Honors Program gets a makeover

By Jill Novak

UK will not only be making room for new dorms but also for a new Honors Academy, beginning next fall.

“We are in the early stages of discussing the expansion we are planning for next fall of the university’s Honors Program — a new Honors Academy,” said President Eli Capilouto in an email to the Kernel.

The new Honors Academy has been in planning for the past four years, and is now making its final lap of approval before being implemented in the fall.

Frank Ettensohn, the director of the Honors Program, said the new program needs to go though Undergraduate Studies and then be approved by the UK Senate.

“We are very confident it will be approved,” Ettensohn said.

As UK has made the shift to UK Core for general education, departments and programs across campus have taken the opportunity to re-examine the ways they teach and engage students.

“Honors was ready to look at how our curriculum could work within this new model and build on a rich tradition of rigorous, exciting courses for students,” Meg Marquis, the senior academic coordinator of the program, said in an email to the Kernel.

She said the program has “always cultivated intellectual curiosity for our students” through undergraduate research, interdisciplinary seminars and education abroad.

“But the development of an Honors Academy will give us the resources to reach every student and develop the most meaningful undergraduate education for him or her,” Marquis said in the email.

The new program will consist of the current program, but the program will also be recruiting faculty throughout the university to teach more of a variety of courses, she said.

Right now, an Honors student can choose between two 15-hour tracks, world food issues or western cultural heritage.

With the new academy, new courses will be available, along with a variety of new tracks for students to choose from.

“The new tracks will look attractive to students, as well as give them an opportunity to explore their interests,” Ettensohn said.

Honors students will also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of research projects on topics concerning their majors, as well as working one-on-one with faculty.

Related Link: Campus construction proposal

Allyson Hughes, a biology sophomore, thinks the new academy is a good development.

“It will give students the opportunity to take classes relating to their specific major, while in the program,” she said.

Ettensohn said students will be required to do a research project and then present it to a board of members.

Researching will provide students with hands-on learning experiences both inside and outside the classroom, he said.

Around 250 students are accepted in the Honors Program each year.

“With the new program, we hope to also gain the essential resources necessary for the number of students in the program to grow,” Ettensohn said.

Breanna Shelton, an agricultural biotechnology sophomore, said the new honors program is beneficial to those “willing to put forth an effort.”

She said it is different than other courses because there are seminar-based classes, which allows for one-on-one discussion.

Shelton said she has enjoyed the past three semesters in the program. “I’m excited to see what the new program has to offer,” Shelton said.

Related Link: Capilouto announces dorm construction plan