The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is transitioning its honors program to an Honors College.
The change that highlights an existing strength of the University becomes effective for the fall 2017 semester.
“This change to an Honors College signals that UW Oshkosh is a great choice for high-achieving students who want to experience the very best educational practices,” said Laurence Carlin, director of the UW Oshkosh Honors College. “We added many new honors classes and students in the Honors College can take classes in any of the four colleges (Business, Nursing, Letters and Science, Education and Human Services).
“Their honors experience will include high-impact educational practices: small, discussion-based classes; honors study abroad; independent research; community engagement classes; mentoring by our honors alumni; and many more,” Carlin said. “These are the high-impact educational opportunities that tend to attract high-achieving students and the ones that served our recent honors alumni so well.”
Carlin called the transition an “exciting time” and said the future of honors education at UW Oshkosh “looks very bright.” Campus administrative leaders say honors education at UW Oshkosh is retaining and graduating more students than ever.
The name change is the result of deliberations with faculty in the program, the director and campus administration. The creation of an Honors College also is a part of the new strategic plan recently launched at UW Oshkosh–one that emphasizes the enhancement of research opportunities at UW Oshkosh. To graduate from the Honors College, students are required to engage in high-impact, faculty-mentored research.
Provost Lane Earns sees the transition to an Honors College as the natural culmination of a campus-wide effort to increase support for what was only 15 years ago a relatively modest Letters and Science program that grew into the current University Honors Program.
“As we prepare ourselves for the opening of the new Honors College, not only will the number of students in honors courses increase, but so will the disciplinary range and diversity of the honors curriculum.”
The establishment of the Honors College, he continued, “will strengthen the high academic quality of UW Oshkosh, reinforced by the innovative and rigorous pedagogies that underscore our new University Studies Program and the assortment of new academic majors across the campus.”
A national consultant provided assistance in the transition from a program to the College, based on the National Collegiate Honors Council guidelines. The change has received approval from the University Honors Council, the governing group that has oversight of the University Honors Program, and is supported by the Provost, Chancellor, Honors Council and honors director.
The establishment of the Honors College is expected to positively impact the University when it comes to recruitment—as it will raise the profile of honors education on campus and signal to high-achieving students that UW Oshkosh is an option for those seeking high-impact teaching and research practices.
University Honors traditionally has required 21 honors credits to graduate from the program, but with the transition to the Honors College, the requirement is increasing to 24 credits. The move will ensure Honors College graduates have 20 percent of their degree requirements satisfied by the honors curriculum.