Greetings: We are celebrating the beginning of our second year in our new office space in 150 Richards Hall. The space has turned out to be amazing – and we have been able to host lots of events here including our first senior dinner for those students graduating last January. The space is beautiful – bright, spacious and with tons of “bells and whistles” including some pretty fancy technology assets. But our biggest asset within the new space is the addition of two new Academic Advisors – Justin Silvestri joined us in October 2011 and Katie Merrill just joined us in August. They join Colleen Cronin, of our advising staff, who is beginning her third year with us in Honors. So come on in with your advising concerns – we can more than meet your needs!
I want to thank many upper-class students for their efforts during Welcome Week 2012. Thanks go out to our almost 200 volunteers – you all helped once again to make the first week on campus an exciting and rewarding one for our entering students. The highlight of the program was the terrific interdisciplinary panel – Professors Parekh (Philosophy), Coley (Psychology), and Smith (Biology) who led a discussion of our First Pages selection by Ann Patchett, State of Wonder. After Patchett met with rousing enthusiasm here on campus, she wrote us to say, “I’ve never met such funny, bright, smart and charming kids…” Kudos to you all for making such a terrific impression!
The spring classes were terrific. We heard lots of great comments from the faculty who were so pleased with efforts made by you in their classes. This fall we are joined by three new faculty. Professors Walker (History) and Hill (Earth and Environmental Sciences) are teaching in the First Year Inquiry Series. Professor Ross (Journalism) joins us in the Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar Series. Between the three them, we have the world covered from the continent of Latin America (Walker) to the volcanos of Iceland (Hill), and the devastation of Hiroshima and the slums of Mumbai (Ross).
Updates from our Faculty in Residence (FiR) at International Village include the birth of Professor Rifat Sipahi’ s son and his recent tenure in Engineering and the arrival of a second member of the FiR team, Professor Mindelyn Buford from the Department of Sociology. Both professors joined us during Welcome Week and will be hosting wonderful opportunities in INV.
Fall always is a bit of a challenge because we see the start of many prospective students visiting campus. We are always grateful to the many of you who are willing to help us out answering questions from prospective students and their parents. And of course, we also extend our thanks to those of you who have going through Mentor-training and our working with me in the Enhancing Honors course this fall with all our first year students.
This upcoming November, our national organization – the National Collegiate Honors Council – will be holding its annual conference in Boston. Several of our students will be presenting at the Student Poster Session, and others will be helping to moderate panels at the meetings. We will keep you posted as plans for that conference emerge.
We have 22 students who joined us in Italy this past summer on our Rome Dialogue of Civilization under the tutelage of Professor Gordana Rabrenovic. We think this might have been the strongest Dialogue yet, as we begin to build lasting ties with our collaborators in Rome. Professor Rabrenovic added Rome to her itinerary after leading Dialogues to Belfast Ireland, the Balkans, and Israel.
We are all looking forward to working with you this fall. Our new Administrative Assistant, Dan Guarracino, will be the first person many of you will meet with when you come through our door. He comes by honors education honestly; he graduated from Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Come by and meet Justin, Katie and Dan if you have not met them yet.
As always, Senior Associate Directors Lauren Pouchak and Sheryl Mayuski are also available to assist. Sheryl is especially helpful for those of you considering a Junior-Senior Project and Lauren will be working closely with all the volunteers for First Pages and our new E-portfolios initiative. Our terrific graduate assistants Elizabeth Jacoby and Ben Nevus will be working to help our seniors through their exit interviews among other activities.
As always, our regular programming such as Pizza and Profs, ticketed events, leadership training, and fellowships advising continues chugging along so watch the weekly notices carefully for schedules.
All and all, we are looking forward to a great semester – hope to see you at our 150 Richards Hall – the student lounge is terrific. Let us know if there is anything else we can do – stop by, the door is open.
Professor Maureen Kelleher
Director, University Honors Program