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UW Trustees Approve Honors College

May 15, 2017

The University of Wyoming’s Honors Program will become an Honors College with its own dean, following action by the UW Board of Trustees.

The board voted unanimously Friday to establish the Honors College, which is expected to help UW recruit more high-achieving high school graduates and enrich its undergraduate experience.

“Our current Honors Program offers a distinct set of opportunities for high-achieving, academically ambitious undergraduates, and the new Honors College will take those opportunities to an even higher level,” Provost Kate Miller says. “We are excited to have the board’s approval to move forward with our plans to grow and enhance our honors offerings.”

The first phase of the multiphase plan will include the hiring of an Honors College dean. Interim Honors Program Director Susan Aronstein is returning to her faculty position in the Department of English, and an internal search is underway for her successor. With the board’s action, that search now becomes a dean search.

The search committee is chaired by Steve Barrett, associate dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, with broad campus representation from students, faculty and staff. The committee aims to have candidates on campus for public presentations and interviews during the weeks of June 12 and June 19, then provide a summary of the candidates’ strengths and interviews to Miller by June 26.

A hiring recommendation is expected to be made to the Board of Trustees for action this summer.

Among the first actions for the dean will be working with academic departments and colleges to develop upper-division honors courses and college-track curricula; develop faculty advisory committees; and begin private fundraising to support the college.

The Honors College will be located in the Guthrie House, former home of the UW Foundation, on the south end of the UW campus.

The Honors College will infuse and formalize high-impact practices for its students, including first-year experiences, writing-intensive courses, undergraduate research, service learning, internships and capstone projects. The experiences could be accumulated by students in an experiential learning portfolio or “passport,” signaling to prospective employers the especially rich experiences they had in earning their degrees.

Plans call for the Honors College to be fully in place by fall 2020, although several colleges and departments, including the College of Engineering and Applied Science, are moving forward with development of honors tracks that could be in place before then.

A little over 900 UW students are currently part of the Honors Program, which 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. Students graduate with an honors minor in a variety of fields.

Plans call for changing the honors minor to a concurrent major or part of a major in all fields of study; gradually expanding the Honors College faculty and staff to accommodate more students; and, in general, developing a curriculum that would better prepare students for professional or graduate school success.


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Chad Baldwin

Institutional Communications

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Phone: (307) 766-2929

Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

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