Honors to expand student learning

Kait Quinn addresses the crowd in a Winslow classroom during Honors student presentations.  (Photo by Tina Nalepa)
Kait Quinn addresses the crowd in a Winslow classroom during Honors student presentations. (Photo by Tina Nalepa)

By Tina Nalepa – Arts Editor

This fall, Lasell’s Honors Program continues to make changes to strengthen and expand the program. It has made adjustments to standards including new grade requirements, courses, and introducing an emphasis on service learning over the past four years. The program has welcomed a record number of students into the program with a total of 172 students, 16 being seniors and 67 being first-years, with more expected to join.

“We are looking for students who are driven and want to go the extra mile,” said Director Stephanie Athey. “Our Lasell program is different from many other Honors Programs because it engages students in a different kind of work and learning instead of simply ‘more’ work.”

Athey explained that four years ago, the program revised their standards for incoming students, now requiring a 3.5 GPA instead of a 3.0 to participate in the program and retain an academic scholarship. Also, students who would like to join the program can be nominated by professors or themselves. They must write a short essay of intent and maintain a 3.5 GPA.

A new class has been added to the Honors course listings that will be offered this spring and will be open to every undergraduate student whether they are in the program or not. The course is called Native American Life and Culture (HON 205) and is will partner with the North American Indian Council of Boston.

Courses like these are a way for students in the program to use service to think and ask new questions to solve problems. Professor Neil Hatem has already introduced service learning through trips to build homes in Martha’s Vineyard through a different class.

“It’s connected learning to the max,” said Hatem.

The Honors Program is also introducing the Independent Workshop. This course will allow students to work independently on a semester-long project instead of adding an honors component to another class. This semester, 12 students are taking advantage of the opportunity. Some of the students’ topics include cybersecurity and breaches on data held by colleges and universities, environmental fashion, and the prevalence of acquaintance rape on college campuses.

“I believe students in the class are very grateful for the structure the course provides,” said Athey.

The last change the program has added this year is The Honors Senior Component Showcase. Seniors must present one of their four individualized component projects to first-year honor students. The presentations are held over two days and the best four projects get to present at symposium.

“I think the Senior Component Showcase went fairly well, we had a great turn out,” said senior Honors student Brittany Korbel. “The transition between each presentation went smoothly and the topics that the senior honors students presented on were all uniquely different. Not only did the presentations reflect their own majors but the presentations also touched the subject of thinking globally.”

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