The academic year is off to a great start. The Honors faculty and staff are truly excited to have our students back on campus. The Program has experienced unprecedented growth over the last two years. We welcomed the largest entering class of 463 students this fall. These first-year students and transfer students raised the total number of Honors students to a new record 1,673 of students. Forty-eight instructors now teach 123 Honors seminars this academic year. The Program is managed by an exceptionally talented and dedicated staff: Diane Burton, assistant director; Judi Bryant, program coordinator; Lori Williams, program assistant; Shivon Pontious, advising, student success, and special projects coordinator; and Katie Dorn, administrative assistant.
We kicked off the start of the year with the Honors Welcome event. Dr. Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Science, spoke about autism. First-year students were given copies of her book, “The Autistic Brain,” at Ram Orientation to read before the event. The Murray Honors Visiting Scholar event featured science writer Carl Zimmer, New York Times columnist and author. He gave a public lecture based on his latest book, “She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity.” The Honors Prof Lecture this year features Dr. Nicole Vieira; her lecture is entitled “Get Outside.”
The strength of the Honors curriculum is the Honors seminars. This fall Honors faculty are teaching twenty-five HONR 192 sections, fourteen HONR 292 sections, seven HONR 392 sections, three HONR 399 sections, and eight HONR 492 sections. An exceptional and enthusiastic group of 50 peer mentors lead the twenty-five HONR 192 recitation sections. About 131students will be completing their Honors thesis in HONR 499.
The Honors seminars emphasize effective written and oral communication, professional development, interdisciplinary learning, creativity and problem solving, and critical thinking. These skills are critical to the success of our graduates in their chosen careers.