Category Archives: Honors Students

Tricia Rose on Educational Equality in an Unequal World

I had the wonderful opportunity to hear a presentation by Tricia Rose. Professor of Africana Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University, Rose gave an exceptional talk entitled “Educational Equality in an Unequal World: Creative Strategies for Making All Students Successful.”

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Rose spoke at the Lane Longhouse. Her subject matter resonated for me in many ways, and I continue to think about her statement that the goals of education are to create “fully developed human beings and healing.” This statement articulates the essential work that honors programs do at two-year colleges. As I watch more students move through our program, I see the choices students make because of their honors experience. They challenge themselves in their classes and they ask more of their instructors. They engage in co-curricular activities. They apply for and receive scholarships. They transfer to, and graduate from, four-year institutions.

The above accomplishments are impressive, especially as students have commented in person, in their ePortfolios, and in other reflective writing about the challenges of attending college many years after high school; returning to college after unsuccessful first attempts; attending college while raising children sometimes with a partner and sometimes on their own; and trying to balance multiple jobs while succeeding in their coursework.

They have acknowledged the ways in which they were discouraged by high school teachers to even consider college, the comments by otherwise supportive instructors that misread language barriers as intellectual deficiencies, and the sometimes resentful and disparaging attitudes of family members and friends when they chose to go to school.

I repeatedly see the value of a cohort of peers who can relate to these many obstacles, peers who support each other in facing them, and who recognize to the sense of achievement in overcoming them. I see the value in having a faculty willing to design classes that provide even more challenging and creative opportunities for this cohort. I see the value in having an instructor tell a student to disregard the ways that they have been underestimated in the past or in having one student tell another that they, too, should consider the Honors Program. I see the value in extending what our college does every day – showing students that they matter and that their success matters – to make sure that there are opportunities here for every student.

“…fully developed human beings and healing.” Those of us involved with the Lane Honors Program agree and we’re working on it. Every student. Every day.

See Rose’s TED Talk at Brown University: “Creating Conversations on Justice.”

Seminar Students Visit UO’s Special Collections Library

This week, Katie Morrison-Graham and I visited the University of Oregon’s Special Collections Library with the students currently taking the Honors Invitation to Inquiry seminar. We are always looking for ways to enhance the seminar’s focus on interdisciplinary research and on thinking critically about the research process. An introduction to archival research proved to be a great addition to the course.

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Manuscripts Librarian, Linda Long, brought out several items from the Gertrude Bass Warner Collection including Japanese lantern slides and Warner’s travel diaries.

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I’ve worked with this collection in the past and it was a nice surprise when she emailed to say these were the materials she would be using. I enjoyed the chance to see the materials again and to share them with my students.

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Linda explained the purpose of a special collections library, described some of the collections in this library’s holdings, and encouraged the students to feel welcome there and use the library as a resource. I was especially appreciative of this invitation because the campus and its libraries can seem overwhelming to someone unfamiliar with them. The honors students now know they have access to excellent scholarly resources and can feel comfortable and confident about using them.

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When we left, one student was already registering so that she could use the library in the future. Others gathered outside to talk over their experience. Linda and I decided based on the students’ response that we will make the Special Collections Library visit a regular part of the honors seminars each year.

Student Member on Honors Leadership Team

The Honors Leadership Team (HLT) finalized its charter last year, and the charter states that we would add one or two student members to the team by fall 2013. While everyone on the team supported this addition, the addition itself proved to be slightly difficult. We began the academic year without a current student on the team, so I am very appreciative of the synchronous events that led to our adding our first student member at the start of winter term 2014.

Cheyne Dandurand took the honors Invitation to Inquiry seminar last year, and he approached me about being a peer mentor in the class this year. He said that he had a positive experience in the class and felt that he could both contribute to this year’s seminar and also gain something himself by participating again.

I team-teach this seminar with my colleague, Katie Morrison-Graham. Katie and I both thought that having Cheyne join the class as a peer mentor was an excellent idea. We also encouraged him to talk to Tamara Pinkas. Tamara is the Cooperative Education Coordinator for Lane’s Advanced Technology and Language, Literature and Communications Divisions. She also oversees the honors experiential learning requirement and teaches the honors cooperative education class. Katie and I recognized that being a peer mentor would be a good form of experiential learning, and we thought that Cheyne could get co-op credit for his work.

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Tamara, however, saw the larger picture and recommended that Cheyne have his co-op work involve the entire Honors Program rather than just one honors class. She suggested that he join the leadership team and come up with other ways to both learn more about the program and contribute to it.

Cheyne decided that he would not only join the HLT and be a peer mentor in the Inquiry seminar. He would also assist with our social media, organize social events for the honors students, and help plan other honors events.

Last week, Cheyne attended the first HLT meeting of the term. We still need to determine the best way to find student members in the future. Fortunately, HLT member and math instructor Jessica Knoch, is working on a process for the team to consider, and I’m confident that we’ll have a plan in place soon. In the meantime, we now have a current student’s perspective informing our discussions, plans, and projects – a perspective that is very much valued by those of us working on the Lane Honors Program.