Richard Bland College Honors Program Handbook

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1 Richard Bland College Honors Program Handbook

2 Table of Contents Mission 3 Vision 3 Goals and Student Learning Outcomes 3-4 Introduction 5 Honors Scholars FAQ s 5-7 Honors Program Requirements 7 Honors Program Orientation 8 Honors Program Special Features 9 Honors Program Advisor 9 Honors Program Contact Information 9 2

3 The Richard Bland College Honors Program Academic Excellence Civic Engagement and Leadership Global Awareness Ethical Reasoning The Richard Bland College Mission To prepare students for university transfer through academically rigorous programs grounded in the liberal arts tradition of William & Mary and to expand access to college credentials through strategic partnerships, specialized programming, and scalable innovation. The Richard Bland College Vision As an extension of William & Mary, Richard Bland College is in the vanguard of learning-outcomes based liberal arts education for university transfer and a model for testing and applying outcomes-driven solutions in higher education. The Honors Program Mission The mission of the Richard Bland College Honors Program is to provide a rigorous educational opportunity for exceptional student leaders who strive for academic excellence, civic engagement and leadership, career and academic awareness, and personal reflection. Honors Program Vision The Honors Program encourages full access to the college's educational resources and faculties, challenging students to initiate, create and think critically. Special Honors activities and individualized studies are designed to foster intellectual inquiry and growth. An inviting aspect of the Richard Bland Honors Program is the way it brings together outstanding students and faculty in exciting learning encounters. The result is a dynamic environment that inspires students in unparalleled intellectual pursuits. The Honors Program Goals The Program will accomplish its mission by achieving the following goals: attract and retain a diverse group of self-motivated students with high academic ability and creative talent, so that the Richard Bland College first-to-second-year retention rate for Honors Scholars is at least 10% higher than the remainder of the student body; plan to offer curricula that are innovative, interdisciplinary, and appropriate to advanced learners, with an emphasis on stimulating and participatory course work, experiential learning activities, and the use of primary sources for research, with the underlying goal being that Richard Bland College is developing program graduates with advanced communication, reasoning, problem-solving and ethically-grounded critical thinking skills; incorporate co-curricular activities that broaden an appreciation for the arts and for diverse cultures and 3

4 points of view, with Honors Scholars participating in a minimum of two activities per academic semester; promote communication and intellectual exchanges between and among Honors students and faculty by the support of a faculty advisor during academic year 14-15; develop students who are more engaged in and knowledgeable about the community, with each Honors Scholar completing and documenting a minimum of 12.5 hours of community service per semester; encourage and facilitate the transfer of our Honors graduates into the Honors programs at four-year colleges and universities, with a goal of at least 50% of the first cohort of Honors Scholars transferring into such institutions, and enhance the image of the College as an institution of higher education associated with quality scholarly pursuits and activities by intentionally promoting the Honors Scholars as student role model on our college website, social media and communications plan. Positive mentions of our students in the media will increase 10% in the academic year The Honors Program Student Learning Outcomes An Honors Scholar also fulfills the program student learning outcomes. The Richard Bland College Honors Program Student Learning Outcomes fall into four broad areas: Academic Excellence Honors Scholars will: maintain a minimum of 3.5 college GPA, and earn an A or B in all of their classes, as academic leaders among their peers. Civic Engagement and Leadership Honors Scholars will: contribute to the development and vitality of the community of scholars established by the Honors Program; demonstrate the ability to lead teams and to be effective team members, and enhance classroom learning with related experiences in which they apply their knowledge and skills in a way that serves others in the community. Career and Academic Awareness Honors Scholars will: demonstrate a respect for human diversity and a critical awareness of their own assumptions, stereotypes, and biases when confronting difference, and identify and assess the personal, social, scientific, and/or historical influences that contribute to their perspectives on the above issues. 4

5 Personal Reflection Honors Scholars will: reflect on personal values and their influence on choices, and communicate issues that are important to them. Introduction Prospective Honors Program Members If you meet the membership criteria we hope that you will join the Honors Program. The information contained in this handbook will give you a good idea about the various components of the program, and some of the advantages of being a member. However, they cannot give you a sense of the membership intangibles developing close new friendships, being more fully and positively engaged in your learning, broadening and deepening your learning experiences, and developing greater self-confidence in your abilities and talents. A world of exploration and development awaits those who become members. Current members of the Honors Program This handbook is intended to answer many of the questions that you may have about membership, and to help you take full advantage of the many benefits and opportunities of being a member. However, keep in mind that we are continually improving the Honors Program and the experiences we provide for our members. With this in mind, don t hesitate to offer your suggestions on how we can make the program better. Our goal is to create an exemplary Honors Program, one whose graduates are in demand by transfer universities and employers because they are known to be the students representing the very best that Richard Bland College has to offer. Active Membership in the Program Honors Program members are expected to actively participate in the program, including attending programsponsored activities, and performing some form of service while a member. The expected level of active participation is reflected in this handbook. Honors Scholars FAQs Who are Honors Scholars? Students participating in the Honors Program are designated Honors Scholars. Honors Scholars are highly motivated students who wish to go beyond the minimum requirements for graduation from Richard Bland College. They are enthusiastic students who are engaged both their academic and civic responsibilities. Honors Scholars demonstrate the following: excellence in a given academic area, as demonstrated by grades; intellectual curiosity, with a desire and discipline to learn more than the minimum; open-mindedness and a tolerance for diverse perspectives; engagement and participation both in and outside of the classroom; willingness and ability to work independently; initiative and responsibility, and dependability, attendance and punctuality. 5

6 Why Become an Honors Scholar? Just a few reasons to become an Honors Scholar include: individualized academic and career advisingt from an Honors faculty mentor focused on student success; enriching out-of-classroom activities; campus leadership roles and eligibility for membership in a national honor society: Phi Theta Kappa if you maintain a 3.5 GPA or higher; recognition as Honors Program Graduate at Commencement; enhanced preparation for entering baccalaureate and advanced programs; recognition of academic excellence when applying to baccalaureate and advanced programs; eligibility for scholarships at four-year institutions, and recognition of your outstanding achievement and leadership when seeking employment. Who is Eligible to Become an Honors Scholar? To qualify for admission to the Richard Bland College Honors Program, students must full-time and meet at least one of the following criteria: have a 3.5 high school GPA, and have a minimum of 3.5 college GPA with 6 credits completed. First-year students who meet the eligibility criteria will automatically be considered for the Honors Program at the time of admission and receive an invitation. Second-year students may be invited to participate if they have a cumulative RBC GPA of 3.5 and complete an application. To remain an Honors Scholar, students must maintain a minimum RBC GPA of 3.5 and complete a minimum of 30 college-level credit hours during the fall and spring semesters. Members must also maintain full-time enrollment. An Honors Program member is expected to exemplify the mature and appropriate conduct of an adult college student at all times. A Program member disciplined by the College for misconduct resulting in Probation or Suspension will be dismissed from the Program at the sole discretion of the Vice President for Enrollment Management, in consultation with the Honors Advisor, whose decision is final. A Program member disciplined by the College for misconduct resulting in Dismissal or Expulsion from the College is automatically dismissed from the Honors Program. What are the Financial Aid Benefits of Becoming an Honors Scholar? Honors Scholars are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships of up to a $1,000 per academic year as long as they remain in good standing in the program. What Can I Use as Evidence of Civic Engagement and/or Leadership? In addition to participating in Honors Program activities, members are also expected to perform some type of service during their tenure in the Program. Ideally, this will be a service-learning project which is integrated into one or more of the student s classes. But it may be in the form of community service performed for a nonprofit organization, or as part of an Honors Program service opportunity. Each Honors Scholar at Richard Bland College is expected to complete 12.5 hours of community service per semester enrolled at Richard Bland College. To assure proper credit, always check with your campus Honors Advisor before initiating any service 6

7 project for which you wish to engage in on behalf of the program. Examples of documentation of civic engagement and/or leadership: letter from faculty or administrator; documentation from a supervisor of your volunteer hours; brochure or newspaper article mentioning your name, and documentation of leadership role in a club, organization or Honor Society. Honors Program Requirements Requirements for Graduation as an Honors Scholar: Academic Excellence Honors Scholars will earn A or B in all their classes, and Honors Scholars will earn a cumulative GPA of 3.5. Civic Engagement and Leadership Honors Scholars demonstrate civic engagement and/or leadership and are expected to interact, participate fully, and be campus role models, as demonstrated by: Honors Scholars will have led at least one campus or community event per academic year, and Honors Scholars will participate in a service-learning project totaling a minimum of 12.5 hours per semester while enrolled as an Honors Scholar. Career and Academic Awareness Honors Scholars will have participated in at least two supplemental events per semester that advance their academic and career goals. These activities can include (but are not limited to) shadowing on specific careers of interest, participation in Honors Programs offered by the College. If participation takes place outside of the campus, approval from the Honor Advisor is required. Personal Reflection In addition to the two hour Orientation session (or meeting with an Honors Advisor) students will be expected to attend two Honors events per semester and write short Reflective Essays on each event. These events include, but are not limited to campus wide presentations or activities planned by the Honors Program. These events could be the same as the ones offered by the College for the Career and Academic Awareness. The Honors Program Advisor is available to meet with students individually to help them apply for the program, chart their coursework, and find ways to take advantage of the many opportunities available through the Honors Program. (Please see page 9 for contact information.) 7

8 Honors Program Reinstatement Policies A student whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.5, but is at least 3.2 will receive a letter indicating the risk of being dropped from the Program. Students within this GPA range may remain in the Honors Program as long as each subsequent semester s GPA is at least 3.5, until the cumulative GPA is raised to 3.4, at which time the student returns to good standing. A student on warning whose semester GPA is less than 3.5 will be dropped from the Honors Program and must have a 3.4 cumulative GPA before being eligible to petition for readmission. Students may only be on warning one semester. A student whose cumulative GPA falls below a 3.2 will be dropped from the Honors Program without a warning period. These students may petition for readmission to the Honors Program when their cumulative GPA is at least 3.4. Students who do not complete an Honors course for two consecutive semesters (not including summer semester) will be placed on warning for non-participation, unless approved by the Honors Advisor. (Beginning Fall 2014) Students will be placed on warning if they do not complete Honors activities in a given semester as specified in the program requirements (Civic Engagement & Leadership, Career & Academic Awareness, and Personal Reflection). If a student warned for non-participation fails to complete the necessary number of Honors activities he/she will be removed from the Honors Program. Non-Academic Considerations If a student s academic performance is adversely impacted by non-academic problems (illness, accident, etc.), the student should contact the Dean of Faculty and Academic Effectiveness regarding options for arranging incompletes or withdrawals from courses. Non-academic problems will be given consideration for extension of the Honors warning period. The Dean of Faculty and Academic Effectiveness will notify the Honors Advisor of any Honors Student that withdraws from courses due to non-academic considerations. Reinstatement Any student who has been removed from the Honors Program may submit a formal petition for readmission after the requirements for readmission have been met. The petition, directed to the Honors Program Advisor, should include an explanation of circumstances and a list of Honors courses the student will take before graduation in order to graduate with Honors. Honors Student Orientation Students who commence their Honors Program studies in Fall 2013 are expected to participate in the Honors Student Orientation. The purpose of the Orientation is to familiarize students with the expectations of the Honors Program. Students who are unable to attend the Orientation sessions should meet individually with the Honors Program Advisor to receive the pertinent information from the Orientation. The Orientation will be mandatory for all students who begin their Honors Program studies after Fall A spring Orientation will be required for all honors students continuing their studies at Richard Bland College for the spring semester. 8

9 Special Features of the Richard Bland College Honors Program Honors experiences and individualized studies are designed to foster intellectual inquiry and growth by providing a dynamic environment that inspires rewarding intellectual pursuits. The program also facilitates student access to the College's educational resources and provides an opportunity for outstanding students and faculty to engage in exciting learning experiences. A select cohort of second-year students will be offered the opportunity of co-enrollment with William & Mary College, up to a total of 15 students, and including transportation on Tuesdays and Thursdays to and from Williamsburg, provided by Richard Bland College. Study Abroad opportunities will be made available to Richard Bland College Honors Scholars through various strategic partnerships. Scholarships will be available to help defray the cost of domestic or study abroad opportunities. Advisor The Honors Program Advisor is available to meet with students individually to help them apply for the Honors Program, chart their coursework, and find ways to take advantage of all the opportunities available through the Honors Program. Contact Information Honors Program Advisor: Dr. Carolina Yaber, (Biology) Honors Program Faculty: Dr. Elizabeth Rescher, (English) Honors Program Faculty: Dr. Christine Anderson, (History) Honors Program Faculty: Dr. Amy Beumer, (Biology) Honors Program Administrative Assistant: Ms. Karen Peffer, Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the Faculty, Website: 9

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