Friday, December 11, 2009

Tennessee State University to Phase Honors Program Into Honors College Fall 2011

One of Tennessee State University’s nationally acclaimed academic programs has been designated by University faculty to transition into a college, as early as fall 2011.

A steering committee of faculty suggested the University Honors Program become an honors college, as one of the 2008-2028 Academic Master Plan’s cross-cutting focus areas. The Academic Master Plan is the University’s blueprint for future academic programming at TSU through 2028. It includes an academic vision statement and goals, as well as the academic areas that will receive priority attention and targeted resources.

“The thrust for establishing an honors college at TSU is focused on the recruitment, retention and development of outstanding undergraduate students. Having an honors college will help provide a nurturing, enriched academic experience in the culturally diverse environment at TSU that will foster active, innovative learning,” said Dr. Pamela Burch-Sims, chairwoman of the steering committee and director of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Quality and Assessment.

Burch-Sims further explained the AMP committee also envisioned the honors college as a positive means of promoting faculty-student interaction with an innovative curriculum that challenges the brightest students while advancing excellence throughout the University. An advanced curriculum will offer individualized academic program planning for talented students in the honors college who demonstrate an extraordinary ability to pursue independent scholarship, think globally and be creative.

Dr. Sandra Holt, director of the University Honors Program, said the transition to an honors college will help poise the University to become the major academic institution in the state of Tennessee, citing its ability to use as a recruitment tool as well as enhance academic quality, research-based critical thinking and the overall quality of University programs.

“The decision to have an honors college represents a huge milestone for the entire University. We have one of the oldest and strongest honors program in the country. For the AMP steering committee to recognize that it is time for TSU to have an honors college is exciting and I’m glad to be a part of it,” Holt said.

The University has come to rely on its honors program to provide national visibility of its commitment to academic excellence, educational quality and intellectual integrity. The honors program has continually served to emphasize ongoing campus efforts such as recruiting, leadership, innovations and community outreach. Designation of an honors college would enhance the honors program’s contributions and facilitate multi-disciplined academic and non-academic opportunities for the entire University. 

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