At her first college, she did not experience the academic challenge that would help her grow. She also wanted greater diversity among her classmates and more social activities. “I wanted a place where everyone wanted to stay and have fun on the weekends,” van Noppen said. “I wanted a place that had a dynamic atmosphere and character.”
A psychology major, van Noppen spent part of that first campus tour talking to Beth Schwartz, the Catherine E. & William E. Thoresen Chair in Social Sciences and assistant dean of the College. Schwartz told her about a Summer Research Program project she was working on to study how honor codes affect academic honesty and cheating. Hearing that Randolph students have opportunities to work on summer projects alongside experienced professors helped van Noppen decide to transfer to Randolph.
|Transfer student Elizabeth van Noppen ’14, left, has enjoyed singing in Randolph’s female a cappella|
group Songshine, fun traditions, and academic opportunities like the Summer Research Program.
Van Noppen became interested as she saw the way Randolph’s honor system, including self-scheduled exams and many take-home tests, fostered integrity. “I noticed that the culture is really different. With less supervision, with more trust in your students, it makes students act more honestly, because there is that responsibility on them,” she said. “It’s helpful to see what mechanisms help reduce dishonesty in the classroom. I had always thought, to reduce cheating, you should add more consequences or try to manipulate the environment. Coming here and looking at the research, I've realized that's not the case.”
Van Noppen has continued analyzing data, focusing on the way gender affects academic honesty. She also helped finish a paper on the research which they submitted to the Journal of Ethics and Behavior.
In addition to Summer Research, van Noppen has enjoyed singing with Songshine, Randolph’s female a cappella group, and participating in events like Ring Week, when juniors and first-year students exchange gifts and juniors receive their class rings.
She encourages other college students who are looking for a change to tour Randolph and see whether it offers what they are looking for. “If you come here, you will have really special relationships with faculty and your peers,” she said. “You’ll be challenged academically, and you will have fun sporting events to attend. You’ll do quirky traditions. You’ll graduate knowing people you never thought you'd meet, and having friends you never thought you'd be friends with.”