University Honors College. Strategic Planning Report for FY 2012

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1 University Honors College Strategic Planning Report for FY 2012 Mission Statement The Honors College is dedicated to providing an enriched learning experience for intellectually capable and curious undergraduate students, and thereby serves as a catalyst for innovative growth and change at the University. Priority 1: Increase Enrollment and Promote Student Success Because of the special nature of the University Honors College, we are using our own numbers in cases where Institutional Research does not supply numbers that represent the college s strategies in meeting the priority. The University Honors College continues to recruit top scholars, raising the average SAT score of entering firstyear students for the entire university. Average SAT score of entering first-year students in fall 2012: 1313 We will grow and diversify our student population in order to improve higher education participation and supply a well-equipped, educated workforce for the state of Texas. Honors College increased enrollments in 2012: Total number enrolled: 1050 Diversity: 865 students identified as White; 110 students identified as Hispanic; 64 students identified as Asian; 26 identified as Non-Resident Alien; 21 identified as Multiracial; 11 identified as Black; 2 identified as African American Multiracial; 2 identified as American Indian/Alaskan Native; and 2 identified as Unknown. The ratio of female to male students is 610 to 499. Distribution of Honors College students by discipline-specific college: Agriculture & Natural Resources: 47 Architecture: 14 Arts & Sciences: 448 Rawls College of Business: 126 Education: 12 Whitacre College of Engineering: 250 Graduate School: 14 Honors: 58 Human Sciences: 39 Media & Communications: 33 Visual & Performing Arts: 36 Undecided: 58 Priority #1 Key Strategies 1. Continue to deliver an effective First-Year Experience Program. The mandatory First-Year Experience (FYE) Program has been a key strategy in recruiting top scholars to the Honors College and in fostering an academically strong first semester at the university. 373 students enrolled in fall 2012 FYE; 19 FYE courses offered in fall of 2012; 40 Learning Community Group (LCG) student mentors employed in fall 2012.

2 In spring 2012, 23 students dropped out of the Honors College; 54 students were placed on academic probation for grade point averages below The voluntary Passport Program of the spring semester has been a key strategy for retention; 33 students started the program, and 10 fully completed the program. 2. Continue to recruit students to the degree programs housed in the Honors College and to retain those students through graduation. The Honors College continues to administer two degree programs: Honors Arts and Letters (HAL), Environment and the Humanities (EVHM). Number of students enrolled in the HAL degree program: 33 Number of students graduating with HAL degrees: 4 Number of students enrolled in the EVHM degree program: 20 Number of students graduating with EVHM degrees: 2 Because the EVHM degree program is about to enter its second year of extended probation for lowproducing degree programs, as defined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, faculty have determined to phase out that degree program by 2016 and to feature the EVHM curriculum as a minor. 3. Early Acceptance Programs in the Honors College attract top scholars to Texas Tech University. Three Honors students were accepted into the TTUHSC School of Medicine. Six students accepted into the UMSI Program were also admitted to Honors in fall Our first student was admitted to the 3+3 Honors College TTU School of Law Program in fall Terry Scholars Program brings students to the Honors College and to Texas Tech University. Number of Terry Scholars admitted to TTU: 37 total Number of Terry Scholars admitted to the Honors College: 12 Priority #1 Key Challenges 1. Retaining quality in the mandatory First-Year Experience with a higher number of students admitted to the program, including the securing of faculty and peer mentors for classes and Learning Community Groups. 2. Finding appropriate and dedicated teaching space on campus for increased numbers of FYE classes and LCG weekly meetings. 3. Re-evaluating the effectiveness of the Passport Program for first-year students during the spring semester as a strategy of retention. 4. Maintaining adequate staff support to coordinate Early Acceptance and Terry Scholars Programs. 2

3 Priority 2: Strengthen Academic Quality and Reputation The Honors College enjoys a strong national reputation, especially its First-Year Experience Program. The First-Year Experience Program was featured at a meeting of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board s Symposium on Effective Learning in April 2012 and at the meeting of the National Collegiate Honors Council in November We will attract and retain the best faculty in the country in order to enhance our teaching excellence, scholarly productivity, and grow our number of nationally recognized programs. The Honors College strengthens the academic quality and reputation of the college and Texas Tech University undergraduate education through its co-curricular activities. The college sponsors the following curricular enrichment opportunities for its students: 46 Undergraduate Research Fellows, 13 Honors Thesis Students, 32 Honors Credit Contracting Students, 15 average attendance at Honors Book Club meetings, 40 First-Year Experience Mentors (including Lead Mentor), 6 Officers for Student Activities Board, 26 Honors College Ambassadors, 5 Officers for Eta Omicron Nu, 40 average attendance at Honors Friday Lunch Discussions, 10 Passport Program Students, 2 Passport Program Coordinators. Priority #2 Key Strategies 1. Vet class proposals and tenure-line faculty teaching effectiveness for Honors courses and Honors sections of discipline-specific courses. 2. Conduct Responsible Conduct in Research workshop for Undergraduate Research Fellows each fall. 3. Conduct Thesis workshops for students enrolled in HONS 3300 each fall. 4. Recruit students to pursue the Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program and the Honors Thesis Program so that they might work closely with faculty engaged in research projects and enhance their own chances for conference presentations or publications. 5. Incentivize faculty to participate in teaching workshops delivered in house or by the Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center. 6. Hire a staff member exclusive devoted to helping Honors students apply for prestigious national and international scholarships. 7. Find space to house additional staff and faculty as numbers of students in the Honors College increase. 8. Embed field trips and experiential learning in Honors capstone courses. 3

4 Priority #2 Challenges 1. Limited resources to buy out teaching time for tenure-line faculty to teach Honors courses or Honors sections of discipline-specific courses. 2. Limited incentives for tenure-line faculty to mentor an Undergraduate Research Fellow or to direct an Honors Thesis. 3. Finding dedicated teaching space on campus equipped and designed for the interactive learning activities of Honors education. 4. Finding dedicated space for co-curricular activities, such as Book Club, Friday Lunch Discussions, and Student Activities Board, important in strengthening the academic quality of Honors undergraduate education. 5. Generating a community of teachers who want to discuss and improve teaching Honors undergraduates. 6. Hire a staff member exclusively devoted to national and international scholarships. 7. Funding for exceptional opportunities, such as field trips and experiential learning. Priority #3: Expand and Enhance Research and Creative Scholarship Although the Honors College s primary mission in the delivery of enriched curricular and co-curricular experiences for undergraduates, we know that this teaching dimension is supported by research and scholarship, and so all faculty engaged in Honors teaching are expected to be simultaneously engaged in research and scholarly activities, including the scholarship of teaching. We will significantly increase the amount of funded and non-funded research and creative scholarship to advance knowledge, improve the quality of life in our state and nation, and enhance the state s economy and global competitiveness. The Honors Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program and the Honors Thesis Program both foster opportunities for upper-division Honors students to become involved in research, scholarship, and creative activity. The Honors College supports students financially who are presenting their research projects at national, regional, and local conference. 46 Undergraduate Research Fellows, 13 Thesis Students. Priority #3 Strategies 1. Incentivize Honors faculty to apply for internal and external funding for research and scholarship. 2. Provide Honors faculty with appropriate teaching reductions so as to facilitate their work on research and scholarship. 3. Integrate research/scholarship with teaching activities, including Undergraduate Research Fellowships and Honors Thesis. 4

5 4. Promote and recognize faculty and student achievements in research and scholarship. 5. Initiate an Honors College student journal of research, scholarship, and creative activity. Priority #3 Challenges 1. Covering teaching and co-curricular responsibilities when Honors faculty are released for research and scholarship. 2. Helping the larger university community understand how to value the nontraditional, interdisciplinary, and experiential research and scholarship in which Honors faculty are often engaged. 3. Recruiting students and faculty to the Undergraduate Research Fellowship and Honors Thesis Program, especially those in the humanities and the arts. Recruiting students and faculty to participate in research conferences both on and off campus. 4. Foster opportunities for faculty and students to read across disciplines and to value the contributions made by diverse disciplines, methods, and critical approaches. 5. Securing funding for undergraduate research activities, both for students and for faculty engaged in these projects. Priority #4: Further Outreach and Engagement The Honors College encourages students to become involved in community service, in service learning, in study abroad and in internships; it provides the mechanisms and some resources to facilitate these learning activities. The college partners with a number of community agencies and campus units in various curricular and co-curricular activities. We will expand our community outreach, promote higher education and continue to engage in partnerships to improve our communities and to enrich their quality of life. Honors College Ambassadors participate in 9 recruitment events both on and off campus. Honors Book Club Members partnered with the Presidential and Performance Series Program and the President s Reading Program to create an online discussion guide for the entire campus. This guide integrated interviews with community members who lived during the Dust Storm. Friday Lunch Discussions have included members of the Lubbock community and nationally recognized writer Barry Lopez. 8 Passport Students following the Community Service Track worked with community agencies such as Ronald McDonald House and Lubbock Soup Kitchen. Number of Study Abroad Student Scholarships: 68 for a total of $154,200. Honors Arts and Letters Scholarships total: $22,000. Environment and Humanities Scholarships total: $26,000. Honors Ambassadors Awards total: $12,000. Honors College Current Student Scholarships total: $25,000. 5

6 Priority #4 Strategies 1. Incentivize faculty to create additional Honors Service Learning courses. 2. Re-Evaluate the Passport Program so as to involve more students. 3. Promote Study Abroad opportunities and facilitate Honors College-sponsored Study Abroad trips. 4. Promote internships, including the Congressional internships at state and national levels. 5. Promote international faculty exchanges for teaching purposes. Priority #4 Challenges 1. Funding Service Learning courses, co-curricular activities that include community service, Study Abroad opportunities, and faculty exchange programs. 2. Securing internships for Honors students in fields in which there have traditionally been no internship history or culture. 3. Assigning staff time to the re-evaluation and re-organization of the Passport Program. Priority #5: Increase and Maximize Resources For the Honors College to continue to grow and to respond to the increasing numbers and needs of a diverse student population, it needs its own building, designed and equipped specifically for the integrated living and learning spaces we find in other nationally prominent Honors college. It would benefit from an endowment, a source of permanent funding for the curricular and co-curricular enrichment it promises students. Finally, it order to compete regionally and nationally for top scholars, the Honors College must have sufficient monies for scholarships. We will increase funding for scholarship, professorships, and world-class facilities and maximize those investments through more efficient operations in order to ensure affordability for students and accountability to the State of Texas. Honors students who achieve extraordinary merit in coursework and in co-curricular activities are acknowledged and rewarded. 8 Banner Bearers. 4 Banquet Award Recognitions. 5 Passport Monetary Awards. Amount of Book Club Stipends: $ Study Abroad Scholarships: $154, Undergraduate Research Conference Presenter Recognitions. Passport Awards: $1,500. 6

7 Work done toward engagement of Alumni: Worked with TTU Athletic Office to secure discount tickets to the first home football game. Contacted Alumni through printed and electronic newsletters, as well as postcards. Alumni were invited to participate in recruitment events in Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. Alumni were invited to graduation banquets. Honors College monthly newsletter had 608 Alumni subscribers. Faculty who direct an Honors Thesis to completion are extended a small stipend. Key Strategies for Priority #5 1. Hire a permanent dean who will work with the University Development Office in locating and securing significant funding for the Honors College and who will advocate vigorously for an Honors College residential/teaching/administration complex. 2. Elevate teaching in the Honors College, mentoring Honors Undergraduate Research Fellows, and directing an Honors Thesis to a level that makes it valued and compensated. 3. Promote the value of an Honors College to the campus community and to the state, including legislators, so that they understand the importance of investing in Honors education. Key Challenges for Priority #5 1. Hiring a permanent dean who understands the unique challenges, demands, and needs of Honors education. 2. Achieving buy-in from campus and community members whose priorities embrace graduate education and research production. 3. Providing substantial competitive scholarships to recruit Honors College students and to ensure continued support for currently enrolled Honors College Students. 7

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