Millersville University, Faculty Senate
Faculty Senate Minutes
March 7, 2000
Vision for the Honors College
As the University embraces the
concept of an Honors College, it is critical to lay out the vision of what an
Honors College can do with and for students at Millersville. Building the Honors
College is a process that will involve all interested faculty, students,
administrators, staff, and members of the Millersville University community.
Thus the Honors College will finally be what we make it, and the process of
creating a special community of learners is part of the College concept. The
fully developed Honors College will be a new and exciting entity, different from
the current Honors Program in a number of crucial ways, and unique in its
ability to provide stimulating and innovative educational experiences for
The Honors College is first a
community with the flexibility to change and grow; it is also a place or locus
of activity in which change takes place. With the high level of visibility,
support, and involvement required, the Millersville University Honors College
can become the crucible in which ongoing change takes place. To enhance academic
and cultural environments, and to invigorate recruitment and retention, the
Honors College will build upon the current Honors Program. Outlined below are
directions in which an Honors College could move.
Academic and Cultural
As the visible core of academic
and cultural life on campus, the Honors College is conceived as a place where
students live, study, work, and create a community of learners.
- Integration of
Living, Study, and Work Space
In a new facility fitted for the
purpose, the site of the College will include public space for informal
gatherings where students, faculty, and others will find an amenable
environment to discuss and share their ideas and ongoing academic projects, a
place where they can conduct the social part of the life of the mind.
- The space will allow
casual contact among faculty, student, staff, and administrative colleagues,
and it will be available for organized meetings on planned topics.
- The space will be
accessible to all students--open to the public without compromising security
for adjacent offices, housing, and secure areas.
- A space will also be
provided for 24-hour access to desks, tables, and comfortable seating for
individual and collaborative study--a place thoughtfully set up to encourage
and promote reflection and quiet work.
These spaces will be useful
and attractive; care will be given to make the rooms inviting as well as
accessible, places where people will want to be, where academic and social
activities are nurtured by stimulating design. The spaces must silently convey
to those who use them that the College and the University value beauty and
principles of design as part of academic life. In these spaces students will
interact, work, and reflect Here they will plan and present group discussions
and presentations as part of the ongoing process of learning and sharing with
others the questions and issues they are actively exploring as part of an
- Access to
Appropriate Instructional Technology
- Facilities of the Honors
College will also include spaces where electronic media can be employed to
facilitate research and to support multimedia learning and teaching-an
innovative "laboratory" space where students can be connected to the World
Wide Web and share information with others.
- An electronic or "smart classroom" is envisioned, one that reflects uses
and applications of computers that are at this moment being developed; in
short, this must be flexible space designed as a collaboration among
technicians, educators, and designers to meet current needs and to
anticipate ongoing developments and changes.
- Coordinated with media space but probably distinct from it, the College
will provide a seminar classroom conducive to face-to-face discussion,
lecture, and interactive learning among gifted faculty and motivated
All these spaces will be
designed to accommodate students with disabilities and to nurture learning
within congenial surroundings.
- Innovative Living Space
These facilities are
envisioned as part of a College that allows students to live where they can
participate easily in the academic community. Not merely an academic dormitory
or as honors wing, but living space designed to respect privacy and to support
social interaction, the facilities will call for thoughtful planning.
- Possibilities for housing
include suites of sleep/study rooms that share common areas for leisure and
utility. The maximum number of students sharing lavatory and kitchen space
should be kept small to encourage people to respect one another's privacy
while they build the social skills that create a humane community.
- The College is committed to active recruitment and support for ethnic
and racial minority students whose presence in a living-learning facility
will provide a microcosm of the wider world. A regional university in many
ways, Millersville will benefit from the creation on campus of a noticeably
diverse population of highly motivated, talented, and active students who
learn from each other and from the community we build together.
- Space may also be provided
for faculty-in-residence, allowing visiting scholars and artists to become a
part of the living-learning center for the time of their stay at the
University and allowing permanent faculty to reside (perhaps only for a
specified period) in close proximity to students within the Honors College.
Providing a live-in option to newly hired faculty would also encourage new
members of the University community to learn from the students as they
provide guidance and serve as role models for the students.
- The College will explore the feasibility of offering residential rooms
to exchange students from overseas, further diversifying the community and
widening. residents' experiences.
- This living-working environment will support retention by inviting
students to participate in and to be part of the academic community they
themselves are building.
- Retention will be supported by careful selection of resident assistants
who share academic values.
- Proximity of Office Space
Honors College facilities will
ideally include the necessary office space for director, assistant
director, clerical staff, and student workers who guide and support the activities of the College.
The integration of administrative space with living and learning facilities
will enable the College staff to meet and interact with the teaching faculty
and participating students in casual and supportive ways that build community
and acknowledge the interrelationship of giving, receiving, and modifying
necessary elements of community life.
- Directors and clerical staff will get to know and will be known by
residents, faculty, and visitors, because the space will be open and
accessible to all.
- Integration of offices, academic and social spaces, and resident
facilities will enable observation and interaction necessary to assessing
the outcomes of the College as educational experiment. In such an
environment, data about successes, failures, problems and achievements will
be assessed as part of daily life and work; and the records necessary to
document the reasons for retention, attrition, and quality of life will be
easily kept because the data are readily available for collection and
The Honors College represents
building upon the firm foundation of an established Honors Program and aims to
undertake a thoughtful and thorough review of current courses while actively
promoting experimentation with innovative pedagogies and curricula.
- Emphasis on
As acknowledged by the current program,
proficiency in languages should become a part of the honors curriculum to
support liberal education and to prepare students for graduate study and for
the virtually shrinking community of the planet. This can be accomplished in
- Collaboration with the Foreign Languages Department already suggests
that evaluation of students' secondary school experience can validate
language proficiency and place students in appropriate coursework as needed.
To require language proficiency is to acknowledge the importance of
communication across political and cultural borders.
- The College will
prioritize multicultural experiences and language study to ensure the
completeness of honors curricula and to encourage understanding among
- In addition to languages, the curriculum will explore and continue to
support awareness and understanding of diversity by seeking honors course
offerings from ethnic studies on campus--African-American and Latino
Studies--and from Women's Studies and International Studies.
- Asian histories, cultures,
and arts will be included in the curriculum and promoted by the Honors
College as both a part of the existing University and as a proponent of
innovative and experimental courses.
- The Honors College experience must include encounters with diverse
perspectives and diverse populations.
- The College will serve as a focal point for diversity in practice and in
academic subject matter.
- Science and Mathematics
As the twenty-first century opens, it seems a truism that science
and technology continue to be central to everyday life and to academic
- Acknowledging that the
Honors Program has recognized the importance of mathematics and science, the
College will continue to support and reevaluate the ways in which higher
mathematics and laboratory sciences are integral to the honors curriculum.
connections among the traditional areas of learning would enhance the
current requirements, and the College must be vigilant to continue
selfcurrent issues in assessment to ensure that courses and requirements
reflect the most comprehensive and the sciencesinextricable from ethical.
For example, developments in genetic engineering and electronic
communication have become and ideological considerations.
- The College will explore course proposals that cut across traditional
- Education, Psychology, and Social Sciences
Itself an experiment in community building and group
interaction, the Honors College will provide a meaningful context for social
sciences to explore and develop current lines of investigation. The College is
an educational experiment--one that suggests the contiguity of education and
social sciences as academic disciplines. Already among the innovators in
pedagogy, the School of Education now provides a Perspectives course for
Honors and represents a significant number of honors students among its
- The College will strengthen and develop ties with Education to continue
and grow as a laboratory for pedagogy, supporting Pedagogy Seminars and
innovative curriculum in education.
- In psychology and the
social sciences, the Honors College will encourage and actively solicit
faculty to create, teach, and implement honors courses.
- Connections with
International Studies and ethnic/women's studies on campus will promote
practical experiences for students in business, economies, geography,
history, political science, and sociology/anthropology, social work, and
other social sciences.
- Numerous opportunities
exist for students to participate in and to observe diverse social dynamics
in and near Lancaster County. The College will take a leading role in
supporting and providing travel, study, and research in diverse social
settings. The summer and winter term living-learning projects undertaken by
students--and the cooperative and internship opportunities that materialize
and grow with the College--are full of potential for social science
- Humanities and Fine and
In the arts and humanities aside from languages, the
College will actively support and nurture a level of respect and involvement
that is sometimes overlooked in a technologically and scientifically advanced
culture. The role of the arts and the necessity of self-expression for a high
quality of life must be acknowledged and supported beyond the scope of current
Honors Program requirements. The avenue for growth is already paved.
- Western Literary and
Western Intellectual Traditions courses can grow into explorations of global
concerns. African, Asian, Central and South American, and Indigenous Peoples
have contributed and are contributing to contemporary life in ways that must
be acknowledged as we build a global community. These courses will be
reevaluated, other course alternatives will be explored, and honors college
students will be provided with wider-and deeper perspectives on arts,
humanities, and cultural studies relevant to the present and within which we
will build the future. For example, intellectual traditions must not
preclude spiritual and cultural traditions that encompass human emotions and
physical expressivity too often excluded from the Cartesian mind/body
dichotomy. Current ascendance of cultural studies seems to signal
reevaluation of the term "intellectual" to move beyond "European ideology"
toward a more inclusive concept.
- The College will support
fuller investigation of "traditions" to explore the connections between
social, artistic, and humanistic constructions, recasting the social science
and humanities courses now required into more commodious molds and
stimulating new courses, approaches, and curricular structures:
- Flexibility in Curricular
The principal vehicle for these changes will be the
creation and implementation of course designations which, if approved through
the established University mechanisms, will allow faculty and students to
engage in courses designed for mutual exploration of areas that should not be
ossified into "content" and "structure." That is, faculty should be encouraged
to propose and lead courses for honors credit that meet general education
criteria as they address timely issues and break new ground in their methods.
One example could be a course on hatred as a social and cultural focus--hate
and fear, forces that have unfortunately galvanized human potential, can be
associated with devastating results from genocide in the historical past to
violence in today's world. Other topics could include:
- an investigation of
architecture from artistic, social, and theoretical perspectives;
- music in contexts of
history, ideology, and communication;
- scientific method
reevaluated from socioeconomic perspectives;
- information technology as
a cultural force
The possibilities are limited
only by imagination and intellectual curiosity.
- Faculty must be encouraged
to propose and lead courses in which teachers and students are co-learners
on a quest to articulate questions, to bring multiple perspectives to bear
on those questions, and to formulate tentative or potential answers.
- The College curriculum
will challenge the notion of in-struction as an activity of
authority-experts (teachers) filling receptive vessels (students) and will
address the core of education, the leading out and drawing forth of creative
responses from co-participants in a collaborative community of learning.
- Service Learning
Another area for curricular development that the College will pursue
is active in-service learning.
- Winter sessions and summer
sessions provide blocks of time in which students could engage in service to
the community and organized internships. When coordinated with the Office of
Cooperative Education, full-semester or yearlong experiences are also
- Honors students should be
encouraged to utilize existing programs for overseas and experiential
learning; the College will provide leadership by enabling students to
integrate service into individualized curricula.
Beyond hands-on internships
in areas of career interest, honors education should widen students' horizons
and introduce students to service as an integral component of the educational
process. Moving beyond a model of learning as passively receptive, the College
will prepare students to give actively of their labor and creativity to
address social and community needs first-hand. Student volunteers gain as they
give from their store of talents.
- Providing liaison with
local organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the College will
facilitate students' involvement with community needs.
- Adult literacy initiatives
and latchkey programs need volunteers.
Providing college credit and
exploring ways to integrate humane service into the curriculum--as an element
in specific courses, as a required component, or as a College community
expectation--the Honors College will enable students to learn about themselves
and their environment through service.
- Tutoring peers, secondary,
and elementary students has proven to benefit tutors as it supports
- Activities and working groups can identify and address additional issues
where community needs can be met by College participants.
- With coordination between College students, faculty, and local community
leaders, students will address needs for day-care, adult role models, and
family support that at present escape many students' notice.
The Honors College will lead campus initiatives to work on these and other
local needs that service-learning experience will uncover. Overseas and
cross-regional exchanges will provide students with observable models of
service as practiced in urban, rural, and diverse contexts. Fieldwork in
inner-city locations is feasible in nearby Lancaster, Philadelphia, and the
District of Columbia. Models for cross-cultural experiences exist now in
programs offered at Lancaster Theological Seminary and can be adapted and
developed to take Millersville University Honors students into areas they need
to have seen and experienced first-hand if they are to act responsibly as
Commonwealth citizens and lawmakers after graduation.
- Lancaster County Prison may need volunteers and interns to work with
- Assistance to AIDS patients, Hospice clients, and various group homes in
the immediate area will benefit both the recipients and the students who
contribute their time and talents.
Assessment mechanisms must be developed for activities to reflect College
credit, but it is very likely that practical outcomes will be reflected in
students' self-awareness and deepened perspectives, hopefully continuing
beyond their undergraduate years.
Overview of the College
Seen as a continuum from
matriculation to graduation, the Honors College experience can be outlined as
- First-year students will participate in a College-wide reading program
orientation beginning in summer and continuing throughout the first year.
Books recommended by faculty and administration will be identified and
scheduled for discussion throughout the first year, bringing together
freshmen, faculty and staff, interested administrators, and upper-level
students who will discuss current readings in small groups outside the
classroom. Publicizing the readings will also encourage in-class use and
critique for faculty who choose to participate.
- First-year students in a residential College will be oriented to academic
life by living in proximity to upper-level students, faculty, visiting
artists/scholars, and the administrative offices of the College.
- Courses will include sections taught in the College facility.
- Weekend activities will provide students with enhancement for the academic
and cultural environment.
- Twenty-four-hour study space
and social areas will promote studious and social habits.
- First-year students will
begin to explore choices of major, minor, and concentration areas by focusing
on General Education and Honors College course work.
- Development of an Honor Code
will orient College students in the expectations and behaviors of academic
honesty and research methods.
- Students will be introduced
from orientation onwards to the values and the purposes of liberal arts
education through advising and group meetings.
- They will be guided to
anticipate academic and career plans that begin to be mapped from the first
year--for example, pre-professional options must be seen as early as possible
if medical, law, or public service and education careers are under
The first year is critical for
later success and requires special attention and planning to assure that as
early as possible students are able to see the path unfolding before them;
orientation for first-year students must be continuous and comprehensive,
offering every opportunity for students to adjust to University demands, to
respond to opportunities, and to anticipate the possibilities for growth that
- Sophomore will participate actively in exploring and selecting major and
minor fields of study.
- They will assist with first-year student orientation and participate in
selfgovernance and advisory capacities in the College.
- They will participate in service-learning projects and continue to grow in
research interests and skills, mindful of the thesis project that College
students will undertake beginning in junior year.
- As General Education course work comes to completion, sophomores will
build on proficiencies and interests cultivated by first-year experiences.
They will plan and apply for College research grants, for national
scholarships, and for in-service programs for winter, summer, or junior year
experiences at home or abroad.
- They will plan and
participate in events for cultural enhancement within the College and host
activities for the University and wider communities.
- Second-year students will
explore career and post-graduate options in order to make relevant decisions
about continued course work.
- Juniors will continue to
grow as they did in the first two years, now pursuing major and minor areas
with a sense of direction, integrating General Education with areas of
specialization through guided and independent research.
- The honors thesis, proposed
in sophomore year or early in the third year, will begin as supervised
research in collaboration with faculty mentors) during the third year.
- Some juniors will have spent
or will spend a session or term in residence off campus in overseas exchange,
in-service, or internship capacities.
- Those in residence will
provide experienced leadership to the governance and maintenance of the
College and its activities as they continue to grow in academic and social
- Informally and in organized
group meetings, juniors will share research interests and in-service
experiences with students and the larger community as they begin the
transition to graduate status.
- Junior recitals,
presentations, and performances will punctuate the year.
- Juniors will actively
explore post-graduate opportunities and create a plan of action for their
future career goals.
- Graduate and professional
school plans must be made by this point, or at the least options must be
explored, decisions made, and contingencies considered to keep options open.
- Public service plans
including Peace Corps, Americorps VISTA, or other alternatives should be taken
under consideration seriously. The College will sponsor information sessions
especially for sophomores and juniors.
- Seniors will complete the
honors thesis and the requirements for major and minor areas of study.
- They will provide leadership
for the College in its programming and planning, sharing their experiences
with underclassmen and developing ongoing areas for maintaining and improving
the functions of the College.
- Senior thesis defenses will
be open to interested students, faculty, and community members to share the
fruits of research and concentrated study.
- Seniors will organize and
showcase their projects in an annual College Symposium and will celebrate
graduation as a commencement of postbaccalaureate plans soon to be realized.
- Alumni/ae and friends of the
College will be regular visitors and participants in cultural, academic, and
in-service activities. Announcements and invitations will be coordinated with
the Alumni offices.
- If the College has performed
its task successfully, alumni will maintain supportive ties to the College and
University, encouraging recruitment, retention, and development.
- Seeking to create life-long
learning experiences, the College will nurture connection with graduates as
they pursue professional and graduate education, as they build careers,
families, and communities beyond the campus.
As the greatest resource for
continuity and growth, alumni will be informed of initiatives and included in
planning. If the College succeeds, it will be included in the plans and lives of
Recruitment and Retention of
- Connections with
Local High Schools
- The Honors College will develop relationships with local high schools,
identifying highly motivated and talented students. This may include
identification of students who are taking AP courses; science fair winners;
participants in Governor's Schools; successful competitors in writing,
public speaking, and debate contests; recipients of recognition for musical,
artistic, or dramatic achievement; student leaders in school and community
activities; and students who have excelled in other ways that would make
them good candidates for the Honors College. The Honors College will
actively recruit students who are members of the National Honor Society or
who have been recognized through the National Merit Scholarship competition.
- Selected students will be invited to Millersville, perhaps for a
week-long summer workshop or a series of non-credit weekend workshops in
winter. These workshops, coordinated through the Honors College, will expose
students to a challenging and stimulating environment comprising academic,
cultural, and social experiences and introducing them to Honors College
students and faculty.
- Students who have participated in these workshops will continue to
receive information about activities of the Honors College and will be
specially invited to attend cultural programs and participate in certain
activities with Honors College students. Ongoing contact with high schools
students will assist in identifying appropriate scholarship recipients.
- Recruitment and Retention for Diversity
Coordinating efforts with Offices
of Admission, Financial Aid, Advancement, and Alumni, particular attention
must be given to recruiting students from racial and ethnic minorities for
Millersville University; the Honors College will adopt as a high priority
contacting, encouraging, and recruiting African American, Latino,
Asian-American, Native American, and other students currently
under-represented on campus. Acknowledging the cultural and ideological biases
latent in numerically-based profiles and extending Honors Program policies of
admitting students who do not fall within standardized test and high school
class rank guidelines for invitation to the honors community, the College will
seek students from all groups who demonstrate creative, artistic, and
conceptual skills not clearly measured by numerical evaluation. Increased
scholarship movies will enable and support matriculation at Millersville.
- While inviting and motivating all students who can be identified by
scores and ranking, the College will also invite students based on their
accomplishments in arts, sciences, and service areas.
Motivation, talent, and
intellectual curiosity are sometimes difficult to measure; however, evidence
of successful musical performance, artistic production, community service, and
group leadership is available from current Honors applications and will be
credited highly in Honors College screening for admission and scholarship
awards. References from teachers, guidance counselors, and community leaders
will be sought and respected as part of a holistic selection process. Talented
and energetic students will be sought, recruited, and admitted to
Millersville's Honors College particularly when students add diversity to the
College community. This goal can be reached in several ways.
- Working closely with the
Summer Honors Program for minority students, the Honors College Director
will track and encourage applications from students who succeed in the
- Scholarships are now and
will be to an increasing extent targeted for promising minority students.
- Taking care to include and
respect cultural differences, the Honors College will recruit from high
schools with high minority-group populations and from those noted for
diversity. Many recruiting opportunities will be utilized.
- Proposals are now under
consideration for on-campus experiences to be provided for high school and
middle school students who might otherwise have no contact with Millersville
- Liaison and cooperative
sponsorships with student and alumni/ae groups on campus will link the
Honors College to African-American, Latino, and Asian-American students;
development of honors courses with faculty from diverse backgrounds and
cultural identities in all disciplines, and especially in Women's Studies,
African-American Studies, and Latino Studies, will connect honors education
with scholar-teachers who serve as role models, research advisers, and
agents of positive change.
With active recruitment,
these initiatives will change perceptions of the honors concept in positive
ways, moving toward inclusive rather than exclusive patterns. With the
visibility and obvious support of the University, the Honors College will
provide a core of culturally diverse students and faculty to serve as a model
for the entire academic community. Particularly by attracting gifted and
motivated students from diverse groups, the College will encourage students
from all groups to expect from Millersville a culturally inclusive educational
experience. The presence of more minority students in the academically
challenging Honors College will enhance current initiatives that assist
disadvantaged minority students in pursuing University courses. Active Honors
recruitment will mitigate what can become institutionalized prejudice and
negative bias. Recruitment supports retention by aiming at a diverse student
population in which a wide range of backgrounds and experiences can find and
create supportive groups within College and University communities.
In order to achieve the vision
described above, it will be necessary to consider various models for the
administrative structure of the Honors College. With the increased prominence
and visibility of an Honors College, the University may want to explore the
possibility of establishing various mechanisms to continue and improve
communication between the Honors College and other University entities, to
facilitate the development of an innovative and stimulating curriculum, and to
ensure appropriate assessment and accountability.
- Channels of
It will be advisable to explore ways to maintain
close communication with departments, programs, and individuals across campus.
The Honors College can become part of a network, facilitating the exchange of
information among students, faculty, staff and administration. It may also be
appropriate to consider making formal connections between the Honors College
and Deans' Council.
- Curriculum Committee
With a simple change of name from University Honors Program
Committee to Honors College Committee, it makes sense that the structure and
function of the curriculum committee continue to exist as it is until such
time as cogent reasons materialize that suggest a need for change.
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