jerry price

Welcome From Jerry Price, Dean of Students!

Welcome to Chapman!

We are so glad that you have chosen to be a part of our Chapman community of scholars. The University environment is an amazing, exciting one, and I have a million deep thoughts I am dying to share with you as you begin your Chapman journey. However, I’m not certain that now is the time for deep thoughts. As a psychologist colleague of mine once told me: “It’s hard for students to think about self-actualization when they’re worried about whether they will have someone to eat lunch with.” So, I will save the deep thoughts for another time, and instead share some practical advice that might serve you better right now.  

First and foremost, success in college is much more about hard work than brains. Never forget that the extent to which your first semester at Chapman exceeds or falls short of your expectations depends almost entirely on the quality of your own attitude and effort. In particular, I encourage you to focus your efforts on three fundamental factors that are critical to new student success: 

  1. Clarify your desired academic/career path. This does not mean you need to have your major solidified right away; in fact, about 25% of Chapman freshmen either don’t have a major or say they are likely to change it. The key is to be actively exploring your academic and career objectives. Does your major still feel right after the first one or two semesters? If so, great; if not, be proactive in exploring alternative academic paths. 
  2. Make satisfactory academic progress. Like all other new Chapman students, you probably are accustomed to high academic success and are expecting the same of yourself here. That’s how it should be. However, the academic demands of Chapman classes likely will be very different from what you experienced in high school or even community college. It very well may take much more work to attain the same grades you are used to. Be prepared to stay disciplined and work hard. In particular, it is vital that you attend class regularly and don’t fall behind.  
  3. Develop interpersonal connections with your peers. At Chapman, social connections cannot really be separated from academic ones. I say this because many of the peer relationships you develop will be with people with similar academic and career interests; it essentially is the beginning of your networking process. Just as important, studies show that students who develop strong interpersonal connections with their peers perform better academically and are more likely to graduate. I encourage you to commit yourself to making connections with others. Seek out your orientation leader or resident advisor. Check out campus clubs and organizations – many of them will be active virtually. Most importantly, embrace the informal, every day opportunities to interact with your fellow students in your classes, orientation group, or residence hall. Trust me: everyone is hoping for this connection – why can’t you be the one who makes it happen?!? 

Finally, along the way, the key is to be patient and stay positive – especially this year. Success in each of the three fundamentals above happens on a different timeline for each student. Some students feel great right away about their major but are having trouble making close friends; other students make friends right away, but struggle early in their adjustment to Chapman academics. It is important not to panic! Just stay confident and keep plugging away, and things will come together for you. 

We Are Chapman

Without question, one of the primary goals of We Are Chapman is to create a diverse and inclusive campus that is welcoming for all members of our community. However, We Are Chapman is about more than building a welcoming campus – it is about enhancing the quality of your education.

As stated in Chapman’s statement on diversity and inclusion, “We value diversity and inclusion in the learning environment and believe it is vital to the fulfillment of the university mission. It is our conviction that an inclusive learning environment facilitates complex, critical and creative thinking and that differences in identities, values, beliefs and perspectives are fundamental to a comprehensive education.”

It is my hope that by engaging in We Are Chapman you will appreciate how the differences in people, experiences, and ideas you encounter contribute to your own learning and growth.