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Committee to Review UW Honors Program

April 6, 2015

A university-level committee has been appointed to review the University of Wyoming’s Honors Program, with a charge to develop recommendations to maintain a vibrant, sustainable program for the long term.

Chaired by Maggi Murdock, former associate provost and dean of the Outreach School, the committee is expected to seek input about the Honors Program from the UW community and stakeholders across the state -- as well as gain insight from other institutions’ honors programs.

“The Honors Program has a long and storied history at UW, and commitment to the program from students, faculty, staff and the administration remains strong,” says Vice President for Academic Affairs David Jones, who appointed the 12-member committee. “We want to make sure that plans and resources are in place to assure continued excellence long into the future.”

The Honors Program, which enrolled 910 students in the 2013-14 academic year, provides coursework, advising and scholarships for high-achieving students who commit to take certain courses, maintain a grade-point average of at least 3.25 and complete a senior capstone project.

Appointment of the review committee was prompted by an external review of the Honors Program in fall 2014 by representatives of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), of which UW’s program is a member. While finding the UW Honors Program to be functional and effective, with high-caliber faculty and students, the NCHC representatives expressed concern about a lack of resources to sustain the program in the future.

Part of Jones’ charge to the committee is to develop “a long-term plan for the costs and resources related to the Honors Program and its related activities.” In addition, the panel has been asked to recommend models for the Honors Program “that are appropriate for the university and its mission, attractive to future students and faculty members, and sustainable.” Those models are expected to include admissions standards, program size, curricula, instructional resources and administrative/advising resources.

No timeline for completion of the committee’s work has been established. Among those the committee was directed to consult are Honors Program students and faculty, deans, directors, alumni, the UW Foundation, the Faculty Senate, the Admissions Office and Wyoming community colleges.

“It is essential the UW community -- on the Laramie campus and statewide -- have an opportunity to participate in these discussions and commit themselves to the long-term excellence of the Honors Program,” Jones wrote to the committee.

In addition to Murdock, currently professor in the Department of Political Science, committee members are: College of Arts and Sciences Dean Paula Lutz; College of Health Sciences Dean Joe Steiner; Outreach School Dean Susan Frye, a member of the Honors Program faculty; Donna Brown, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Indy Burke, director of the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources; Steve Bialostok, associate professor in the College of Education and Honors Program faculty member; Associate Librarian Jennifer Mayer; College of Law Assistant Professor Danielle Cover; Associate Professor Ruben Gamboa of the College of Engineering and Applied Science; John Mittelstaedt, professor and interim dean of the College of Business; and Stan DeVore, former president of the Wyoming Honors Organization.

To read Jones’ charge letter to the committee, click here. To read the external reviewers’ report, click here.

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