Mar 20, 2018  
2014-2015 Undergraduate Catalog 
2014-2015 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

The University

The University

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Rivier University is named in honor of Blessed Anne-Marie Rivier, Foundress of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary. Established in 1933 in Hudson, New Hampshire, the University moved in 1941 to the present campus site in Nashua. The University was incorporated in 1935 under the laws of the State of New Hampshire and through two separate charters was invested with the power to confer both graduate and undergraduate degrees. It is a fully accredited institution which serves its students in the School of Undergraduate Studies.

In 1995, in anticipation of the bicentennial of the founding of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in 1796, the University formally recommitted to Anne-Marie Rivier’s mission of teaching and serving the poor by making social justice and service to others a special focus of its work.

As the oldest institution of higher learning in Nashua, Rivier is recognized for the development of programs which serve the needs of both traditional and non-traditional age individuals and remains faithful to its original mission: the education of the whole person.

Accreditation and Memberships


Rivier University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

Accreditation of an institution of higher education by NEASC indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality periodically applied through a peer review process. An accredited college or university is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation.

Accreditation by NEASC is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution.

Inquiries regarding the accreditation status by the New England Association should be directed to the administrative staff of the institution. Individuals may also contact:

Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
209 Burlington Road
Bedford, MA 01730-1433
(781) 271-0022

Teacher preparation programs are approved by the New Hampshire State Department of Education; all nursing programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN)
3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850
Atlanta, GA 30326
(404) 975-5000

Rivier is also a member of the following state and national organizations:

American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
Campus Compact of New Hampshire
University Entrance Examination Board
Council of Independent Colleges
Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers
National Association of College and University Business Officers
National Collegiate Athletic Association
New Hampshire College and University Council

For the purpose of institutional cooperation, Rivier University is a member of the New Hampshire University and University Council, a consortium of 11 New Hampshire institutions of higher learning:

Colby-Sawyer College
Dartmouth College
Franklin Pierce University
Granite State College
Keene State College
New England College
Plymouth State University
Rivier University
St. Anselm College
Southern New Hampshire University
The University of New Hampshire

Students of member institutions are permitted to register for transfer credit at any of the member colleges except Dartmouth. See Academic Information, Student Exchange Courses for details.

Academic Goals


University-Wide Academic Goals

Through its curriculum, Rivier University seeks to:

  • Develop creative approaches to problem-solving, promote intellectual curiosity, and engender a lifelong commitment to learning. Students who have achieved a level of competence consistent with this goal:
    -can apply systematic strategies to solve problems in a variety of disciplines and for a variety of purposes;
    -can work collaboratively to solve a problem or complete a project;
    -have developed the ability to express themselves creatively in some verbal, visual, or nonverbal medium or can demonstrate creative responses to course assignments;
    -have extended the range of their intellectual curiosity beyond their course;
    -have developed lifelong habits of learning and a commitment to ongoing education.
  • Promote ethical awareness, personal accountability, and a strong commitment to social justice. Students who have achieved a level of competence consistent with this goal:
    -can take and defend morally responsible stands on important issues in society and within their profession;
    -have a broad understanding of the requirements of effective citizenship in the community, nation, and the world;
    -are proactive in working for greater social justice, particularly in areas affecting the status of women and minorities in our society, and are tolerant of the cultural heritage of others;
    -have committed themselves to serve others through curricular or extracurricular service activities.
  • Foster a sense of the sacred and of the dignity of the human person, particularly as expressed through the Catholic tradition. Students who have achieved a level of competence consistent with this goal:
    -recognize Catholicism’s contribution to the development of the whole person;
    -have gained an appreciation of the sacred meaning and purpose of life;
    -have inquired into the essence of authentic human community;
    -have developed a respect for the belief systems of others.
  • Develop the ability to place oneself, one’s discipline, and one’s society in historical, cultural, and global perspective. Students who have achieved a level of competence consistent with this goal:
    -understand their roles and responsibilities in relation to themselves, the family, the community, the nation, and the global community;
    -can identify and explain the historical development of their discipline, its major theorists and contributors, and current issues and theories with the field;
    -can identify and explain the major movements of the history of ideas, the arts, and literature as they have shaped our present world;
    -can justify and explain the founding principles, historical developments, and social-political issues which have formed the United States, and our nation’s past and present global relations and responsibilities;
    -can identify and explain the main concepts, events, and issues in the development of Western Civilization;
    -can identify and explain the main historical forces and issues confronting several cultures other than their own.
  • Develop the ability to reason critically and use sound reasoning, both verbally and quantitatively. Students who have achieved a level of competence consistent with this goal:
    -can critically evaluate competing claims of authority, from whatever source, and arrive at reasoned judgments;
    -can distinguish between valid and invalid arguments and can support their judgments convincingly;
    -are capable of independent and sustained thought and reasoning;
    -can reason quantitatively and evaluate quantitative data;
  • Develop the capacity for precise and articulate communication-written, oral, visual, and quantitative. Students who have achieved a level of competence consistent with this goal:
    -can read and comprehend challenging material in their major and in their core courses and use this knowledge in other courses and in their professional field;
    -can write with clarity, and precision, and articulate their ideas at an appropriate level of complexity;
    -can clearly articulate their understanding of concepts and issues and verbally communicate it to others;
    -can communicate information visually and quantitatively.
  • Develop an understanding of the special disciplinary approaches and contributions of the arts and sciences. Students who have achieved a level of competence consistent with this goal:
    -understand and can apply fundamental scientific principles and methods in investigating scientific questions;
    -understand and can apply fundamental mathematical principles and reasoning to solve problems in other areas at appropriate levels of complexity;
    -understand and can apply the principles and methodology of the social sciences to investigate individual and societal problems;
    -recognize the significance of key works, movements, and contributors in the arts and humanities.
  • Prepare students to function as skilled professionals in their chosen careers. Students who have achieved a level of competence consistent with this goal:
    -have the knowledge and skills required of professionals in their field of study;
    -can apply their knowledge and skills effectively in professional situations;
    -know the codes of ethics governing professional behavior and the major ethical issues in their professional field;
    -understand the career paths within their major field and the training and education requirements for advancement.

Academic Assessment


Academic assessment at Rivier University measures a student’s achievement of both specific course objectives and the University’s overall goals of fostering articulate and reflective individuals who have achieved the intellectual independence, critical judgment, grounding in values, and professional knowledge to contribute significantly to society.

Individual course grades reflect the instructor’s assessment of how well the student has achieved the objectives of the course, mastered its specific content, and demonstrated University-wide competencies at a level appropriate for that course and subject. These University-wide competencies include the following:

  • an understanding of course content-the information, concepts, theories, or skills required of the specific subject and discipline;
  • the ability to apply information, concepts, or skills from one part of the course to other areas and solve problems using this knowledge or these skills;
  • the ability to communicate one’s understanding and knowledge with clarity and persuasiveness- orally, visually, quantitatively and/or in writing;
  • the ability to think critically about course material in the light of other information, theories, or points of view, demonstrating an awareness of the implications and/or limitations of any one perspective or approach;
  • the ability to synthesize course material, discovering larger patterns or relationships, discriminating among multiple views, and/or viewing the subject within a cross-disciplinary or global perspective;
  • the ability to make and support value judgments about the social or ethical implications of course material or judge between competing solutions.

Academic Profile


Participation in Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

As a part of its stated mission regarding the pursuit of academic excellence, Rivier University is committed to assessing student attitudes, student achievement, student satisfaction, and career development.

Assessment activities may include standardized testing, departmental evaluations, course evaluations, placement tests, surveys, portfolios of student work, group or individual interviews, or classroom research.

The information obtained through these college-wide assessment activities is used primarily to improve students’ academic experiences, programs, courses, and quality of University services.

Philosophy of the Undergraduate School


Rivier provides growth opportunities both in and beyond the classroom. The University offers a strong core curriculum in the liberal arts and sciences, which assists the student in developing the ability to analyze, communicate (orally and in writing), and reason (quantitatively and logically). Education at Rivier is viewed in a broader sense as preparation for an enlightened and productive life; students are expected to develop not only competence but also a spirit of cooperation and a willingness to expend talents and energies in improving the human condition. The University creates an environment which facilitates personal and professional growth of the individual who will contribute to the larger civic and global communities. Service to others is viewed as an integral part of a full life.

Goals of the Undergraduate School

Flowing from the mission of Rivier University, the following goals guide the programs and activities of the School of Undergraduate Studies:

  • That Rivier University fulfill its educational mission guided by its Catholic heritage, which fosters principles and values;
  • By engaging in a liberal arts experience which integrates religious, scientific, and humanistic studies, all learners develop the skills and acquire the competencies necessary to live maturely, creatively, and generously;
  • Rivier faculty, students, staff, and administrators dedicate themselves to maintaining academic excellence;
  • That an enthusiastic pursuit of truth be at the heart of all scholarly efforts;
  • Education in its fullest sense is pursued both through classroom activity and through a life of involvement and service;
  • In the education of students for diverse careers and lives of service and leadership, there is included an awareness of global issues and a sense of urgency to work for greater social justice.

University Facilities


The Campus

The University is located on a 68-acre campus one mile from downtown Nashua in a quiet residential area. Easy access to Boston provides students with opportunities for intellectual, cultural, and social enrichment. Proximity to the seacoast and to the White Mountains of New Hampshire offers additional recreational advantages. The services of Logan and Manchester Airports, Boston railway stations, and local bus lines allow convenient travel to and from campus.

Regina Library

The Regina Library and the Cho Educational Resource Center are the resource libraries for students, faculty and staff. The library staff, in collaboration with the University faculty, serves the research needs of the community. Currently the libraries have over 90,000 print volumes, and 300 journal subscriptions in both print and electronic format. In addition, patrons have online access to over 70,000 electronic books and approximately 100 online research databases that results in further access to over 20,000 electronic journals. These varied resources assure that the diversified curriculum and the academic requirements of the Rivier University community are met through the library website.  A reference librarian is available at the library for more than 95 hours each week. Students needing reference assistance may also contact a reference librarian from off-campus by telephone, text, e-mail or chat online.

Interlibrary loan services are provided for students and faculty. Patrons can track, review, and retrieve their ILL requests through the RivILL portal, which is accessible through the Regina Library website. Books are delivered to the library for patrons to pick up.

Thanks to a major capital gift, Rivier expanded the Regina Library by approximately 12,000 square feet and renovated the existing library significantly. The highlights of the  expansion and renovation include a new Reference Room, Electronic Classroom, Café with seating for 30 guests, a Quiet Study, five Group Study rooms and large open spaces for group collaborative work.  Wireless access to the University network is available throughout the building.

Cho Educational Resource Center

The Cho Educational Resource Center (ERC), located on the second floor of the Benoit Education Center, provides specialized resources and services to students and faculty in  the Education programs. The ERC collection includes items that could be found in a typical classroom, such as textbooks, instructional kits, games, and educational software. The ERC also has juvenile books, including picture books, easy readers, and non-fiction books. In the Project Room, equipment and materials are available for use in the preparation of instructional aids.

Landry Early Childhood Center

The Landry Early Childhood Center is a nationally-accredited laboratory school serving children aged six weeks through kindergarten. The ECC provides Rivier University education majors opportunities to observe and work with children under the direct supervision of cooperating teachers, and to develop skills for success in the field of early childhood education.

 The Writing & Resource Center

Rivier’s Writing & Resource Center offers a number of services to all Rivier students. Staffed by professional writing consultants, graduate students, and peer tutors, the Center serves students of all abilities. Writing consultants assist students with their writing projects in any of their courses. A full-time undergraduate student may earn one credit by taking a semester-long writing tutorial:

  ,   , or  . (Credits earned through tutorials may serve as electives toward graduation.) In addition, any Rivier student may take advantage of reserved appointments and drop-in services provided by writing consultants and content-specific peer tutors. 

Academic Computer Center

The Academic Computer Center provides students with state-of-the-art hardware and software to facilitate coursework and research. The center houses a multimedia classroom and three computer labs. Three additional computer classrooms/labs are located in other buildings,  including a Digital Imaging Studio equipped with the latest Macintosh computers. The Regina Library also has a classroom equipped with 25 PCs as well as many other high-speed computers that can be used for bibliographic research. All computers are connected to the Rivier University network and provide direct access to the Internet. Standard software includes Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer. Courses are taught using the latest industry and academic standard software applications such as Microsoft SQL Server, SPSS, Java, and C++.

Laboratories: Behavioral Science and Clinical Psychology Labs 

Psychology students have access to a clinical laboratory which offers a room for mock therapy sessions, testing and assessment activities, and supervised clinical experiments. The facility is equipped with a one-way observation mirror and audio visual recording equipment. In addition the laboratory has a computer room and a separate instruction area and gathering space for student interaction. The department also has a behavioral science laboratory that offers space and instrumentation to design experiments, collect data, analyze, and interpret results obtained from original research studies conducted under the mentorship of Rivier faculty. The lab houses five computer stations equipped with Empirisoft MediaLab and DirectRT software packages, which allow for millisecond precision in measuring cognition and perception from human subjects and with SPSS for data analysis.

Laboratories: Nursing and Science Labs

Some of the best equipped nursing, biology and chemistry laboratories in the region are located in Mendel and Sylvia Trottier Halls.

A three-story addition to Sylvia Trottier Hall houses state-of-the-art laboratories for nursing. Please refer to the department section for detailed descriptions of these facilities.