Coordinate System: Westhampton College and Richmond College
The coordinate college system is one of the most distinctive features of the University of Richmond. This system incorporates two complementary colleges: Richmond College for men and Westhampton College for women. Both colleges provide separate residential and gender-based learning communities that are designed to foster academic and personal development. However, while there are two distinct colleges within the University of Richmond umbrella, male and female students attend class, eat meals in the dining hall, belong to many student organizations, and live on both sides of campus together.
Gender as a Construct
In several ways, Richmond College and Westhampton College aim to enhance the out-of-the-classroom experience of students in order to strengthen their primary focus on academic study. Indeed, the colleges work to make intentional connections between students’ courses and their co-curricular learning.
Through special programming, the colleges are uniquely positioned to encourage students to think about gender as a construct, examining how gender has affected their lives, how they may challenge limitations posed by gender, and how gender interacts with other social characteristics, such as race, sexuality, and social class, to shape our identities.
Leadership and Traditions
The coordinate structure provides parallel leadership opportunities for women and men. Each college has its own governance system, which includes the Senate, the Honor Council, and the Judicial Council. Richmond College and Westhampton College also have their own traditions, which remind students of the history and significance of their respective college. Involvement in formal and informal leadership positions helps students better understand the totality of campus life and helps prepare them for leadership in their careers and personal lives after graduation.
Each college has its own single-sex residence life system. Most undergraduate students live on campus in gender-separate residence halls, where they have the opportunity to further develop close relationships with faculty and staff. Richmond College and Westhampton College staff are trained to respond to crises in students’ lives, such as a death in the family, suicide attempts, and eating disorders. Many of these crises are related to gender identity issues, or are experienced differently by young men and women. Through the lens of gender, the staffs of the colleges closely examine how and why such crises occur and how best to respond to them.
The deans of the colleges actively participate in the University’s academic programs through their roles as associate deans of the School of Arts & Sciences. The role of each dean includes:
- The development and maintenance of student records for the Dean’s Offices and for academic advisors
- Readmission of former students
- Encouragement of students for academic achievement through recognition, probation, and suspension of students for academic reasons
- Approval of study abroad requests
Additionally, the deans advise the student-run honor councils, which work to promote campus-wide academic and personal integrity.
Co-Curricular Activities Abound
Student learning does not begin and end at the classroom door. In the University’s quest to attract and retain the nation’s finest students, the coordinate structure allows us to focus on the intellectual and personal development of students as men and as women and as individuals. Richmond College and Westhampton College strive to provide students with the best quality learning experience possible by making frequent connections between in-classroom and out-of-the-classroom experiences and by collaborating with faculty, staff, and alumni.