Skip to content

SEN-15-18 A Bill Supporting the Creation of an Honors College at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

BILL#: SEN-15-18

 

TITLE: A Bill Supporting the Creation of an Honors College at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

 

SPONSORS:

Senator Jason Pan, College of Engineering (jpan8@vols.utk.edu)

Senator Malay Shah, College of Engineering (mshah11@vols.utk.edu)

Senator Austin Smith, College of Nursing (asmit315@vols.utk.edu)

 

DATE: 6 November 2018

 

SECTION 1. Terms Defined: Let the terminology used throughout this legislation be defined as they are in this section:

  1. Honors Program: a division of an academic institution, secondary to its collegiate divisions, which provides a more intimate experience within the context of a large research university by integrating academic achievement and student life within a culture of intellectual and civic engagement
  2. Honors College: a division of an academic institution, equal to its collegiate divisions, which provides a more intimate experience within the context of a large research university by integrating academic achievement and student life within a culture of intellectual and civic engagement
  3. A fully developed Honors College should [1]:
    1. Incorporate the relevant characteristics of a fully developed honors program.
    2. Exist as an equal collegiate unit within a multi-collegiate university structure.
    3. Be headed by a dean, reporting directly to the chief academic officer of the institution and serving as a full member of the Council of Deans, if one exists.
    4. Have operational and staff budgets which provide resources at least comparable to other collegiate units of equivalent size.
    5. Exercise increased coordination and control of departmental honors where the college has emerged out of such a decentralized system.
    6. Exercise considerable control over honors recruitment and admissions including the appropriate size of the incoming class.
    7. Exercise considerable control over its policies, curriculum, and selection of faculty.
    8. Have curriculum that offers significant course opportunities across all four years of study.
    9. Have curriculum opportunities that are relevant to all the undergraduate majors and degrees of the institution.
    10. Have curriculum that constitutes at least 20% of a student’s degree program; an honors thesis or project should be required.
    11. Offer substantial honors residential opportunities.
    12. Be announced at commencement, noted on the diploma, and featured on the student’s final transcript.
    13. Be involved in alumni affairs and development and should have an external advisory board.
    14. Entail a significant enhancement of core physical facilities.
    15. Offer an opportunity for an interdisciplinary degree program to supplement standard departmental majors.
  4. The Honors and Scholars Program at the University of Tennessee (HSP) is the aggregation of the Haslam Scholars, Chancellor’s Honors, 1794 Scholars, and Honors Leadership Programs
    1. The HSP is currently an “Honors Program,” not an “Honors College.”

 

PURPOSE: PURSUANT TO THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE’S MISSION TO BE A PREMIER PUBLIC UNIVERSITY AMONG OUR PEER-INSTITUTIONS ACROSS THE NATION AND ACROSS THE GLOBE, THE 2018-2019 ENACTS THE FOLLOWING:

 

SECTION 1. WHEREAS, REGARDING HONORS STUDENTS, THE TRANSITION OF THE HSP TO AN HONORS COLLEGE WILL YIELD THE FOLLOWING BENEFITS[1]:

 

  1. GPA is the least significant attribute of the honors distinction awarded; students earn their distinction by challenging themselves in more demanding honors courses and seminars as well as by other distinctive requirements.
  2. All Honors College graduates earn the same degree, a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences which gives faculty and students great flexibility to include interdisciplinary courses and courses that a degree in a given discipline could not accommodate.
  3. Unlike Honors Colleges, Honors Programs are restricted; they are supposed to serve a limited number of academically talented undergraduates.
  4. Collegiate Status provides a clearly articulated focus for fundraising efforts.

 

SECTION 2. WHEREAS, REGARDING THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, KNOXVILLE AS AN INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION, THE TRANSITION OF THE HSP TO AN HONORS COLLEGE WILL YIELD THE FOLLOWING BENEFITS[1]:

  1. Honors College status will yield gains in curriculum, scholarship funds, facilities, residence halls, enrollment, and staff.
  2. The pedagogy, advising system, living-learning community of an Honors College can serve as models for many of the values represented in the university’s strategic plan, such as academic excellence, engaged learning, undergraduate research, experiential learning, and service to the community.
  3. An Honors College can adopt reforms that the HSP believes would make their institution more effective.

 

SECTION 3. WHEREAS, THE CREATION OF AN HONORS COLLEGE REQUIRES INTERDISCIPLINARY INPUT, SUPPORT, AND PROMOTION FROM THE STUDENT BODY AS EVIDENCED BY THE FOLLOWING [1]:

  1. The desire for increased visibility for honors, internally and externally, drives a transformation from Honors Program to Honors College
  2. To call oneself an Honors College without accompanying substantive change has a deleterious impact on the national honors movement.
  3. The transition from Honors Program to Honors College requires an increase in resources and enhanced physical identity reflecting the notion that it replicates a small liberal arts college within a wider university setting.

 

SECTION 4. WHEREAS, THE CREATION OF AN HONORS COLLEGE REQUIRES INTERDISCIPLINARY INPUT, SUPPORT, AND PROMOTION FROM THE INSTITUTION AS EVIDENCED BY THE FOLLOWING [1]:

  1. The moment one allows institutional officers to regard [honors] as an add on, it recedes to the status of the volunteer work of the interested and willing and something done on the cheap…
  2. If one embeds honors education in the methodologies and habits of mind of the disciplines, the latter have every reason and responsibility to offer it from their existing resources.
  3. An honors college can, be no stronger than the university it serves and that serves it

 

SECTION 5. WHEREAS, A LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE ELEVATION OF THE HSP TO COLLEGIATE STATUS FROM THE HONORS AND SCHOLARS REPRESENTATIVE BOARD WAS SUBMITTED TO THE BILL’S SPONSORS [3]

  1. The Honors and Scholars Representative Board is a body composed of members from the following divisions of the HSP:
    • Chancellor’s Honors Program
    • 1794 Scholars Program
    • Honors Leadership Program
    • Haslam Scholars Program

 

BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED THAT THE STUDENT GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, KNOXVILLE:

  1. Declares that the elevation of the Honors and Scholars Program to Collegiate Status is in the best interest of all students— past, present and future.
  2. Requests that the Division of Student Life relay the following statement to the current and future Provosts, Chancellors, and UT System Presidents:
    1. The Student Body of the University of Tennessee Knoxville finds it in the best interest of students and our university community to elevate the Honors and Scholars Program to Collegiate Status.
  3. Requests that the following departments be consulted to organize, finance, and maintain a collegiate-level Honors College:
    1. The Honors and Scholars Program
    2. The Office of the Chancellor
    3. The Office of the Provost
    4. The Division of Student Life
    5. The Office of University Advancement
      1. Annual Giving Programs
      2. Alumni Affairs
      3. Alumni Programs and Outreach
      4. Center for Student Alumni Programs
    6. The Division of Finance and Administration
    7. The UT Foundation
      1. Join the Journey
  4. Requests that the Join the Journey Campaign move the “Honors Programs Enrichment Funds” to the “Pick Your Passion” list on the “College and Units” Donation Page [2].

 

REFERENCES:

  1. https://honors.columbusstate.edu/honorscollege/honors%20college%20phenomenon.pdf
  2. http://journey.utk.edu/s/1341/alumni/17campaign/interior.aspx?sid=1341&gid=2&pgid=10071
  3. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1n3VFuF1YYxy6vWI5R_rTq_hp2Oq771QWuUHyJwhjV48/edit