BW’s Honors Program gets an upgrade

On Oct. 1, the office for the Honors Program ceased to exist. In its place, the Office of Honors and Scholars was made. The office for the Honors Program used to just oversee the Honors Program, but over the past few years its range extended over more programs.

Dr. Amy Lebo, the associate dean of honors and scholars, collaborated with Dr. Guy Farish, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Steve Stahl, the provost. Together, they decided it made sense to enlarge the structure to cover more programs.

“The Honors Program is a specific program that serves a specific population, whereas the other programs we oversee are typically available to all undergraduate students at BW,” said Lebo.

Farish hopes that this change will bring more visibility to the programs offered in the Office of Honors and Scholars.

“The Honors Program office has reported to the provost for many years. This change means it will now report to the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences,” said Farish, adding that he hoped this change would, “strengthen the ties to the arts and sciences academic areas which make up most of the honors curriculum.”

The programs that will now fall under the Office of Honors and Scholars include the Honors Program, Honors in the Major (currently a pilot program), Summer Scholars, Faculty Student Collaboration Courses (FSCs), grants to students to travel to present at conferences or purchase research supplies, the Dayton C. Miller Honor Society and induction ceremony, and Fulbright Award advising.

“We are hoping to use this change to raise the visibility of all of these programs, both on campus and to prospective students and families. Some of these programs offer really unique and exceptional opportunities to students, but they are not well known either on or off campus,” said Lebo.

This change directly affects Lebo and Margaret Stiner, the associate director of Honors and Scholars, by changing their titles.

Lebo said, “This changes my reporting line from the Provost to the Dean of Arts and Sciences. I do not think it will change the student experience of these programs.”

Farish agreed that the change will not greatly affect students, saying, “The transition for students will be seamless, they probably will not know that a change has occurred to the organizational structure.”

Farish added, “The office [location] has not moved, but we are considering a possible move to place it in proximity to the Arts and Sciences office which will allow us to share some resources and personnel.”

The Office of Honors and Scholars is currently located in the Wallace House at 33 Beech Street, and Lebo thinks that the move could be a benefit.

“Moving the office under Arts and Sciences provides a venue for some synergies to occur with the school that provides the heart of the undergraduate experience at BW. I am now in a position to work on a weekly basis with the dean and associate deans in Arts and Sciences to ensure that we are offering the best programming possible.”