Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Below is the prepared version of the remarks I made tonight at the 2010 Honors College Banquet. Naturally, I departed from these slightly. Posts on today's student presentations and on the banquet itself will follow soon.
It’s time. It’s time for the Honors College class of 2010 to graduate. It’s time for all of us to take time to think about time. When you think about time, there are two ways to look at it and both of them are evident here tonight. The first and older way to think about time is as a cycle, a never-ending circle; one that can be entered at any point and where the same events will re-occur, perhaps forever. Tonight we intersect that cycle once again and mark an important event. Our honorees have previously cycled through this event three times; but tonight marks something new for them, they are exiting this cycle. Their exit testifies to the existence of the other, newer way of looking at time, seeing it as a line, the arrow of time. Like them, we all live within two versions of time.
Quite often, we notice the circularity of time. We mark birthdays, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. In the Academy, we note the first and last day of school. In the Honors College we matriculate in August, feast in April, and graduate in May, or December, or even August sometimes. More personally, as in my family, May is the month for dance recital and for Blossom Festival, June means the kids are home ALL DAY long, July brings fireworks, August is for back to school, October brings Halloween, November ends with all the trimmings, and Christmas is a special time. After the New Year, those annually recurring events seem harder to come by. In Arkansas, Spring is not marked by the first robin. No in Arkansas, we know Spring is coming when the robins leave! We also know Spring has arrived when every last thing is covered in fine yellow-green powder. After the pollen has all been washed away and after the last cold snap is long gone, guess what? We have turned yet another cycle.
The cycle is eternal but we are not. It turns out we are just passing through the cycle. Our children tell us that. How did that babe grow taller than I? The sparseness of our hair tells us too. We look at old pictures and wonder, was my hair really that full? Our bodies betray the passage of time as well. Can that scale truly be accurate? All of us are visitors to the eternal cycles of time. We course through them all to quickly, it seems.
I know that our honorees are wondering how did four years pass so quickly? Our younger students, on the other hand, are probably thinking that their turn to be honored is oh so far away. Some of us may be wondering just how much more time we have left.
By now you may be feeling just a little depressed. Maybe you don’t want to think about time any more. Cheer up. There’s a way out. We create our versions of time too, both cyclical and linear. One hundred and one years ago an arrow of time began here nearly on this very spot, our school was founded. Since then, a cycle of time has persisted hosting both ourselves and thousands of others. Very soon we will dress up in silly clothes and hats, march, listen, and cheer. One hundred and one years from now people yet unborn will be doing the same. (But I can’t tell you if they’ll be marching by colleges or by seniority.)
In 2003, Dr. Lynne Belcher and Dr. David Rankin created another, new linear and circular version of time, the SAU Honors College. Tonight, we celebrate those who most recently have passed through our short cycle of time. Look at their pictures. Already you can see how they have changed a little on the outside. What you cannot see is how much they have changed on the inside. Only they can tell you that.
So, our Honors College is a line and a circle of time. Students, faculty, and staff travel through it. Our Honors College will last through time. As you soon to graduate leave us, remember the courage and initiative of those who took the time to set up small circles of time. Were it not for the founders of the Third District Agricultural School, none of us would be in this room. Most likely there would be cows here instead. If not for the foresight and hard work of Dr. Belcher and Dr. Rankin, we might be at SAU, but we would not be eating together tonight and celebrating the success of our honors graduates. So, as you leave us be on the lookout for opportunities to create your own small circles of time. Look to create those eternal places where others can spend a part of their time. Now, I fear, I’m out of time.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Honors College Committee Report
April 16, 2010
The Honors College Committee met three times in 2009-10. The major items of business included:
· Naming an Honors College Council
· Conducting three honors faculty teaching panels
· Purchasing incubator and netbook for teaching honors science classes
· Modifying and formalizing 2-year honors general education curriculum
· Providing early signing bonus for incoming freshman honors students thanks to an anonymous donation
· Arranging for eligible honors students to live together in the University Village
· Sponsoring student research presentations at Southern Regional Honors Council held in Greenville, SC.
· Supporting faculty research in honors-related areas.
· Raising extramural funding to support the Honors College
Items still left to resolve are:
· Modifying Honors Seminar class to strengthen writing skills and to promote civility
· Updating Honors College Procedures Manuals
· Annual Banquet is April 21, 2010 at 6 p.m. in Reynolds Grand Ballroom
· Student research presentations are April 21, 2010 in Reynolds 210.
· Honors College is graduating 10 students in May, 2010.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Recruitment: Thus far, 25 students have applied for admission and 13 have been accepted. We have not yet received complete application packets from the remaining applicants. We hope to admit 40 freshmen.
Early Signing Bonus: Students admitted who agree to enroll in the Honors College by Monday, May 17, 2010 will receive an additional $100 added to their first year stipend. That money will come from an anonymous donor and will not be paid until after students register.
Two-year schedule: The Honors College and LPA working with Dr. Crouse have agreed to multiyear cycle of honors general education classes. As part of the arrangement, Composition I and II will no longer be offered for honors credit. The cycle will begin in the Spring 2011 semester. This schedule will allow students and faculty to plan ahead more easily (and make my life much more easy). Honors students must enroll in at least 9 hours but not more than 18 hours of honors general education classes. In addition, honors freshmen will not be allowed to enroll in any honors courses until after they have completed the honors seminar course. Here is a graphic:
Nine seniors to graduate as Honors College scholars: The Honors College will graduate the following students as Honors College Scholars in May: Nana Bawa, Roshan KC, Michaela Krcova, Mary McMillan, Kourtney Walls, Nicole Hall, Sidney Kilgore, Lauren McCarn, and Apil Tamang.
Faculty Panel Discussions Held: Six honors faculty participated in panel discussions about how they teach honors classes. On February 26, 2010 Dr. Shawn Krosnick, Dr. Lynne Belcher, and Dr. Chrisanne Christensen spoke. See: http://sauhc.blogspot.com/2010/03/teaching-honors-panel-discussion.htmlfor more information on that session. On March 31, Mr. Dan May, Dr. Jamie Brandon, and Dr. Svetlana Paulson spoke. See: http://sauhc.blogspot.com/2010/03/another-honors-faculty-panel-discussion.html for more information on that session. The next such panel will be held early in the Fall 2010 semester.
Honors Students to live in Village Apartments: As many as 16 honors students may opt to live in the SAU Village Apartments in 2010-11. They will be assigned a specific landing so that they may live near each other.
Faculty Research Grant: Dr. Edward P. Kardas and Ms. Deborah Wilson were awarded an SAU Faculty Research grant in the amount of $4,480 for a research project entitled: Optimizing admission decisions in Honors College by adding the Noncognitive Questionnaire (NCQ) to traditional academic measures. That research seeks to find and add non-numerical variables (e.g., positive self-concept, prefers long term goals, community service, and others) to the honors admission process. The goal is to reduce the number of suspensions and dismissals from the Honors College.
Research Poster Presentation: Dr. Edward P. Kardas and Dr. Chrisanne Christensen will present a poster to the Southwestern Psychological Association at its meeting in Dallas on April 8, 2010. The title of the poster is: So you want to teach honors general psychology? It was their research that led to the new policy making first year honors students take honors seminar before enrolling in other honors courses.
Student Research Presentations: The four students who recently attended the Southern Regional Honors Council meeting in Greenville, SC will present their papers on campus in the Reynolds Campus and Community Center at noon on April 21, 2010. The titles are:
Sydney Kilgore - 1000 Years of Suffering: The Ancient Tradition of Chinese Foot-Binding
Mary McMillan- Acts of Resistance in Frederick Douglass’ Narrative
Nitish Narula - Construction of Histatin-resistant Strains of Candida albicans
Nitish Narula - The CRABS CLAW (CRC) gene tree: a phylogenetic analysis of the Eudicots
Joshua Manuel - Whatever Happened To The [Wo]Man Of Tomorrow? Race and Gender Bias in Graphic Novels
Annual Banquet: April 21, 6 p.m. with sponsored tables @ $100 each and eBay auction. Thus far, 12 people have sponsored tables! The students who attended the Southern Regional Honors Council meeting will show a 5-minute long film highlighting their trip. The Honors College Association will present humorous awards. The highlight of the evening will be the presentation of honors medallions and certificates. Dr. Lynne Belcher will do the honors assisted by David Wingfield.
Annual Matriculation: Sunday, August 29, 2 p.m. Mark your calendars now.