New WSU Honors College will challenge, nurture students
A newly formed Honors College at Wichita State University is helping high-achieving students aim even higher.
In 2013, Wichita State began the process of restructuring its current honors program – founded in 1957 – into an Honors College.
Some of the changes include more class options, a new university honors minor, and the chance to live in WSU’s new state-of-the-art residential building – Shocker Hall.
The restructure will include new, challenging academic offerings for highly motivated students.
One of those students is Rachel Tuck, a senior majoring in forensic science, criminal justice and biology, with minors in chemistry and psychology. She’s been involved in the honors program/college all four years at WSU.
“I would tell a potential honors student that getting involved is the sure way to enhance your college experience,” Tuck said. “Everyone I know who has not gotten involved during college has not enjoyed their time there, but all who do really love college. Honors is here for you to mold it into your life and to help you as much as possible.”
A new direction
One of the earliest honors programs in the country, WSU’s was originally named after Emory Lindquist, a Rhodes Scholar and the eighth president of the university. The students took honors-only seminars to fulfill some of their general education requirements; took department honors courses to fulfill general education, major or minor requirements; and received honors credit for internships or study abroad to reach a total of 24 honors credits.
The goal has always been to provide opportunities for academically exceptional and highly motivated students. Now honors students will enjoy even more benefits to supplement and enhance their studies and professional development.
While still able to take honors-only seminars and courses, students have more curriculum options, including new interdisciplinary tracks set to launch in fall 2014.
These tracks are designed for continuing students and transfer students and require coursework within honors, across disciplines and colleges. Interdisciplinary track students will have the chance to complete an internship or shadowing experience in their field.
Also available starting this fall will be the University Honors minor. Students who complete the Honors Scholars program and an interdisciplinary track receive the University Honors minor and the distinction “University Honors” on their diploma.
Some of the perks of being in the Honors College include small classes, priority enrollment, faculty mentoring, more research opportunities, and the prestige of graduating with honors.
“Since the change to an Honors College, I can see more noticeable benefits for honors students,” Tuck said. “In the past, WSU's honors program was a small tight-knit community. However, with this transition, we have grown in our numbers, which I believe helps us prosper academically. What better way to learn than by being able to communicate with other honors students?”