Academic Resources


Academic Advising
The advising program at Sweet Briar encourages students to make informed decisions about their own academic progress. Coordinated by the Director of Academic Advising, the program provides assistance for students as they develop their educational objectives and inte- grate their academic and co-curricular experiences.

Prior to her arrival, each student is matched with a first-year academic advisor on the basis of shared interests. Throughout her career at the College each student will add campus specialists and even selected alumnae to an advising team, which she will manage. Upon declaration of a major, her principal academic advisor will become a faculty member from that program. Supplementary advising of first-year students and sophomores is normally the responsibility of the Director of Academic Advising. Supplementary advising of juniors and seniors is normally the responsibility of the Dean of the College.

In the process of helping students make their own choices, academic advisors interpret College requirements, assist with course selec- tions, monitor advisees’ academic progress, and make referrals to campus resources.
The responsibility for advising students about graduate programs and career plans is shared among the Dean of the College, the Director of Academic Advising, members of the faculty, and the Career Services staff.

First-Year Academic Advising
Sweet Briar students actively participate in planning their own education. For this reason, the College’s advising program maintains a strong focus on self-assessment and decision-making. A first-year student receives information about her pre-major academic advisor and the advising process when she arrives on campus for Orientation. During Orientation, a student will meet with her advisor to begin planning her program.

As the process unfolds, each student creates a network of key individuals (her advising team) who will help her to make informed decisions about her academic work, pre-professional experiences, and co-curricular activities.

The College is dedicated to preparing students to be active, responsible members of a world that is rapidly changing through technology. Access to a well-equipped computer and computer literacy are necessary for course work and research, as well as for using the Internet, the web and e-mail.

The role of technology at Sweet Briar is not only to teach specific software and systems, but also to prepare students to function com- petently in a complex world of diverse technologies. Toward this goal, the College inte- grates computers throughout the curriculum. Students become adept at learning technology whenever it is needed.

Windows/Intel Pentium and Macintosh computers are available to students across the campus—in large, ergonomically designed computer labs, the libraries, study rooms, aca- demic buildings, and other locations. Students with their own computers have a direct connection to the Sweet Briar network from their rooms in the residence halls.

Academic Resource Center
The Academic Resource Center (ARC) offers peer tutoring services and assistance in writing and study skills. The ARC is available for help with current projects and for long-term skill development.

The ARC staff and trained assistants are available at designated hours, weekdays and evenings. Walk-ins are possible, but appoint- ments are encouraged. Sweet Briar students regularly use the ARC for tutoring, help in writing papers, effective testing strategies, and reading and study skills.

Libraries and Media Services
Sweet Briar’s Mary Helen Cochran Library contains an outstanding liberal arts collec- tion. All items are housed in open stacks and arranged for easy student access. The library is open 106 hours each week, 24 hours a day during exams. Reference librarians are available to help students organize their research efforts and to assist them with information needs. Bibliographic instruction to individuals and classes at scheduled times and by appointment help students gain the skills necessary to use effectively the vast information resources available. The library faculty also offers a series of non-credit courses in library instruction. The Basic Library Skills course is required of all incoming students. Library lab sessions are offered in conjunction with the courses for the writing requirement. Those students exempting from the requirement must take the course in stand-alone sessions. The resources of the Mary Helen Cochran Library are supplemented by those in two branch libraries: the Junius P. Fishburn Music Library in the Babcock Fine Arts Center and the Martin C. Shallenberger Library in the Pannell Center, which houses rare books and the College archives.

The rare book collection includes more than 5,000 volumes and thousands of manuscripts to support the curriculum. Of special note are the Virginia Woolf Collection, the W.H. Auden Collection, the George Meredith Collection, and the Evelyn Day Mullen T.E. Lawrence Collection.

The Fanny B. Fletcher Archives hold the records of the College. Students who take the course in historical research methods use these records as primary research materials.

The Sweet Briar College libraries are leaders in the use of advanced technology to improve the accessibility of information for students and faculty. A shared automated catalog, LION (Lynchburg Information Online Network), established in cooperation with Randolph College, the County of Amherst, and the City of Lynchburg Public Library, allows students to search and borrow items from their combined library holdings. Borrowed items are delivered to Sweet Briar. Access to the catalog is available to students in branch libraries and computer labs on campus and via personal computer in the residence halls.

The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) system provides access to millions of titles in libraries throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, and Europe. Online search services provide access to thou- sands of databases, indices, and abstracts, and offer full texts of information in hundreds of disciplines.

The John B. and Irene Vongehr Vincent ’40 collection features more than 4,000 books and ephemera in English on Chinese culture and history.

The Media Services Department provides training in simple video production and editing techniques, media equipment, and support to the College. Resources include video projection facilities, broadcast capability on the campus cable system, and interactive computer-driven multimedia workstations. The library also maintains extensive collections of audio and videotape programs, sound recordings, DVDs, and multi-media software.