The Future of Honors

Many changes are being discussed right now in Honors, and students should be part of the discussion. Below, you’ll find a list of ideas that are currently being tossed around at various levels of administration which deeply affect students’ lives.

This post is your invitation to attend one or both of our two open forum discussions with DL (Dean Lanier: our current Honors College dean). These discussions will take place on April 10 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Honors forum and April 11 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. in Dane Smith room 333. You’ll have the chance to hear more of what DL has planned for the Honors College and respond with your thoughts on the changes.

First, we’d like to emphasize that none of the following changes have been officially decided upon. The following are just ideas under review or items that Honors is under pressure to change from other areas on campus.

This is your opportunity to read what’s being discussed higher up and put your ideas forth about whether you think the following changes would be helpful or harmful to Honors students.

Let’s get started looking at some of the ideas in question.

Getting rid of peer advisors in favor of a full-time academic advisor

This semester, when all three current peer advisors graduate, there are no plans in the works to hire new peer advisors. Instead, we are in the process of hiring a single full-time academic advisor who will handle advisement for all incoming students in the fall.

How do you feel about the change from peer advisors to full time advisors? Should we proceed with this change or continue peer advisement? What about a combination?

Changing the grading scale from A/CR/NC to A-F

The grading scale has always been under fire from outside the Honors College. From the outside, it looks like an elitist way of padding Honors students’ grades. From the inside, it is supposed to give students the freedom to explore new topics and take courses in an interdisciplinary college outside their major without feeling the pressure to drop Honors in order to keep their GPAs safe.

Did this grading system affect your decision to join or stay in Honors? Is it really achieving what it aims to?

Getting rid of the designation in Honors (this will not affect current students in Honors)

The designation has been a point of contention for a few years now. Are Honors students able to build the skills we say they’re building in just five classes? Would we have a pool of more dedicated and involved Honors students if we got rid of the designation? Would that be worth losing hundreds of wonderful and industrious students like those who are currently pursuing the designation?

Adding disciplinary honors as a possible second track through the Honors College

If we did get rid of the designation, one solution would be adding a second 24-credit track that included a supplementary disciplinary honors requirement. Instead of eight classes in Honors, students might take four classes in Honors and four honors classes in their field.

Of course, key to this idea is that the primary minor track would remain the same: 24 credits of interdisciplinary Honors College courses.

Does it make sense to combine disciplinary and interdisciplinary Honors into one degree? Would this plan be helpful for those students who currently pursue the designation in Honors (especially engineers, music majors, architects, and educators)?

Cutting the number of courses offered so students will register for the ones being offered.

It’s no secret: money is tight across campus. That’s true in Honors as well. The question being asked by administration is how to keep from losing more money on 18-person classes that aren’t completely full.

Last semester, the answer was to raise the cap on select courses and squeeze a couple extra chairs around the Honors seminar tables. This semester, the answer was to offer fewer courses so students have to register for the ones offered.

As a student, does having fewer options make you feel pressure to register, or does it make you more likely to skip a semester and take one next time?

Interested in discussing any of these ideas or changes? Join the discussion April 10 and 11. We’d love to see you there!

By The Stoop Editorial Staff



One thought on “The Future of Honors

  1. These are pretty significant changes, ones that I wasn’t aware of. I think it would be good if this announcement/these changes were sent out in an email to Honors students and flyers passed out. I haven’t seen many and was really shocked to hear about these today.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s