The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

86° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Honors College aiming to increase student involvement

    Honors College freshmen may have felt disoriented when confronted with the myriad of avenues, both academic and social, that they could potentially take through their honors path. To help narrow down and focus these choices, the Honors College is developing a series of programs designed to assist and encourage students throughout their college career.

    These changes come in the wake of several administrative changes at the college. With the arrival of Laura Berry as the new associate dean and a proposal by Dean Patricia MacCorquodale to develop and expand the academic programs of the Honors College, several projects continue to be set into place.

    Several of such programs make up what Berry calls the “”first-year experience,”” the purpose of which is to bring to freshman students’ attention the opportunities that both the college and the broader university make available to them, she said.

    “”In the past, students might not have gotten as involved as they could have,”” Berry said. “”The whole goal of these programs is to keep students involved.””

    Berry said that in many cases, the lack of involvement on students’ part was a consequence of a simple lack of knowledge of the possibilities open to them, both on and off campus.

    Starting this fall, one event that the college will offer to compensate for this is a cross-campus scavenger hunt for students.

    “”Students will get together and divide up into teams. It is a fun way to bond with other students and to get to know the campus,”” she said. “”And it is also a way to start them off into a smaller community.””

    To engage students academically, the college has developed the Paladin Program, which operates as a unit colloquium course that instructs more than 200 students.

    The class is taught by older honors students and includes various faculty members who are invited to come in and present their research. To delve into this research more deeply, students will interview a faculty member of their choice.

    “”The course is designed to get students intellectually engaged on campus,”” Berry explained.

    Such nontraditional courses are becoming an increasingly common option for students who participate in the college’s curriculum. Professor Tom Fleming, who will teach a NATS 102 astronomy course allowing students to independently develop their own research problem and operate a telescope on Mount Lemmon, said that these sorts of courses are critical for students’ academic success.

    “”I think that what they’re doing is great. Here is an opportunity for students who are self-motivated to realize themselves intellectually,”” Fleming said. “”It allows them to excel at a higher level, and it allows me a chance to go more in depth.””

    As opposed to more traditional, lecture and exam-based classes, the class “”gives students an appreciation and a hands-on understanding of how scientific inquiry works,”” he said.

    In addition to these changes in course structure, the college has also, for the first time, hired an adviser – Julie Reed – who will work exclusively with honors students.

    Reed’s responsibilities will include guiding students who are interested in working on a thesis and matching them to faculty members who would provide help with research.

    Another important goal that Reed – as well as the Honors College in general – has in mind is to promote the college to students who have not considered it as a viable option.

    “”Students are admitted to the Honors College when they are admitted to the university,”” Berry said. “”One part of Julie’s job is to make sure that students who come to the university who were not selected will know that it is possible to self-nominate.””

    “”Sometimes a student blossoms in college who didn’t in high school. As soon as a student has a 3.5 GPA, they are eligible for the Honors College.””

    More to Discover
    Activate Search