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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Eagle

Big changes head to University Honors Program

The Undergraduate Faculty Senate decided February to revise the University Honors program, which includes changes to the amount of accepted students and to the structure of the program, as part of an ongoing discussion of the Honors system.

The University has not yet released a final report about the changes to the Honors Program. However, AU has started to present the revisions to the program to incoming freshmen, according to Interim Director of the University Honors Program Michael Manson.

The number of freshmen admitted to Honors each year will decrease from around 200 to between 45 and 90 students. The new number will depend on the finalized changes made by the Faculty Senate to the Honors Program, Manson said.

A task force was created in late 2011 to look at the current Honors Program. For the subsequent year, the proposal for the new Honors Program went under reviewby various University committees, including the Committee on Undergraduate Curriculum of the Faculty Senate, the ad hoc Honors Faculty Advisory Committee and deans from different universities, Manson said.

One of the reasons for the new program was the goal to replace the current program with something more rigorous and challenging.

The current program is not any different than the standard AU experience, Manson said.

“Just about every student at AU could make it in the Honors Program,” Manson said.

The main Honors Program will be restructured, with students enrolling in four core classes over the first two years at AU.

“Each course will be taught by three different professors and look at a addressing a fundamental question from three different perspectives,” Manson said.

Prospective students applying to AU will have to apply separately for the Honors Program, whereas before, a select number of freshman were invited to join honors after being accepted at AU, according to Manson.

The new four-year Honors Program will not allow students to self-nominate themselves into the program, which is allowed in the current Honors Program. Instead, sophomores or juniors will be able to self-nominate to new, separate departmental honors programs offered by their school. These programs have not been finalized, but they will include coursework distinctive enough to call “honors,” according Manson said.

Another goal of the new Honors Program is to create a program that attracts potential AU students.

“We want students to apply to AU because they want to get in the Honors Program,” Manson said.

smurphy@theeagleonline.com


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