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A celebration is planned Wednesday to highlight the transition that the University of Wisconsin-Stout honors program, which challenges high-achieving students with additional academic pursuits, has made to an Honors College.
“This is a natural and important transition for our honors program,” said Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen. “The creation of an Honors College will bring additional attention to the bright and hard-working students we have at UW-Stout who seek the most challenging curriculum we can provide. The Honors College also fits well with our polytechnic designation.”
The grand opening celebration of the college will begin at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center, 302 10th Ave. E., with a program at 3:15 p.m. Speakers include Sorensen; Robert Horan, founding director of the honors program; and Keri Holter, associate principal at Holmen Middle School and a 1999 honors program graduate. A reception will follow the program, with music by UW-Stout Jazz Embers.
The honors program began in 1994. This fall 430 students are enrolled in the Honors College.
“UW-Stout is the second university in the UW System and the only comprehensive to have an Honors College,” said Lopa Basu, Honors College director. “This transition to an Honors College demonstrates the commitment of the institution to honors education.
“Honors curriculum aims to provide a deeper and more meaningful learning experience to students,” Basu said, “and helps distinguish them as risk-takers and leaders in their future careers in industry or graduate school.”
Basu said plans for the Honors College include expanding curriculum opportunities, including a capstone project, and more ways to engage with the community.
Students with high ACT scores, high school grade-point averages and class rank are invited to join. Once admitted students need to complete eight honors units, which can be a combination of honors courses, study abroad experiences or independent study projects. In addition all students must attend a colloquium or book discussion forum every semester.
For example, on Saturday Honors College freshmen were introduced to the city of Menomonie. They were divided into 12 groups to explore the greater Menomonie environment from Hoffman Hills to Wal-Mart. Students took photographs, spoke to area residents and wrote reflective essays recording their observations of the location. Their “City as Text” work can be seen here.
“This is an attempt to introduce students to experiential learning, which is very important to Honors and tied to the mission of UW-Stout: Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University,” said Amanda Little, assistant Honors College director.
A colloquium will be held Thursday, Sept. 20, when Honors College students will discuss Paul Krugman's book, “The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008.” They will discuss the reading in groups of eight, led by a faculty or staff moderator.
“We are the only institution within the National Collegiate Honors Council that has had a colloquium of this scale,” said Beverly Deyo-Svendsen, program associate.