An Article on Local Domestic Exchange and Cross-Registration Opportunities from the Students’ Perspective By: Jordan Chloë Jackson As based on an interview with Serena Hughley
Cross-registration isn’t new to Spelman – plenty of us have had the opportunity to take courses at other institutions in the AUC; however, recently, some members of the Honors Program have worked on expanding their horizons past our AUC gates through “local domestic exchange (LDE).” Serena Hughley is a senior, International Studies and Spanish double major. She is currently enrolled in ES 698: Special Topics in Ethics and Society: Black and White in America: Religion, Ethics, and Questions of Race, a graduate course in the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Serena chose this institution in particular because they have a JD/MDiV (Juris Doctorate/Masters of Divinity or Theological Studies) program she is particularly interested in. The class she is taking centers around politics and the online course description asserts that it meets requirements for many different concentrations of interest in the MDiV program, including “justice, peacebuilding and conflict transformation (JPACT) [and] religion and race”. Serena’s particular course of choice is unique because it is also taught by Dr. Robert Franklin, the former President of Morehouse College. As such, she is exploring one of her central passions under the guidance of someone with intimate knowledge of the AUC. This served as a great bridge between Serena’s present and her future.
So how did Serena get access to this amazing opportunity? Well, after a discussion with Dr. Hite about her interest in the JD/MDiV program, she shared with her the opportunity to do what Dr. Hite calls a “local domestic exchange” (LDE). Serena said she felt very lucky because Dr. Hite helped her with a lot of the cross-registration aspects so she didn’t have to do much outside of picking out the class she was most interested in. She recommends that you network and talk to your professors because they are your resources and you should utilize them to your benefit. However, going to administration is not the only way to take advantage of LDE as an opportunity. You can also use the ARCHE, an online cross-registration system for schools in the general Atlanta area. The ARCHE website states that “ARCHE’s Cross Registration Program allows students at member institutions to broaden their academic experience by registering for courses at other member colleges and universities. It shares the vast resources of ARCHE member specialties by offering students access to courses not offered at their home institution and allows them a chance to experience a different campus environment.” If you use the ARCHE system, you begin by completing a form online. This form is the most tedious part, according to Serena; however, overall, it is exactly like auditing a course in the AUC. By using the ARCHE, the class you are taking appears on your transcript, which is essential documentation. Your transcript offers evidence of your interest, sincerity, and seriousness. The ARCHE does have a strict timeline and if you start late on your process of participating in LDE, the class you take may not appear on your transcript. Details on this timeline and cross registration in particular can be found here. In Serena’s case, auditing Dr. Franklin’s class became an unofficial obligation that she treated with the same seriousness. In doing so, she most certainly earned a positive recommendation from the professor. In addition, Serena enjoyed taking the class because it was informative and expanded her horizons.
The most difficult part of the transition in LDE, according to Serena, is not the transition or the workload. She shares, “to be honest, at first, I thought it was going to be more challenging, which probably has something to do with the way we perceive PWIs versus HBCUs, but in reality, it is not that bad. The workload is challenging but the people are cut from a similar cloth of academia.” Additionally, she shares the professors were incredibly helpful. What was the most difficult part then? Transportation. Transportation to the host institution is not provided so you have to find your own way to their campus. Serena drives to the class; however, if you don’t have a car, you have to consider the additional costs that transportation may cause.
The ARCHE provides you with the opportunity to see something beyond our AUC walls in an easy and affordable manner. The most expensive part of the opportunity is arranging your travel! Through participation, you gain exposure to alternative expressions of intellectual community while also documenting your curiosity and seriousness of purpose. Serena encourages students to explore this opportunity during their junior or sophomore year. Overall, she said students should do it! You don’t have to take fewer credits at Spelman, it is listed on your transcript, and you get to experience something new. So what are you waiting for? Check out the ARCHE and expand your education today!