Honors Forum

HFC Minutes -- Monday March 20, 2000


Ruth Copans, Anita Steigerwald, Michael Arnush, Phil Boshoff, Amelia Rauser, Sue Bender, Jon Ramsey, Tabitha Orthwein, Francesca Cichello, Katie Cella, Kim Helms

Orientation: HF Orientation time slot unconfirmed pending date set for convocation time & day. Anita will update the Council when the Orientation schedule is finalized.

Fall 2000 course flyer reviewed. Jon will complete it, circulate it to all students and have it available for accepted candidate days (April 14, 17 & 24).

Admissions: Tabitha provided a summary of the early data on the Class of 2004, indicating that we are likely to see one of the strongest classes in the College's history. The overall impact on the incoming HF class will be to admit only 10-AQRs to the HF for the class of 2004: the number of 10-AQRs is up by approximately 30%, which should yield an additional 5 HF students in the class over last year's 20 non-EDs; we have also accepted only the 10-AQR EDs, thus lowering the EDs in the incoming HF class from 10 to 5.

Porters Scholars files need to be reviewed; Anita and Michael will examine the three Porter 9-AQRs later today.

Newsletter: Phil recommends that the quantity and quality of articles are insufficient for the publication of a newsletter at this time. The Council reached consensus to add the following articles: Mary Lynn event; Academic Festival; NYC Opera trip; an Issues & Reflections article, composed by Francesca. This "column" would serve as a sounding board for the variety of concerns students have had regarding HF.

Alternatives to a print newsletter were discussed, such as publishing on-line, which would allow regular updates, events announcements, and accomodate the irregularity of our ability to produce and publish timely articles on HF events. Members of the Council characterized this as a "year in review" journal and indicated considerable support for this approach. Another suggestion was to hire an HF student assistant who would work exclusively on the publication and maintenance of webpages, etc.

Evaluations: Michael and Amelia reviewed the student evaluations, and though the numericals seem initially less than useful, Michael noted that until we have a graphic display of the statistical data the Council should not eliminate the objective portion of the evaluations. The anecdotal proved very useful, and Michael and Amelia provided a summary of the issues that emerge regularly; the two most salient focus on the integration of an Honors experience into a larger non-Honors course/curriculum, and precisely what amounts to Honors work in the Skidmore curriculum - i.e., greater depth, not more work. The workshop, now designated for March 31st in lieu of a pedagogy session March 24th, will focus on the curriculum to date, the design of HF courses, the distinctions and (dis)advantages of teaching 3+1 vs. 3 (or 4) credit HF experiences, the definition of an Honors course workload in terms of quality, sophistication, depth, expectations, etc. Susan recommended that we provide the participants in the workshop a visual representation of participation in the Forum by faculty - numbers of courses, breakdown by discipline, etc.

HFC Agenda, March 27th, 2000