Frequently Asked Questions
These FAQ’s were developed in March 2021 regarding the model change announcement we made on February 7, 2020.
How is Converse preparing for the incoming co-educational class?
Four model change committees have been busy since the February 2020 announcement that our undergraduate cohort would be co-educational. These committees are comprised of students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, community members who are all involved in charting the best path forward for the future. These committees are:
- Classroom Experience
- Alumni, Donor and Community Relations
- Enrollment and Marketing
- Student Experience
What is the Classroom Experience committee evaluating?
The classroom experience committee is taking an Intentional approach to evaluate what a higher number of males in the classroom would mean for each student to feel equally valued and empowered to participate in the classroom. The committee is evaluating best practices to ensure an inclusive and supportive experience, determine the tools needed for student success, and develop professional development opportunities for faculty.
Recommendations of the committee include a shared online library of classroom best practices, the development of the Center for Academic Excellence, and revising student evaluations to include the inclusivity of the classroom experience.
What is the Center for Academic Excellence?
The Center for Academic Excellence will incorporate the aspects we believe are important for the classroom experience. Located on the 3rd floor of the Mickel Library, the Center for Academic Excellence will be a teaching and learning hub for faculty, centering on conversations about pedagogy in the classroom and the academic progress of students. The 3rd floor space will be renovated using grant funds we will be receiving in the summer of 2021.
What is the Alumni, Donor and Community Relations committee evaluating?
The Alumni, Donor and Community relations committee is designed to keep the alumni and donors connected and engaged, through the development ongoing communications, events, and branding that is separate but cohesive from admissions marketing and that gives honor to the rich legacy of Converse. The committee will also ensure events and communications are inclusive of all alumni while continuing the special sisterhood of the women’s college alumni.
How will the diversity of the Converse alumni be represented?
The Alumni Association Board has developed a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (DEIC) that will partner with Diversity and Inclusion, current students, and alumni to create, support, and sustain alumni communities that reflect the diversity of our alumni population, reinforcing a mutual respect for each other and a sense of belonging and purpose within our collective Converse community.
What is the Enrollment and Marketing committee evaluating?
The goal of the Enrollment and Marketing committee is to develop a strong marketing campaign that depicts an honest representation of Converse students and shows the future of Converse University. In fall 2020 and spring 2021, the committee partnered with communications to ensure enrollment marketing captures the energy and spirit of our community and builds momentum as we tell the Converse story in a compelling and distinctive way.
What is the Student Experience committee evaluating?
The Student Experience Committee is evaluating all aspects of the student experience and recommending changes in programming, facilities, athletics, policies, safety, and housing to enhance the Converse experience for all students. The committee is also developing the Converse College for Women programming and experience so that it continues the missions and sisterhood of Converse and develops future women leaders.
The Student Experience Committee is reviewing:
- Women’s College programming
- Housing for males
- Facility changes
- Policy changes
- Programming: males, healthy campus, student success
- Campus traditions
What is the Converse College for Women?
The Converse College for Women is an empowering, inclusive living-learning community that will focus on mentorship, women’s centered learning, community service, and leadership and will connect its programming and planning with Dexter Edgar’s Converse’s ideals to “see clearly, decide, wisely, and act justly.”
Where is the Converse College for Women located?
The Converse College for Women residence will be located in Pell Hall. All freshmen and sophomores will live in Pell, while juniors and seniors in the Converse College for Women will have key card access even if they live in other residence halls on campus.
Pell 326 will be the Converse College for Women Commons, and will be a space to meet and hold events, to come and be welcomed.
I’m interested in being part of the Converse College for Women. How do I apply?
Rising juniors and seniors are automatically a part of the Converse College for Women unless they choose to opt-out.
Rising sophomores must opt-in through a form on my.converse that will be available April 9, 2021.
Incoming students apply to Converse College for Women through a separate application here.
What will happen to campus traditions?
The Converse College for Women will have its own set of traditions that connects its members to generations of women over their 130+ years at Converse. Big Sis, Lil’ Sis will continue in the first year. The second-year students will be part of the Sisterhood Brunch and Bracelet Ceremony. Third-year students will have a junior leadership experience including community service. During their fourth year, Converse College for Women students will experience a senior candlelight dinner and service celebration.
Campus traditions that will be part of Converse University include:
- 1889 Week
- Freshmen pinning
- Sophomore Social Celebration: picnic with gift of picnic blankets
- Junior Ring Ceremony
- Senior BBQ
- Montgomery by Moonlight
- May Day – with incorporation of May King
- Hats On and Hats Off
- Hoods at Commencement
What about Pink Panthers and Red Devils?
Pink Panthers and Red Devils will continue through the Converse College for Women.
Will the Honor Code continue?
Yes, the Honor Code is a key part of the culture of Converse and will continue.
Will our freshman pins and class rings change?
Yes, the design will change as we move forward, and will reflect the new Converse seal and name change.
Will there be special programming for males?
Yes. Converse will be implementing an innovative and effective leadership development and mentoring program modeled after “Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models” (Call Me MISTER), with a focus on positive masculinity. In addition, male students will have the opportunity to receive mentoring support from male staff on campus including the Converse Chaplain, the Deputy Director of Athletics, and the Sr. Assoc. Provost for Student Success.
What options do males have for housing?
Residential undergraduate males will predominantly be housed in Belk or Williams Hall. Upperclassmen will have the opportunity to live in Fleming or the Howard and Kate apartments.
What facilities changes are being made as part of the model change?
Restroom upgrades in Carmichael, Wilson, and Montgomery are being assessed for both genders.
How is Converse improving the safety of its campus community?
Improved directional signage and additional/improved lighting throughout campus are being added to increase safety. As of December 2020, our campus safety officers are wearing body cameras as part of their daily uniform to better protect and serve the Converse community, and in accordance with best practices in higher education and law-enforcement experts.
In July 2020, Converse implemented the RAVEGuardian mobile app for its emergency alert system and to provide students a way to easily communicate with campus safety.
Students will also have the opportunity for specialized safety-related training on topics such as:
- Bystander for Students
- What is Consent?
- Mental Health Awareness
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Alcohol Education
- Anti-bullying Education
- Anti-hazing Education
- Sexual Assault Education
In addition to safety, what other policies are being revised?
Members of the Student Experience committee reviewed all policies and the Student Handbook, changing “College” to “University” and revising pronouns. In addition, the committee reviewed and updated Residential Life policies; Student Conduct policies; Student Judicial, Title IX, and Grievance; and Leave of Absence and Withdrawal. The Convocation requirements and all Student Life forms are in progress.
Campus Operations policy updates and changes include a Use of Force policy, Parking policy, Title IX and Clery regulatory changes, and evaluating staffing and organizational changes for Campus Safety.
What changes are being made to Student Government Association (SGA)?
SGA will have a revised constitution and revised election structure to include more representatives across our campus populations. SGA will also incorporate the Women’s College Council and Graduate Council.
What changes are being made within Athletics?
Newly-formed teams are being recruited for 2021, which include two co-educational teams: equestrian (IHSA) and eSports, and new NCAA Division II male teams: basketball, cross country, soccer, tennis, and track and field (indoor/outdoor).
In addition to the new teams, improvement to athletic facilities will include weight room upgrades, breakaway backboards, gym floor resurfacing, tennis court resurfacing, eSports space upfit, an improved sound system, and climate-controlled storage in our auxiliary gym. Future improvements to athletic facilities will include a turf field, expansion of the Marsha H. Gibbs Fieldhouse, and a softball complex with locker rooms, offices, a press box, and concessions.
Faculty mentorship for each sport and programming centered around The Valkyrie Way will be key components of Converse athletics for both males and females.
When does Converse College become Converse University?
The change will take effect July 1, 2021.
What is the organizational structure of Converse University?
Converse University is the overarching entity of which all students, faculty, and staff are a part. Converse College for Women is a subsidiary of Converse University and is for undergraduate women.
Converse University will have an academic structure consisting of the existing academic schools: School of the Arts; Education and Graduate Studies; and Humanities, Sciences and Business.
Will Converse International School be expanding for Fall 2021?
The expansion of Converse International School is on hold expansion due to travel restrictions impacting international enrollment.
Will the Converse logo change?
No, it will not. We’ve brightened up the purple in the logo to reflect our new branding, but no other elements of the logo have changed.
Will the Converse seal change?
Yes. The Board of Trustees has approved a change to the Converse seal to “Converse University.” The new seal will be used from July 1, 2021 – onwards.
Will diplomas for the May 2021 graduates say Converse College or Converse University?
2021 graduates are given the opportunity for their diploma to say either Converse College or Converse University. Those who select Converse College for their diploma will receive their diploma at the commencement ceremony. Those who select Converse University will receive their diploma after July 1, 2021.
If someone opts into Converse College for Women, what will their diplomas say?
Converse College for Women alumni will have “Converse University” on their diploma, with an option for “the Converse College for Women confers this degree” to be included.
I’m an alum. How do I get a diploma that says “Converse University”?
Alumni can order a new diploma with Converse University by reaching out to the Registrar’s office. These will be available to alumni after July 1, 2021.
Does the mission and vision of Converse reflect the model change?
Yes, as part of this process, our mission and vision statements were evaluated. We shortened our mission and vision statements so that they would be more easily remembered while also retaining the essential elements of Converse.
Our new mission statement is:
Converse empowers students to become transformative leaders who see clearly, decide wisely, and act justly.
Our vision statement is what we see for Converse moving forward and is designed to be inspirational and aspirational. Our vision statement is:
Converse advances a culture of belonging and collaboration that ignites creativity, innovation, and transformation.