The university’s Honors Program recently announced several changes, including new service requirements, an honors student board, and priority registration for some of its students.
The Honors Program was started in 1983 to provide students with an enriched learning experience. To complete the Honors Program, students must take a minimum of 21 honors credits, achieve a 3.5 QPA by the semester before graduation, and complete a 3 credit honors thesis.
Dr. Erin Sadlack, director of honors and fellowships and associate professor of English, worked on a new initiative that will give certain honors students the chance to become campus leaders and to receive priority registration, even before seniors, for their courses.
Since becoming the program director in 2011, Sadlack has researched ways to improve the program and help students feel a part of an “honors community.”
“I wanted to find a way…for honors students to become campus leaders in research methods and in modeling a scholarship that embraces intellectual risk-taking and curiosity,” she explained.
This desire caused priority registration, regardless of year, to become an incentive for students to receive if they complete certain tasks that will benefit the campus community.
In order to receive priority registration, students must first apply to become official honors students, meaning that they intend to finish the program by completing the full Citation in Honors, Sadlack explained. This means that they will research and write the 3 credit honors thesis.
Then they must earn 50 Honors Opportunity Points (HOPs) by bettering the campus and helping the community through various means.
“They will be encouraged to find ways to assist their peers, such as by leading academic workshops in the dorms or for student groups–perhaps workshops on MLA or APA style, research techniques or study skills, skills in which they excel,” said Sadlack. Thereafter, the students must earn 30 HOPs per year to maintain their priority registration status.
Grace Morrissey, sophomore philosophy major and honors student, thinks the new requirements are beneficial to both students who are in the Honors Program and those who are not.
“I feel that honors students should be encouraged to expand their minds and especially the minds of others, both in and out of the classroom,” said Morrissey.
Morrissey, also one of the Honors Program interns, said she finds it rewarding to be able to help her campus and get a head start on the classes she needs to take. “I find [the privilege of priority registration] one I am willing to strive for … because as a student who takes academics very seriously, this will significantly lower the stress I tend to have about registration.”