By Liritze Pedroza-Ortiz, Staff Writer
The college’s Honors Program is continuing to expand thanks to a new articulation agreement with the University of North Texas and the addition of new classes.
The nearly one-year-old program, led by psychology professors Kimberly Chandler and Marti Weaver, worked out an agreement in the summer that lets honors program members transfer their credits into the UNT honors program as long as they have a minimum 3.35 GPA and have made an A or a B in their honors courses, Weaver said. The transfer will not require an essay or application.
“The process [to transfer] is just our verification that these students did take courses from our program and that they received the credit,” Chandler said.
Besides the articulation agreement, the honors program offers courses that are more challenging.
“I think the major difference is that the class operates at a higher intellectual level instead of just mastering the content, which is what the normal class strives for,” history professor Dr. Jerry Henson said. “We try to go beyond that, into the why’s.”
The program took about four years to develop, during which cautious steps were taken to ensure the program did not dissolve like previous honors programs have, Weaver said.
Henson said three or four attempts have been made in the past, but this attempt has succeeded because there was more preparation and organization.
“We wanted to have a structure first and then add courses. That’s what they didn’t do,” Chandler said. “They just started off and there was no structure and guidelines.”
The program started with English 1302 and History 1301 classes in the spring. It has since added Biology 1406, College Algebra 1314 and Introduction to Speech Communication 1311.
To ensure the quality of the program, instructors are selected for the courses, Weaver said.
“[The instructors] need to submit a proposal that they design for the course that they teach and wait for the approval of the board,” Weaver said.
Although the classes focus on the same subject as regular classes, they are taught differently.
“I cover the same content, but I cover the content faster in the honors class, so that we can spend more time on a few very important or very interesting topics,” Henson said.
One change this semester is an additional three credit hours are required to complete the program for new members. There are also arranged events that are open to all students.
The Honors Program is working with history professor Michael Noble and learning frameworks professor Judith Dumont to arrange a scholarship workshop that will be held on Oct. 30. On Oct. 23, the organization is sponsoring an event featuring the director of the University of Science training program of the University of Colorado.
“He will be talking about getting an M.D. or Ph.D. in science, or maybe both,” Weaver said. “It is sponsored by the Honors Program, but it is open to the entire college — the entire district.”
Although students can attend these events and take honors courses without being in the program, there are some exclusive benefits for members, including access to the honors lounge in the library and an assigned mentor.
Chandler said the honors program plans to add three more classes in the spring semester: History 1302, Psychology 2301 and Spanish 1411.
“We want to keep on offering classes until we have most of the core curriculum classes offered,” Weaver said.
Honors Program leaders also hope to reach articulation agreements with other universities.
“We are trying to establish as many relationship as soon as we can … for students who are going to transfer in the next year or so,” Chandler said.