Honors Dean to continue teaching
Dr. William Monroe took his place as dean of The Honors College on Friday, and many could not imagine someone more suited to the role.
Throughout 24 years at the University, Monroe has built a reputation in the Honors College as a professor who takes the time to get to know his students personally.
Students and faculty alike feel that his approachability as well as his creativity will make him an effective dean.
‘He’s very interested in innovating programming to engage the students in and out of the classroom,’ said English professor Dr. John Harvey, a UH graduate who has worked with Monroe in The Honors College since 2000.
‘He’s behind creative projects that encourage critical and creative thought.’
When it comes to the future of The Honors College, Harvey regards Monroe as a visionary.
‘I think he has a vision for what The Honors College can do,’ Harvey said. ‘Not only for itself and its students, but for different departments and colleges on campus, as well as for the community and city as well.’
Monroe graduated from the University of Chicago and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas.
He has taught Contemporary American Fiction, Literature and Medicine, Literature and Alienation and the Human Situation course at The Honors College and will continue teaching.
‘It’s important for me to keep teaching and to have that kind of contact with the students,’ Monroe said. ‘I think that there are ways to be in touch with students outside of the classroom, which I also will maintain, but there’s something really special about the literary classroom. It is a resource and lifeline to the life of the students.’
Architecture senior Kiza Forgie praised Monroe’s efforts to connect with students.
‘The professional level is worthless if you don’t have a personal knowledge of the students. It’s really nice because I feel like he kind of reaches out to people on every level,’ Forgie said.
Students said that finding the perfect fit for dean was crucial to maintaining the tight knit bond of The Honors College.
‘No one else knows the dynamics of The Honors (College) more than he does,’ political science junior Michelle Pena said.
‘He embodies The Honors College. He’s very open about himself, and he treats you as a friend even though he’s a professor. I don’t know the dean of communications, or political science, but I know the dean of the Honors College.’
That openness is a trait familiar to many students and made an impression on The Honors College alumnus Jim McCormick.
‘Even being on the periphery, you could see that he was really cool,’ McCormick said. ‘No one wants to miss one of Dr. Monroe’s class parties. They’re a lot of fun and a great way to get to know him and other students.’
Monroe’s approachability extends outside the UH campus.
‘I saw him in Starbucks. He came in with his son who had just graduated college. My friend and I were there, and he called us by name and introduced us,’ Pena said. ‘You have to be in touch with the people you’re serving. If you’re in touch with their needs then you’ll do a better job simply because you’ll know what they need and what you can do to help.’