The Convocation Series is a vital component of Berea’s General Education Program. Through the Convocation Series, notable speakers, scholars, performers, and programs present on a variety of subjects to enrich the intellectual, aesthetic, and religious dimensions of campus life. In addition, Berea’s student performing ensembles provide Convocations addressing similar issues through music, dance, and theatre. Providing rich experiences for students, faculty, and staff alike, Convocations help build and sustain a sense of curiosity and intellectual challenge basic to an academic community. They make available information and insights on important topics likely to be considered in academic courses.

Introduction to Convocations

Receiving credit for seven Convocation events each term (except as noted below) is an expectation of all full-time Berea College students. By the beginning of the fall Term, the Director of Convocations publishes and distributes the official calendar of Convocation events for the academic year. The web-site ( should be consulted regularly for any announcements of changes in the official schedule. Credit is not given for an event that is cancelled by the Director or missed by a student for any reason. It is advantageous to plan attending more than the number expected each term. This creates flexibility at the end of a term when an examination, weather, illness, or an "infraction" (a violation of the Convocation rules described later in this section) might prevent the granting of Convocation credit.

All students will be enrolled automatically in a 1/4-credit Convocation course (CNV 100) during each of their regular terms of in-residence enrollment, with the exception of the final term of enrollment, for a maximum of eight such terms. For each term of enrollment in CNV 100, the student will earn a grade of CA (which is calculated as an A in the GPA) for receiving seven convocation credits. The grade of CF (which is calculated as an F in the GPA) will be given if a student receives fewer than seven Convocation credits in the term. Convocation credits only count in a student's GPA and not in the minimum earned credits required for graduation. If a student is enrolled at Berea College for eight terms, seven terms of Convocation credit are required and the eighth term is optional. If a student is enrolled for nine or more terms, the student is required to attend Convocations except for the term of graduation.

Note: Teacher Education majors will not be enrolled in CNV 100 during the term in which student teaching occurs. Those who have not yet completed the appropriate number of terms of Convocation credit (seven or eight, depending upon the total terms of attendance) will be enrolled in CNV 100 in the next regular term that follows student teaching.

During the academic year, a student can receive Convocation credit for attending up to a total of three (3) performances of the following Berea College student ensembles: one theatre event (Theatre Laboratory), one musical event (Black Music Ensemble, Concert Choir, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensembles, or Bluegrass Ensemble), and one dance event (Country Dancers or Kinetic Expressions), but only for the specific events and dates publicized as being offered for Convocation credit.

Convocation credits earned during the academic year by each student are posted in the student section of the myBerea Web portal. Students should check myBerea to confirm whether or not credit has been received for Convocations attended, card scanned, and post-Convocation response completed. Any discrepancy must be reported to the Director of Convocations as soon as possible after the convocation in question—but not later than one week following the Convocation in question.

Audience Rights and Responsibilities

For nearly 150 years, Berea College Convocations have made lectures and the performing arts available without charge to all Berea College constituencies and the public. Convocations provide common experiences for students, faculty, and staff, leading towards the establishment of a supportive and challenging academic community. These events are a form of communication and thus involve responsibilities both for the speaker or performer and for each member of the audience.

  • You have the right to expect that the speaker or artist will present his/her art or concepts clearly and meaningfully.
  • You have the responsibility to arrive on time, to be ready to listen and watch attentively and to engage your mind and senses to understand and appreciate the presentation.
  • You have the right to see and hear the presentation without distractions.
  • You have the responsibility to be silent unless invited to do otherwise by the speaker or performer, and to refrain from using cell phones and other forms of electronic communication during the presentation. Respect for the presenters includes an upright posture and forward gaze.
  • You have the right to expect that speakers or performers are experts in their fields, often internationally recognized for their work.
  • You have the responsibility to present yourself well, wearing “classroom” attire without caps or hoods for daytime events and “business” or “church” attire for evening events. Even if the presentation extends beyond the expected time, politeness requires that you remain quietly and respectfully until the conclusion.
  • You have the right to be challenged.
  • You have the responsibility to be curious and to stretch your thinking.

Specific Rules

Convocation speakers and performers are either guests of the College community or are your student peers and faculty. You are expected to extend to them the same courtesy and attention you would appreciate and that would be expected of you if you were attending the same event on another campus.

Certain rules are necessary to assure that you receive proper credit and, at the same time, that others also are able to benefit from the presentation. In order to receive credit for attending the Convocation event, you must:

  1. Be on time and stay during the entire program. Please do not disturb others by knocking on the doors after they have been closed and locked. A student who arrives more than 5 minutes after the program has begun, or who leaves before it is over, is not eligible to receive credit and can be subject to a charge of academic dishonesty. The side doors of Phelps-Stokes are locked at the beginning of the convocation; the front doors are locked five minutes after the announced starting time.
  2. Be physically present in the room. (Those with children should take them to the room provided in Phelps-Stokes. See also #7).
  3. Act courteously toward those on stage, members of the audience, and the Convocation staff. Be attentive to the Convocation presentation. You are not to sleep; eat or drink; read; study; talk; listen to any sound-producing device; operate a laptop, pager, or cell phone; and/or engage in any kind of behavior that calls attention to yourself that is inappropriate for that particular type of Convocation and generally is considered discourteous to those on stage or those around you. Appearing to be asleep, for instance, has the same meaning to a guest on stage as actually being asleep. Do not put your feet or legs on the chair in front of you, or on the balcony railing or ledge. Do not move toward an exit until the convocation has clearly concluded. Permission to use a laptop during Convocation is subject to prior approval by the Convocation Committee.
  4. Have you student ID card scanned by a Convocation Associate at the conclusion of any event.  Ushers are instructed to accept only convocation cards as proof of attendance. Students will not receive credit for a Berea College Theatre Convocation if they already have received Convocation credit for a theatre performance; this also applies to student music ensemble and/or student dance ensemble performances.
  5. Have your student ID card scanned immediately after the convocation and before leaving the auditorium or room in which the Convocation was presented. Parents and caregivers in the children’s room will be instructed as to who will scan their student ID card (see #7).
  6. Parents and caregivers are held responsible for the conduct of their children. Those persons with children who are not paying attention to the Convocation and who are disturbing others are expected to use the room equipped with a television set on the second floor of Phelps-Stokes. Continued disruption can result in a denial of credit (no scan) for the person(s) responsible for the child.
  7. Violations of these rules will result in administrative action. When Convocation begins, talking should cease and attention should focus upon the event. It is not necessary that a person be told at the time that their behavior is inappropriate and/or disruptive. This document should serve as the guideline by which students monitor their behavior. If a student’s behavior is considered by a Convocation Associate to be in violation of any of these rules, or is reported by anyone in the audience to an Convocation Associate, the student will be given a warning i.e., the violation will be reported to the Director and can result in denial of credit for that Convocation, subject to any appropriate subsequent appeal by the student to the Director of Convocations.


With the exception of a violation of Rules 4, 5, and 6, students have the right to appeal the action of the Convocation Associates within five (5) five working days of the date of the notice by writing to the Director of Convocations. The Convocation Committee, which is the final authority in these matters, will hear unresolved appeals. Ignorance of these rules is not a foundation for an appeal.

First violation

With the exception of a violation of the Rules 4, 5, and 6, a first violation will result in a letter of warning to the student with no loss of credit with a copy being sent to the office of the Director of Academic Services.

Subsequent violations

Any subsequent violation will result in the denial of credit and a letter of notice being sent to the student, to the student’s advisor, and to the Office of the Registrar (for the student’s file).

In some circumstances, a violation of the rules for flagrantly inappropriate behavior may result in direct action by the Director of Academic Services.

In addition to the denial of credit, any attempt to earn Convocation credit by circumventing the process detailed above or engaging in fraud will be treated as an act of academic dishonesty. A letter of notice will be sent to the student, to the student’s advisor, and to the Director of Academic Services.  If a charge made by the Director of Convocations, the process described in the section on “Academic Honesty/Dishonesty” found in this publication will be followed.

Convocations scheduled in the evening generally indicate the desirability for a somewhat more formal atmosphere. Students (and staff) are encouraged to “dress up” on most of these occasions, as indicated in the Convocation Calendar. The wearing of such clothes as shorts, cut-off shorts, sweats, or gym clothes is considered inappropriate attire for evening Convocations. The evening event is generally longer than one hour in length to accommodate different programming formats. Most afternoon events will last an hour and fifteen minutes, with 15-20 minutes at the end reserved for Q&A.

This statement supersedes any previously published. Questions may be addressed to the Director of Convocations, Thomas Ahrens in 300D Draper or by email.