To: Dr. Krepel From: Brent Pickett Re: Honors Committee Report Date: 5-8-03 This year the Honors Committee addressed a number of issues. 1. A central point of discussion concerned how the Honors program should respond, if at all, to the budget constraints affecting CSC in general. After much discussion we concluded that an appropriate response would be to recommend that the three upper years in Honors (i.e., HONS 201 through HONS 401) could be taught on a rotating basis, with only two of the three courses offered in any given academic year. This would significantly reduce the budget impact of the Honors program. In the report that I drafted to Dr. Veath about program viability for Honors, I made this recommendation, and it was subsequently adopted. One concern was that if the number of upper-year courses were reduced to just one, instead of two, the enrollment would be so high that it would preclude having a seminar format. Class discussions would be hampered, and that is much of the point of any Honors program. Hence we sought to play a constructive role in responding to budget constraints while still maintaining quality in the program. 2. Recruitment efforts into the program were also a central topic. We decided to try holding Honors Day in the fall, rather than in the spring as was done in the 2001-2002 academic year. The reason for this was a concern that academically gifted students, such as the ones we seek to recruit, tend to make earlier decisions about which college or university to attend. Also, as an outcome of discussions within the committee from the 2001-2002 academic year, we altered the format of Honors Day somewhat. For instance, our prospective Honors students now sit at the tables with our current students during the observed class. After some introductory material is covered they are welcomed to participate in the discussion. It seemed to work rather well. A decision was also made to expend a greater portion of the Honors program budget on recruitment efforts. The Honors program has dropped its membership in the National Collegiate Honors Council and re-directed those funds to working in partnership with Admissions. We have purchased promotional materials and increased mailings to potential students. 3. As a component of long-term planning for the program, discussions were held about how to increase benefits to the students considering the program. It was decided that a Foundation account for Honors should be set up, so that modest book scholarships can be offered, assuming that enough fundraising occurs. This past fall, I, as the Honors Program Director, did some fundraising for this newly created account. Our goal is to be able to offer one or two book scholarship for students in 2006, with the number of scholarships offered increasing on a biannual basis. 4. Another concern is with retention within the program. Although I think it is fair to say that the Committee was uncertain as to any measures that would immediately improve retention within the program, our discussions generally took the form of how to improve benefits to the students. As part of a drive to increase student perks the second year of Honors now has an annual trip to an academic conference in Boulder. The first such trip, which occurred in April, was a great success. This is admittedly a modest step, but it so far has proven to be a good one. 5. Dr. Veath made a presentation to the committee regarding the possibility of restructuring the Honors program. No specific decisions have been made, but she has given the Committee a mandate to explore program reconfiguration. Next year the committee needs to work towards two goals: 1. Explore program restructuring. We should look at comparable institutions and see what they do with an eye towards altering the program, in part as an aid in with recruitment. 2. Increase Honors enrollment in general.