From its inception in 1850, Hiram College has distinguished itself from other liberal arts schools by upholding the student’s right to education, regardless of sex or religion. Originally established by the Disciples of Christ, it began without a single completed building and was called the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, but has since adopted the name of its home in Ohio and attained college accreditation. Today it offers its 1300 undergrads and 40 or so grad students a solid education built on the foundations of inclusiveness that allows for a student body from 28 different countries and 26 states.
Using a distinctive semester set up, Hiram offers two 15-week semesters (spring and fall) divided into a 12-week (in which students take 3 classes), followed by a 3-week, single class intensive semester. Though the college does offer a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (as well as professional educator’s courses over the summer for the teacher looking to bone up on skills), the majority of 1100 or so students are undergrad students looking for their Bachelor’s degree. Hiram offers over 30 majors to choose from, with the majority ending in a Bachelor’s of Arts degree, though they do offer a fine B.S. program in Nursing. Popular majors at Hiram reflect their diverse student body and global perspective, running from Social Sciences to Education.
Hiram may not offer any distance learning degrees (though they have online classes, even one that is designed to teach about taking Distance Learning classes), but they do have programs designed for people who want to learn at a distance from the school. Their exchange programs are globally acknowledged, giving students an opportunity to spend a semester or full academic year taking classes in Turkey, Italy, or Japan (spending what they would on a normal semester in Hiram, Ohio and receiving full credit for their time abroad). Teaching from an international standpoint, Hiram uses exchange programs and organized travel to foreign countries as part of their curriculum both in and out of the classroom (about half of students participate in a study abroad program) to encourage a global awareness.
Hiram College receives high acclaim from many different magazines and groups for many reasons, from their small class sizes (a 13:1 teacher student ratio) to their Tuition Guarantee (no student can have their tuition increase between freshman year and graduation). For graduate students, they work around schedules to ensure both education and work schedules aren’t conflicting, offering classes on every other weekend. Undergrads are also afforded the ability to take weekend classes.
Hiram operates from a “hands on” learning perspective, going beyond textbooks to include internship programs and research opportunities that puts classroom work in a real world perspective (for credit no less). Students are expected (as part of almost every major) to have some sort of on the job experience in their field before graduation, preparing them much more than most colleges and giving them a hand up over other qualified graduates from other schools.
Hiram is an “education that works”, marrying real world to academic work to give students the skills they need to succeed once the diploma has been presented.