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Encyclopedia > Alverno College
Alverno College

Established: 1887
Type: Private Roman Catholic women's college
Endowment: $30,000,000
President: Dr. Mary J Meehan
Dean: Dr. Kathleen O'Brien, SSSF
Faculty: 110
Staff: 450
Students: 2,654 [1]
Undergraduates: 2,314
Postgraduates: 340
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Colors: Brown/Gold
Nickname: Inferno
Mascot: "Blaze"
Affiliations: School Sisters of St. Francis
Website: www.alverno.edu

Alverno College is a four-year, liberal arts Catholic College for women, located in Milwaukee Wisconsin. It was founded in 1887 by the School Sisters of St. Francis. The college offers weekday and weekend undergraduate programs for women and graduate programs for women and men. Alverno is a nationally renowned institution as an innovative leader in using the outcome focused curriculum. The mission of the college is to provide service to the community, improve society by addressing educational needs, and working for social justice. The date of establishment or date of founding of an institution is the date on which that institution chooses to claim as its starting point. ... Year 1887 (MDCCCLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... A private university is a university that is run without the control of any government entity. ... The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ... Womens colleges in the United States in higher education are American undergraduate, bachelors degree-granting institutions, often liberal arts colleges, whose student populations are comprised exclusively or almost exclusively of women. ... A financial endowment is a transfer of money or property donated to an institution, with the stipulation that it be invested, and the principal remain intact. ... University President is the title of the highest ranking officer within a university, within university systems that prefer that appellation over other variations such as Chancellor or rector. ... In an educational setting, a dean is a person with significant authority . ... A faculty is a division within a university. ... This article is about work. ... For other uses, see Student (disambiguation). ... In some educational systems, undergraduate education is post-secondary education up to the level of a Bachelors degree. ... Degree ceremony at Cambridge. ... For other places with the same name, see Milwaukee (disambiguation). ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... Motto: (traditional) In God We Trust (official, 1956–present) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City Official language(s) None at the federal level; English de facto Government Federal Republic  - President George W. Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence - Declared - Recognized... School colors are the colors chosen by a school to represent it on uniforms and other items of identification. ... The athletic nickname, or equivalently athletic moniker, of a university or college within the United States of America is the name officially adopted by that institution for at least the members of its athletic teams. ... Millie, once mascot of the City of Brampton, is now the Brampton Arts Councils representative. ... A website (alternatively, Web site or web site) is a collection of Web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that is hosted on one or several Web server(s), usually accessible via the Internet, cell phone or a LAN. A Web page is a document, typically written in HTML...



Alverno College has a total enrollment of 2,654 students in which the average weekday student takes between 12-19 credits. The campus is located on 46 acres in an urban setting with a large number of commuter students. The student body is small and is student centered. The student body is also one of the most diverse in the nation, with over 34% of the population of students being non-white students. In 2005, World Reports edition of “Americas Best Colleges”, Alverno ranked higher than any other college or university in the nation in six of eight categories under “Programs to Look For."


Alverno College offers more than 60 program areas of study. The programs of study include majors, minors, associated degrees, and master’s degrees. The 60 majors are included in four schools including the School of Business, School of Nursing, School of Education, and School of Arts and Sciences. The masters programs that Alverno offers are a master of arts in education, a master of science in nursing, and a master of business administration.

Alverno has gained national praise for their unique use of an ability-based curriculum. It is based on learning to acquire the ability to put knowledge to use. Alverno started using this form of curriculum in the 1970’s and has refined the curriculum to put special focus on the abilities to work effectively with the world of work, family, and civic community. The most distinctive feature is that students are expected to be able to so something with what they know.

There are eight specific abilities identified by faculty as critical to the liberal arts and professional education, which will create an effective and relevant learning experience:

Alverno’s Eight Abilities

Communication- The ability to make a connection that is meaningful between a student and audience. In addition to, learning to speak, read, write, and listen effectively with or without electronic media.

Analysis- The ability to think clearly and critically while using experience as a form of reason and judgment.

Problem Solving-The ability to define problems, their causes, and use resources to make decisions and recommendations of actions.

Valuing- The ability to recognize different value systems and the moral dimensions of your decisions by accepting responsibility for your actions.

Social Interaction- The ability to know how to work in group projects and use others views to reach conclusions.

Developing a Global Perspective- The ability to act with an understanding and respect for the economic, social, and biological interdependence of global life.

Effective Citizenship- The ability to be involved and responsible in the community with the development of leadership skills.

Aesthetic Engagement- The ability to engage in various forms of art and take and defend positions regarding the meaning and value of artistic expressions.

Alverno does not use standardized tests and traditional exams because faculty believes each student is unique in terms of the way they learn. The lessons learned as part of the ability-based curriculum are applicable in real life and become a part of who the student is. The student assessment-as-learning is the ability for the student to demonstrate the use of the eight abilities. The Alverno faculty is responsible for judging the student in action in both course-based assessments and integrative assessments. Their feedback and the use of self assessment helps to improve learning.

Part of Alverno’s success rate is due to the first of its kind Diagnostic Digital Portfolio, which has been apart of Alverno now for eight years. Alverno students are able to follow the progress of their learning throughout her years of study anytime and anyplace. The web based system allows for the student to process feedback given by teachers, peers, and external assessors. By identifying patterns of learning the student is able to make improvements along the way. The program also allows student to create an electronic resume for potential employers or graduate schools.

Alverno’s other philosophy behind student assessment as learning process is “people learn best by doing.” The internship requirement is apart of the curriculum and is used as a continuation of learning on campus. The student receives credits for completing both the internship and an on-campus seminar. The internship has led to future employment which nearly 90 percent of Alverno graduates report they are working in their chosen field within six months of graduation.


Alverno College offers two different resident halls available to students who are interested in living on campus. There are currently 220 students living on campus who have testified that living on campus has enhanced their college experience. All resident students are protected by campus security. This includes an access card for admission to the resident halls, security cameras, and a staffed receptionist desk. All students who live in the resident halls are also required to purchase a meal plan. The meal plan offers flexibility and convenience to the students living in Austin and Clare Hall.

Austin Hall is reserved for all students that are starting their first year at Alverno. The rooms in Austin hall are all doubles which is a 10’x17’ room, furnished with two singles beds, dresser, desks, closets, sink and vanity, microwave and refrigerator and hook up access to cable and internet. Austin Hall also offers student lounges, educational and recreational social events, and many other amenities.

The other resident hall available is Clare Hall, which is reserved for upper-class students who prefer more privacy and a higher emphasis on academics. In order to live in Clare Hall you must be a sophomore, junior, or senior, or over the age of 22, and lived on campus for at least one year. Clare Hall offers the same amenities to students as Austin Hall with the convenience of laundry and storage facilities as well.


Athletics and Physical education has been a part of Alverno College since 1948. Starting in 1948 and continuing on through 1976 physical education was a requirement for all degrees at Alverno. The two year physical education requirement was lowered to only one year starting in 1965 until 1976. In 1977 the student population and interests changed, which eliminated the physical education requirement. Although, students were still encouraged to take classes such as dance, tennis, golf, and gymnastics. Basketball, soccer, and track were introduced as intramural sports at that time as well.

Every student at Alverno College was automatically a member of the Alverno Athletic Association (AAA). Throughout the existence of the club the students participated in activities like badminton, ping pong, volleyball, ice skating, swimming and bowling. The first form of organized athletics at Alverno started in the early 1950’s. Basketball and volleyball were offered under the Wisconsin Athletic Federation of College Women. The women who participated in either volleyball or basketball competed against schools like Marquette University, Cardinal Stritch, and University Wisconsin Milwaukee. In 2000, Alverno College athletics unveiled the Alverno Inferno and the first sports teams including volleyball and basketball. In 2001, cross country, soccer, and softball were added to compete as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). In 2006, the college became apart of the Northern Athletics Conference, classified as a Division Three College, and several donations were made to update playing fields, gyms, locker rooms and various other sports related areas.

Student life

In order to make the most out of the college experience Alverno suggests getting involved on campus. The student life department includes the PAGE Board who organizes activities and events on campus. The PAGE Board organizes such events as the rotunda ball, community day, Alverno Idol, and Mug Series nights. There are also approximately 30 student organizations to join which focus on networking, fundraising, service, and having fun. Campus ministry aids students in developing their faith by providing catholic services and prayer opportunities, regular counseling services, and scheduled spiritual events.


  Results from FactBites:
Alverno College :: Gender Initiative Institute (821 words)
The College's students are diverse; 28% are African-American, 7% are Hispanic, 2% are Asian and 1% is Native-American.
Alverno grades on a pass/fail basis and is known for its Learning-centered "ability-based" curriculum.
Alverno's goal is to assist students to develop life-long learning abilities, which includes mastery of material, and their flexible policy on assessments has made this easier to achieve.
Alverno College - Wisconsin Women's Liberal Arts College - Private College (281 words)
Alverno's Bachelor of Science in Nursing program began in 1930 and remains a strong and vital asset to the community.
Alverno Presents' 47th season has been cited as "one of the best seasons in Wisconsin." Read more.
Alverno College is holding its Fall Open House on Saturday, November 5 from 9 a.m.
  More results at FactBites »



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