vary widely, and so here at Rensselaer we have put into place a program that will help you meet the challenges ahead. That program, designed to foster personal growth and cohesive community, is called CLASS (Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students)a comprehensive approach to student life that comprises all aspects of campus culture, within a residential college model.
CLASS benefits you in a number of ways. This innovative initiative allows you to grow personally and professionally, and prepares you for meaningful impact in the world.
CLASS fosters student growth and explores the undergraduate college experience through a developmental lens. Through CLASS, Rensselaer seeks to cultivate an awareness of self, creating gateways to transformative experiences that will help you realize your potential.
CLASS is built upon two main platforms: our residential clustering model, which makes for an exceptional campus living experience, and time-based clustering, which begins with the First-Year Experience and continues with similar yet developmental experiences throughout the next three years.
These models create overlapping support on multiple fronts, build life and professional skills, and foster a deeper appreciation of the global community. This is achieved by encouraging students to set and achieve personal and professional milestones as well as to explore diversity and commonalities within the vibrantly pluralistic community that is Rensselaer. With CLASS, you will be directed toward fellowship, scholarship, and international study opportunities, as well as opportunitiesboth on and off campusto enhance your leadership skills, to make significant contributions to our robust residental learning community, to develop your athletic prowess, to pursue lifelong ambitions, and to be part of an outstanding and caring community.
A Network of Support
Commons Assistant Deans. The Commons Assistant Deans help with your day-to-day matters and work with resident directors and resident assistants to answer questions as they arise in the residence halls.
Faculty Deans of the Residential Commons. These tenured professors act as the primary liaisons between the staff and the faculty. The faculty deans provide students and faculty with opportunities to get to know one another on a personal level. They also offer opportunities for students to develop personally and professionally, to broaden their perspectives on media, arts, and their community, and to deepen their understanding of undergraduate academic life.
Class Deans. Assigned to each class year, Class Deans provide developmentally specific support, programming, and advocacy for students, affording them a better appreciation of all aspects of the Institute. Class Deans help to structure leadership experiences, provide learning assistance and career planning, and plan social and cultural activities. In short, they are mentors, counselors, facilitators, and guides as you make your way through your college years.
Student Life. All other Student Life departments contribute to a comprehensive and developmental commitment to your growth. They are critical to your becoming a well-rounded and uniquely prepared graduate, ready to impact the world. Athletics, the Archer Center for Student Leadership Development, the Student Health Center, the Center for Career and Professional Development, the Dean of Students Office, the Rensselaer Union, and the Registrar’s Office all play a crucial role in your self-development.
As with residential clustering, Rensselaer has introduced time-clustering in order to support the personal and academic needs of its students over the four years they are on campus.
Each class will be supported by a team of Commons Assistant Deans, upperclass and graduate student staff, faculty residential commons deans, and a Class Dean. This will ensure that every student has someone to turn to for help, and receives the best individual counseling, mentoring, and personal attention that Rensselaer has to offer.
First-Year Experience. Offers a number of important programs, including orientation, all aimed at adjustment and transition during a student’s first year at Rensselaer.
Sophomore Experience. This year is spent working with students on their co-curricular experiences while firming up their academic goals and clarifying their intent.
Junior Experience. The focus here is on helping students realize that “experience matters” and helping them find ways to gain valuable skills and solidify future plans.
Senior Experience. The goal of the senior year experience is to help students make the transition from Rensselaer to becoming young alumni leaders on the global stage. The structure described above and its corresponding programming lend a significant sense of purpose and focus to your college years, better preparing you for life after Rensselaer.
The campus residence program allows students to make success at Rensselaer their priority, by making sure that other needs are met. Approximately 2,800 students live on campus.
Several different themed living options are available at Rensselaer including “Ground Zero,” a community for arts, music, and culture, “Vasudha,” centered around earth, energy, and the environment, and “Leadership House,” which provides student leadership development.
Rensselaer frames its residential experience so that it can be as enjoyable and productive as possible. Clusters of residence halls, called residential commons, are a central feature of the CLASS experience. All first- and second-year students live within these clusters, which are residential halls that are grouped geographically as well as some that stand alone. Those Greek houses that are associated with the Institute through a “Commons Agreement” are also considered residential commons.
Each of the four commons has its own character and focus and each harbors a small, tightly knit student community that blends the academic, social, and residential aspects of university life.
The Dean’s PocketA lunchtime student and professor get-together with billiards, video games, board games, and ping-pong.
Lunch meetings with distinguished faculty, book discussions, and music and art performances.
Dinner at the Dean’s HouseSmall group encounters that bring together students and professors for good conversation and food in a relaxed environment.
Designed to transform the student experience, CLASS continually makes adjustments in its model to provide unparalleled support, to furnish outstanding opportunities, and to build a cohesive living and learning residential college community here at Rensselaer.
Six Key Growth Areas
Personal DevelopmentIdentify your interests and mature in your values.
Professional DevelopmentExpand your profile by pursuing out-of-the-classroom experiences.
Leadership DevelopmentCultivate your individual leadership style.
Cultural Development & Electronic Media and the ArtsThink and act creatively.
CommunityBe a contributing citizen and make an impact.
CommuniversityBe a good neighbor and support the City of Troy and Rensselaer County.
Below is a list of offices and individuals that are available when you need them. Please don’t hesitate to contact any one of the following.
Division of Student Life
Center for Career and Professional Development
Faculty Dean of the Residential Commons
Office of the Student Experience
Archer Center for Student Leadership Development
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