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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Campus

Honors College earns a spot among nation’s top


The Honors College at UH received five mortarboards from the publication “Inside College Honors.” | Ajani Stewart/The Cougar

The UH Honors College was recently ranked among the top in the nation, according to the newest edition of the “Inside Honors” book.

The Honors College tied with ten other schools to receive the highest overall rating of 5.0 mortarboards, their scoring system, for the first time since “Inside Honors” began ranking schools in 2012.

Associate professor David Shattuck was instrumental in providing the information that landed the Honors College on that list.

“I was given the position of director of evaluation planning and assessment during the spring and my first job was to answer all the questions on a 21-page document,” Shattuck said.

That document was the evaluation sheet for the UH Honors College. Shattuck said that in previous years, the college had not been invited to apply.

“Everything we were doing four years ago would have gotten us ranked the same way we are now,” Shattuck said.

When evaluating an honors program, John Willingham, the editor of “Inside Honors,” looked for certain criteria such as the number of students enrolled in the program, the number of staff and faculty members and how many honors courses are offered.

According to the latest edition of the book, UH offers more English courses than any other school in the nation. One such course is The Human Situation, a required class for all majors in the Honors College in which students get to analyze classical and modern literature that impacted the world.

Biotechnology junior Tanna Vayon felt that the consistency provided by this required course is part of what has made the honors program so successful.

“The Honors College has certainly changed year from year, each year improving upon the next,” Vayon said.

Vayon said that programs within the college cater to specific majors. For example, the medicine and society program introduces pre-medical students to liberal studies and brings humanity into science and medicine.

“My personal praise is geared toward the college’s growing acceptance of all majors. Unlike most honors programs, our college is dedicated to reaching all career paths,” Vayon said.

The Honors College also gives its students many off-campus opportunities like internships, study abroad and volunteer efforts. Vayon recently visited Honduras on a medical mission trip.

William Monroe, dean of the Honors College, was unsure of what caused the college to grab the attention of “Inside Honors,” but he speculated that it had something to do with the presence of the reputable Phi Beta Kappa chapter at UH.

“High impact practices” like this are what Monroe hopes to see more of in the college. Monroe has been with the honors program since 1985 and has watched it grow into a college with 1,000 students in 1993.

With the ranking adding more prestige to the Honors College, the potential and expansion for the UH and its honors program continues to grow.

“We are really trying to look outward and become a bridge between the university and the city,” Monroe said.

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