Purdue signature

February 22, 2013

Honors College curriculum nearly complete

The Honors College Faculty Governance Committee is fine-tuning the college's curriculum and will finish next month as part of ongoing plans for it to admit first-year students in fall 2013.

The curriculum's status was part of an update that Dennis Savaiano, interim dean of the Honors College and professor of nutrition science, gave the University Senate this week. The update included information about the college's recruitment plans and enrollment goals, as well as how the college will use campus space and how its graduates will receive recognition during commencement.

"When the Honors College is ready to admit students, we will offer an honors experience that integrates the great strength of the academic colleges with leadership, engagement and scholarship opportunities. We are approaching that readiness," Savaiano says.

"For example, the faculty governance committee is making great progress in developing the curriculum for the Honors College, with the expectation of completion in March."

The proposed curriculum, which the governance committee members has distributed widely across campus, involves 24 credit hours of coursework and a thesis or scholarly activity determined by the college.

Each Honors College student would be required to take 24 credit hours, Savaiano says. Of that coursework, five credit hours would consist of a three-credit-hour honors course and a two-semester, two-credit-hour introductory Honors College seminar. The remaining 19 credit hours would accumulate through elective honors courses.

Permitted elective courses are designated honors or honors contract courses, graduate courses not required for the student's major or research courses.The governance committee plans to develop a process to approve honors courses soon. 

At least nine credit hours of elective honors courses would be taken after the first year. Up to nine credit hours of electives could be specified by the student's academic college, to which they will be admitted in tandem with the Honors College.

Those graduating from the Honors College during commencement would wear a gold medallion.  Honors College graduates would receive recognition of their involvement with the college on their diplomas.  It is also proposed that students who complete an undergraduate thesis wear a gold pin during commencement. 

Plans to recruit students into the Honors College include personalized contact with in-state, high-ability students, Savaiano says.

For example, students' individual campus visits will include meetings with Honors College faculty, staff and students. Visiting students will be able to attend Honors College classes. Recruitment also will include visits to students' hometowns by Honors College faculty and staff, and by academic college staff.

In addition, each spring the Honors College will hold Golden Honors Days, which are daylong, on-campus programs for students invited to join the college. Each Golden Honors Day will include talks from Honors College faculty; breakout sessions with enrolled Honors College students and their parents, who will talk about their experiences with the college; lunch; and campus tours.

This spring, Golden Honors Days are scheduled for March 22 and April 6.

A nationwide Honors College alumni network also will help meet and recruit prospective students.

The Honors College hopes to enroll from 470 to 530 first-year students for fall 2103, Savaiano says.

His update to the Senate also included plans for housing the Honors College. In fall 2013, the college will house students in Shreve Hall. The Honors College's offices will move to Windsor Hall.

By fall 2014, the Honors College will house additional students in Windsor Hall and in the Vawter Field housing project, which is expected to be complete in summer 2014.

The Board of Trustees approved the Honors College in July 2011. During fall 2011, a task force developed the college's guiding principles. The task force then split into six groups to address the college's more in-depth facets and wrapped up its meetings in late 2011.

Since that time, the University has taken steps to implement the task force's recommendations.

Writer: Amanda Hamon, 49-61325, ahamon@purdue.edu