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Forum Requirements
WHAT IS FORUM? . . . .
  • FORUM IS A GRADUATION REQUIREMENT
  • designed as an invitation to the discovery of hidden interests and talents. Students and faculty are encouraged to participate fully and enthusiastically in the many opportunities FORUM provides for extra classroom learning at Berkshire Community College.
  • is a required, noncredit, general education component of each degree program and a graduation requirement of the College.
  • Certificate students do not have to meet Forum requirements, but are strongly urged to use this time to start accumulating credits if they may be enrolling later as degree students.
  • Students enrolling at BCC with a bachelor's degree are exempt from Forum, as are all students who began their studies at BCC prior to September 1, 1978.
  • No other exemptions are granted, however, students may appeal to the Forum Committee for credit for off-campus venues not described in this policy. 

The FORUM Coordinator, together with the Forum Committee, is responsible for the planning and scheduling of all on-campus Forum events.

PURPOSE

The graduation requirement of 12 Forum credits is an educational requirement with multiple goals - cultural enrichment, intellectual development, citizenship awareness, community building and self-discovery. Forum's mission is to cultivate the students' interests and talents outside their chosen vocational path and beyond the available academic curriculum in a way that also builds community on campus.

Forum credit is given only for events that are educational in nature, whether they are in an informational, performance, artistic, film or video format. Lectures, panels, artistic performances, and documen- tary films qualify for credit. Credit is not given for entertainment (e.g., sports, feature films, nightclub performances), professional or academic advancement (study skills workshops, employment fairs, etc.), charitable activities, or fulfillment of course requirements.

Forums take place at BCC on Thursdays from 12:15 PM to 1:15 PM, some week-day afternoons prior to evening classes, on Priority Registration Day, and some Saturdays. Students are also given Forum credit for many other campus events, such as those sponsored by The Committee for Diversity, GIRO, and the Office of Student Life. The College monthly calendar indicates with a bold "F" events conferring Forum credit.

Students are given FORUM credit for many other campus events, such as those sponsored by DIVERSITY and GIRO.  The College monthly Calendar indicates with a bold "F" events conferring FORUM credit. 

Student Government members are accorded one FORUM credit per semester for their service, as is any student who plans and presents a Forum. 

Students are strongly urged to begin meeting the requirement during the first semester in the Degree program, if not sooner, and to choose events that provide diverse experiences as they pursue their education.

APPLICABILITY

The FORUM requirement applies to degree seeking students who have begun their studying at the College on or since September 1, 1978.  Students matriculating at BCC with a Bachelor's degree from other institutions are exempt from the FORUM requirement.

NATURE OF REQUIREMENT

For eligible students, documented attendance at twelve FORUM validated events is a necessary condition for degree conferral. These attendances are normally accomplished during the first year at Berkshire Community College but may be satisfied at any time before the completion of the degree.  The total collection of FORUM offerings is designed to make possible a wide range of extra class experiences. In the infrequent case when a FORUM program is actually substituted for a regular class meeting, members of that class are not awarded a FORUM attendance for the event.

FORUM ALTERNATIVES

To facilitate meeting the Forum requirement, students may watch (a maximum of four) videos on reserve at the Jonathan Edwards Library and the South County Center. Students may also receive Forum credit for attending off-campus events (a maximum of six) that meet the educational standards described above. For students to acquire such credit, events such as museum visits, concerts, plays, and visits to natural sites must be at least an hour in length, and the student must bring in documented evidence of attendance within 90 days. These alternative events must be approved at the Registrar's Office or by the Forum Coordinator, preferably in advance.

APPEALS

For alternative events whose eligibility for Forum credit may be in doubt, students may submit an Appeal Form to their faculty advisor stating their rationale for why the event qualifies as cultural enrichment, intellectual development, citizenship awareness, community building, or a self-discovery experience worthy of Forum credit. The Appeal Form, with the faculty signature certifying that the student has discussed it with him/her, will be forwarded to the Forum Committee, which will make the final decision on Forum credit.

FORUM RECORDS 

Students may check their official FORUM records at the Registrar's Office in F-111 (ext. 2134), or by consulting their degree audit available on WebAdvisor.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

Students should consult the FORUM links on the BCC Website, semester Forum schedules, and off-campus recommendations. 

Free or discounted tickets for local arts and cultural events are available at the Student Life Office and the Berkshire Athenaeum (as well as many local libraries). 

Frances M. Feinermann
Vice President Academic Affairs