Greetings: Classes are about to start and we are in the midst of packing up and getting ready to move to our new office at 150 Richards Hall. The space is fabulous – plenty of room to spread out and have all sorts of activities going on at the same time. Our Open House in the new space will be September 16th. Welcome Week plans are set and we want to thank the upper class students who have volunteered to help us greet our new first year students. Obviously, we can’t make that kick-off event a success without all your help. We hope to see many of you when Dr. Atul Gawande comes to Matthews Arena to talk about his book Better. The First Pages event will be held on Tuesday, September 6th, at 7pm. We are thrilled about his visit and think that his talk will be terrific.
We have just put the final touches on the First Year Inquiry series for the fall. The courses are almost all filled and the topics range from visual music and cancer policy to the North of Ireland and Haiti. Once again the courses are linked to one of four Thematics which are providing an academic framework for the first year experience. The Thematics are: Social Development; Conflict and Peace Building; Science, Technology and Human Values; and, Inquiry, Advocacy and Social Values.
We will be offering Enhancing Honors this fall and I will be team teaching it with 60 upper class mentors (yikes!). We also have on the drawing board a new one credit experience for the spring for first year students – more to follow. . .
In collaboration with Residential Life, we will be working with the two Faculty in Residence at International Village – Professor Rifat Sipahi from Engineering and Professor Carey Nolan from Communication Studies. We will also be turning to the resident directors in West Village F and C to develop some targeted upper class programming.
Our Honors Evening was a smash in April – many posters, good conversation, and good food. Our excited group of graduating seniors managed to stand still long enough for a farewell portrait with their Honors cords casually hanging around their necks. Then they all scattered in many directions including the workplace, a volunteer year or two for programs such as Teach for America, medical or law school, MBA programs, or more traditional graduate program degrees ranging from Ph.D.s in history to economics. We had two students who won Fulbrights and one is heading to Russia and the other one to India. We also had a student win a Clinton Foundation Award and she will be going to India. We have a fourth student who won a Critical Language Award and spent the summer studying in Russia.
As you know, we are the “go to” office on campus for all nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships and we have been working all summer with a group of candidates who are applying for the Fulbright Fellowship due in October. 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.
We spent our second summer in Italy on our Honors Dialogue to Rome. Twenty-two intrepid explorers joined Professor Danny Faber from Sociology and Anthropology, and our own Associate Director Lauren Pouchak to study the Slow Food movement and learn some basics in Italian. It sounds like it was great fun and a perfect way to complete the upper class Interdisciplinary Seminar requirement.
This summer 12 of our students went on Partners in the Park, a National Collegiate Honors Council initiative. We had students all over the country including national parks in the West and Southeast – we have some great pictures and hope that some of you consider applying for this great program next spring.
We are all looking forward to working with you this fall. As always, Carol DiCecca, our Administrative Assistant will be the first person many of you will meet with when you come through our NEW DOORS!!! Lauren Pouchak and Sheryl Mayuski, our Associate Directors, continue to be perhaps the best planning and delivering pair on campus. Colleen Cronin, our Academic Advisor will continue to expand her footprint within the program and she will be joined soon by a second advisor when we move to our new digs. Colleen will work closely with me in Enhancing Honors this fall which I anticipate will make for smoother sailing. Graduate Assistant Katie Merrill has returned for her second year and will help out on many fronts including Enhancing Honors and Elizabeth Jacoby is our new first year Graduate Assistant.
As always, our regular programming such as Pizza and Profs, concert tickets, leadership training, and fellowships advising continue to be regular programming initiatives. At some point soon – when the dust settles after Dr. Gawande comes to campus – we will be starting our search for next year’s First Pages book. Look for an announcement to help out in the mid-fall.
All and all, we are looking forward to a great year – hope to see you at the Open House! Let us know if there is anything else we can do – stop by, the door is open.