CAMPUS OFFICES HELP BUILD HONORS INSTITUTE COMMUNITY

Long centralized at the Spring Creek Campus, The Honors Institute now has offices at each of Collin College’s three main campuses. The move has a number of benefits for honors students and offers a convenient resource for qualified students who think they might like to give honors a try.

Collin College Honors Institute LogoSpring Creek Campus Honors Director J.D. Isip said that it makes sense for each campus to have its own Honors Institute office, since each campus serves a unique student body.

“Having an Honors Institute and director at each campus allows us to meet the needs of the honors students of those campuses and plan courses which will best serve those needs,” Isip said. “Our honors students have equal access to benefits like the computer lab, free blue books and scantrons, and, of course, time to consult with the Honors Institute director.”

Those comments are echoed by Central Park Campus Honors Director Adam Miller, who said the move to campus-specific Honors Institute offices will help the honors community grow on his campus.

“At Central Park, we’re currently in the process of transitioning from a temporary Honors Institute space to a permanent space that, I think, will be very welcoming to students and help a great deal in our efforts to build this sense of community,” Miller said, adding that he hopes to be moved into the new space early in the Spring 2016 semester.

Having spaces like these will allow for more honors event programming and more responsive course offerings on all campuses. The directors hope that students will see the Honors Institute presence on the Central Park and Preston Ridge campuses as an invitation to get more involved in honors classes and in campus activities.

Preston Ridge Campus Honors Director Sonia Iwanek has taken this first semester as an opportunity to forge stronger partnerships with other college organizations. The Honors Institute has worked with The Dignity Initiative, Student Veterans Association, Phi Theta Kappa and the Global Diplomatic Society on projects throughout the semester. From food giveaway events during Veterans Week and a campus study party in cooperation with Phi Theta Kappa to a hunger awareness-raising project for later in the semester called “Thinking Global, Acting Local,” the PRC Honors Institute is working to show students that honors is about more than just academics.

“With each partnership we have created a unique experience to unite various groups of students, faculty and staff, and bring traffic into the Honors Institute,” Iwanek said.

Ultimately, all of these activities provide students with a chance to get engaged and to learn about honors at Collin College.

Isip said that while some students know the benefits of honors – namely the previously noted computer lab time, free testing materials, honors consultation, as well as priority registration – they might hear the word “honors” as “more work” instead of as the chance to take interesting classes with top-notch professors.

“Professors in our courses know that the best courses engage students at a higher level and take advantage of the ease with which many honors students grasp key concepts,” Isip said. “We also encourage professors to offer detailed descriptions of their courses each semester so students will know exactly what to expect. Simply put, an honors course is not doing an extra paper or more work; it is a different experience altogether.”

It is an experience that the Honors Institute directors want more students to have. The hope is that by providing offices on each campus, potential honors students will take part.

“Our honors students end up taking several classes together and really start to form their own community in the classroom and on campus,” Isip said. “Many students come to a community college expecting an experience vastly different from the traditional four-year, especially in regards to community. They assume they will just check in for class and check out; expediency over experience. The Honors Institute really lets students have the best of both worlds – they enjoy the lower cost and convenience of Collin College, but they also feel like they are part of an academic cohort, people who can cheer for them and encourage them to keep going.”

To learn more about the Honors Institute, visit www.collin.edu/honors or contact your campus Honors Institute office: CPC – 972.548.6897; PRC – 972.377.1827;  or SCC – 972.516.5003.

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