By Cathy Helean, Chief Marketing Officer, Spring Hill College
Spring Hill College, Alabama’s oldest institution of higher learning, has been preparing students to become leaders in faith and in their communities since 1830. During these challenging times, however, it’s also vital to meet students where they are, and to understand their current concerns. This means making a Spring Hill degree more accessible and more affordable to more students than ever before.
At the core of this change is a focus on curriculum innovations and fresh approaches to learning, both online and in the classroom. It’s also a focus on instilling these changes within the Jesuit, Catholic teaching approach that is a hallmark of the College.
For senior Dionte Rudolph, Vice President of Spring Hill’s Student Government Association, “The curriculum is not about just checking classes off a checklist.” Her chosen fields – a major in Health Science and a minor in Sociology – have allowed her to study the policy side of healthcare. She said, “I realized I wanted to address not only the individual causes of negative health outcomes, but also the systemic challenges that lead to recurrent health issues.”
Rudolph’s focus was nurtured and grew because of her Spring Hill experience. “At Spring Hill, cura personalis is all around us,” she said. “It’s about those insightful and intentional conversations that I have had with professors and friends that cause me to want to go deeper. It’s about coming out of your comfort zone to ask the questions and seek the answers that will ignite your passions so that you can make a positive change. It’s about being ready and willing to use the talents of your own mind, body and spirit to change the communities that you encounter for the greater good.”
Andrew Castle, a sophomore Biology major, wanted to be more than just a number when he entered college: he wanted to find a true campus family. He found just what he was looking for at Spring Hill. “I knew that Jesuit schools understood that you are so much more than just a student,” Castle said. “They know that you are a person, and they work to help you cultivate that person into the best possible form. The degree is what comes at the end of your four years here, but the lessons that you learn and the personal growth that takes place can take you further than anything else in life.”
The Spring Hill experience sets the tone for “real world ready” efforts that the College is making toward expanding accessibility, diversity and affordability. To deliver on affordability, the answer is not to continue as the most expensive college in the state, but to lower its tuition. Starting in Fall 2021, tuition will be cut by half: from the current amount of $41,868 per year to $21,100 per year. This change will make Spring Hill among the country’s most affordable private colleges.
New majors and programs are helping to make the change more “real-world” for students. A degree from Spring Hill will have even more value by the addition of Cybersecurity and Sports Management curricula, a state-of-the-art Nursing lab, and more programs for first-generation students. The College also has a real-world focus through its Center for Online Learning, a division of Spring Hill wholly dedicated to educating and empowering undergraduates, graduate students and non-traditional learners through state-of-the-art courses and technology.
“Students are at the center of every decision we make,” said Dr. E. Joseph Lee II, president of Spring Hill. “We studied this change; we talked with key members of the campus community; we planned to ensure students would benefit holistically. Students’ reaction has been very positive.”
Stories like Rudolph’s and Castle’s shape the future course of how the College will continue to grow and improve. “We will always be looking to innovate,” said Lee. “Those innovations will be shaped by the higher education opportunities that can lead to the best possible outcomes for our students.”
Spring Hill College is sharing a series of student, faculty and alumni stories as part of its new “Real World Ready” campaign. Please visit rwr.shc.edu to view them online.