Honor’s Program re-design set for 2016-2017 school year

The Honors Program at Randolph-Macon College was created for the enhancement of academic and community experiences where interdisciplinary courses not found in the standard set of courses could be offered to the program’s fifteen students.

The program has recently undergone revisions and, in light of some confusion as to why the program has lost a lot of upperclassmen students, Professor Marisa Cull and Professor Elizabeth Gill, the program’s directors, would like to clarify the revisions made to the program. The program has undergone a year-long transition process, but the redesigned Honors Program will be announced in December of this year. The program is set to launch the summer before the 2016-2017 school year. While the pro-gram has not been officially announced yet, there have been many updates that Professor Cull and Professor Gill can speak about.

“We’re really happy to have added some new benefits for our Honors students,” Professor Cull stated. “Students in the program now hold extra library privileges, including extended lending periods and access to more varied interlibrary loan materials. They also have a dedicated library liaison in Laurie Preston. Most importantly, however, is that the library staff has allocated a fantastic study space for Honors students with dedicated library carrels that our students were able to reserve for their exclusive use this year. This is a really special benefit which we were pleased to bring to students in the program.”

“In addition,” Cull continued, “the wonderful staff in the EDGE offices have also added additional benefits for Honors students, including priority access to their special programming, such as the very popular career ‘boot camps.’ We are looking forward to continuing to build on these partnerships with the library and the EDGE.”

In recent years, there has been a divide between the program’s admissions and participation, because, while admissions to the program has gone up, the participation, such as taking the required course load has decreased drastically. It is this decreased participation that has driven the directors to try to fully understand the program and make the necessary changes to it. They re-main hopeful that the program will remain an exciting and vibrant part of the R-MC community.

Their first goal for the redesigning of the program is to make it more “doable” for the honors students. In addition, they want to give students a sense that being a part of the program is essential to their academic experience. Their goal is to make students want to commit to the program for their entire four years at R-MC.

“We hope the program will draw great students to R-MC, but we also really hope to strengthen the connection between the Honors community and the R-MC community more generally through student participation in campus-wide activities and events, and through shared experiences in the educational enterprise here at the college,” Professor Cull and Professor Gill explained.

The complete announcement of the new program will come out in December and more information about the changes to the program will be provided in the spring. Those who are already at the college and interested in joining the program may go through an internal application process. “I am really looking forward to the Honor’s Program enhancing my college experience even more than it already does,” junior Baxter Carter stated. “I am excited to see what the new Honor’s Program will bring to me and to future Honor’s students at the college.”

-Erin Roberts ’16, Senior News Editor

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