Honors Perspective, Spring 2011
Greetings: It has finally occurred to me that there is a consistent group of die-hard summer lovers in our honors community who wear flip flops and shorts no matter the snow on the ground. Maybe they are our internal arbiters of spring, although it doesn’t feel like it is around the corner yet. I must admit I admire their intestinal fortitude and hope they help to scurry the weather to higher degrees!
A new semester always seems like a fresh start – a moment to set goals and reach out to the new faculty and students who will share your learning adventure. I always loved getting new notebooks and the least marked-up copies of used books so that my book notes stood out clearly. I even have a copy of a first year course sociology book that I bought from another student named Kathy – I have managed to keep it on my bookshelf for eons. Your experiences are different – notebooks have morphed into computer screens and books are on-line for many of you. But underneath the changes in technology lies a goal that transcends decades – learn something new, take a risk, have your assumptions challenged and stay up really late trying to fit all the “new stuff” in. Good luck.
During the fall, the City as Text experience in Boston resulted in some terrific essays in Enhancing Honors. I have to once again thank all 60 of my wonderful mentors who worked to help make the fall experience such a success. Additional thanks also go to our two Graduate Assistants Vicky Schroeder and Katie Merrill who helped manage the flow of writing assignments and attendance sheets with great alacrity. I enjoyed reading the essays and will pass some along to our Writer in Residence Michael Patrick MacDonald whose book we used as a jumping off point. We are pleased that we are able to link the Enhancing Honors experience for this spring semester directly to the LLC themes and we have a crackerjack team of faculty and upper class Honors Teaching Assistants who will work with the first year students.
This semester we will have some new Inquiry Series courses including one taught by Professor Sandler in the Philosophy Department on ethics and technology. This series will link directly to the first year LLC themes. In addition, we have some new contenders in the Interdisciplinary Seminar Series including Professor Lazer’s course on social networking and Professor Garcia’s on environmental policy.
Our experiences with Residential Life continue to change now that we have two Faculty in Residence in International Village. Both Professor Sipahi from Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and Professor Noland from Communication Studies bring lots of ideas and energy to the table and we are fortunate to benefit from their presence at INV. Some great things are coming down the pike for the spring.
The Advising Kick-off for the spring will be senior clearance. We look forward to that chance to check in for one last time and learn about your upcoming plans. Then we will roll on to advising for fall courses and the “drop in” advising that we regularly offer. While our advising team is strong, we have benefited greatly from the addition of our new Academic Advisor Colleen Cronin who brings her savvy skill to all her interactions with you, in addition to her stockpile of high energy.
Spring will also roll out our Pizza and Profs, the Honors Book Club, our Honors Outreach Project (the HOP), and many more opportunities to work together. We are the “home” for all nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships and so spring continues as a time when we work with some of you on your applications for the Goldwater, Steamboat, Udall and Carnegie Fellowships among others. If you have any questions about possible fellowship competitions, make an appointment to meet with either myself or Associate Director Lauren Pouchak who works with me on these competitions. Applications will also be due soon for the National Park Service Partners in the Park program and we hope that many of you try for that. Sheryl’s the go-to-person for those. We hope many of you also join us in April for our annual celebration of seniors at Honors Evening. It is also a chance to show off some of the advanced research completed for the Junior/Senior Projects at our poster presentations that evening.
Sheryl will be working closely with the Admissions Office as we recruit our new entering class. She and Colleen will also work with our Honors Ambassadors who field numerous questions as members of the Welcome Days panels. Thanks to our Ambassadors who continue to prepare for the spring rush.
Once again we are leading the First Pages initiative on campus for the fall’s incoming class. Seventy of you volunteered to be Honors Readers – our largest participation ever! Those recommendations are slowly trickling in and will be turned over to the First Pages Committee for the final selection. Thank you all for being such a help.
We actually pulled off a bit of a coup last summer – leading our first Honors Dialogue to Rome, Italy. And we will be doing it again this Summer 1 with Professor Danny Faber and Lauren who will now be skilled hands in all things Italian (or at least a little skilled…)! This time the emphasis will include a connection to the Slow Food Movement which sounds like it will be great fun.
As always, Carol DiCecca, our Administrative Assistant will be the first person many of you will meet when you come through our doors. My team and I are looking forward to a great semester – hope to see you at some event or in the office. Let us know if there is anything we can do – stop by, the door is open.