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November 7, 2005

New honors program ready for students

The curriculum is ready. The faculty is in place. Now the University’s new honors program is ready for the next phase—signing up students.

The honors program will feature undergraduate general education courses for entering freshmen in their first four semesters at Sacramento State. There will also be an upper-division component of nine to 12 units that students will take in their junior and senior years. The courses will fulfill the University’s general education requirement.

The goal is to attract highly motivated first-time freshmen and provide a challenging liberal arts education in a small class setting.

“The honors program enables us to offer an academically challenging, ambitious program for entering students that features smaller classes, dedicated professors and extracurricular activities,” says George Craft, interim director of the program. “It fills a gap—numerous programs have been created for student athletes and disadvantaged students, but not for students looking for something like an honors program.”

Craft adds that the program falls in line with the Destination 2010 initiative’s goal of fostering excellent academic and student programs and it sends a message about the University’s commitment to academics. Craft says it will also help the campus attract more freshmen, a charge that has become more important in recent years.

The Sacramento State program will follow the lead of other CSU campuses and use a cohort model. The initial cohort of 60 students is scheduled to begin next fall. In addition to academic enrichment, the cohort experience is designed to add a cultural and social aspect to the program.

Plans call for students to take three sections of honors courses for the first four semesters, which will feature a combination of brand-new honors courses and existing courses modified to meet an honors designation.

The first semester will feature an honors math course, a world civilization course and the first of a four-semester seminar on “great books.” Semester two will feature a second world civilization course and a course in speech/rhetoric, as well as continue the great books seminar.

The second year is expected to include honors courses in biology, government and social studies along with the rest of the honors seminar. The honors classes will be structured to have global emphasis and a significant amount of material will be non-Western focused, Craft says.

Classes will be held Monday through Thursday with a Friday cultural activity such as going to a theater performance. There will also be discussions, a newsletter and possibly an honors conference where students can socialize with students from other universities and present papers.

The qualification criteria for students to enter the program is a 3.5 GPA or a 1,200 on the SAT. But exceptions can be made for students who don’t meet those criteria. The application process includes writing an essay. Any student accepted by the University who meets the criteria will be invited to apply for program.

Craft says he hopes to be able to give $500 incentive scholarships to at least the first group of honors students.

For more information on the program visit www.csus.edu/honorsprogram.


 

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