Skip to Main Content
Skidmore College
Honors Forum

Honors Forum Council -- Friday, December 10, 1999


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

Review of the Student Executive Committee meeting:

The main objective of the meeting was to find ways in which the committee could foster greater community spirit among the Honors Forum members. The Council supports the students' efforts to establish committees but rejects making participation mandatory.

Discussion focused on "what works" as far as motivating students to get involved in the events hosted by HF; Amelia proposed organizing approximately 15 small group discussions throughout the semester at various times throughout the day & evening. She noted that the HF needs to provide students a wide range of choices & a great deal of flexibility in the scheduling of these events. The first round of discussions would be slotted to take place by Spring Break. The Council recognizes that ownership of HF will come as students take control of conceptualizing, planning and carrying out events. This is not yet happening widely and needs further attention.

EN105H Course description:

Discussion focused on the need for the narrative to be more characteristic of HF courses. As it stands now, there is no language markedly distinguishing EN105H from EN 105. Phil will work with Linda Simon on the narrative to reflect the Council's recommendations: the description should be less generic and reflect the greater level of sophistication of an Honors course.

This fed into a discussion of catalog copy of the Forum. Questions focused on several areas: how do prospective students become familiar HF courses? how are the courses listed (if at all) or organized within the catalog? where are they placed in the catalog and is this location best? Is there a way in which Honors Forum courses can be set apart ? Michael to pursue these issues with Anne Hockenos.

Summer Workshop Proposal:

Edits to the proposal focused on the theme of curriculum as text. The Council recommended involving the Dean of Studies, Dean of Faculty, and faculty from a variety of disciplines (for example, art history and visual depictions as text) in the workshop seminars. The workshop might employ the MALS system of Inquiry & Methodology as an example in designing the workshop. Anita noted the potential conflict between this and other preorientation programs, which led to a discussion of whether the workshop should be required. Sue strongly cautioned against imposing requirements on students from the onset of their college careers. Michael noted the need to build a community of the first-year HF students and that the primary goal of the workshop and subsequent HF101 course was to provide the basis for that community. If the workshop is not mandatory, then the community will be incomplete.

This discussion led to the consideration of HF101. Jon presented the course proposal; the Council opened debate on the course. Issues under consideration include whether to require the course of all HF first-semester students (or first- and third-semester students); on the relationship between the course and the summer workshop; and on the dynamic within the community of HF students participating or not participating in the course. Sue recommended that we pilot the course as a means of grappling with the the range of issues at hand as well as other unexpected ones. The Council will continue discussion of these issues at the last meeting of the semester, Thursday, December 16, at 12.30pm.

Respectfully Submitted,

Rebecca Burnham