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Wednesday, Nov 21, 2018

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New OHIO Honors Program will pilot in the 2018-19 academic year


The new OHIO Honors Program, created to offer innovative honors learning experiences to undergraduates from all Ohio University majors, is set to pilot fall semester of the upcoming 2018-19 academic year. 

The OHIO Honors Task Force has worked throughout the past year to develop a program that will synthesize high-impact curricular and co-curricular learning experiences and foster interdisciplinary innovation.

The program’s inaugural cohort is anticipated to include 45 to 50 incoming first-year students enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences Scholars Program the Russ College of Engineering and Technology and the College of Business.

Invitations to join the program in its pilot year have been extended to students identified by the Task Force, Undergraduate Admissions and the Colleges. By joining the pilot program, these students will have the opportunity to help refine the program by providing feedback to help build and improve it. Looking ahead, the Task Force will continue with broad development of the program and course offerings with a plan to have a larger 2019 cohort across expanded programs.

“The OHIO Honors program will strengthen a University-wide academic culture that celebrates all forms of interdisciplinary and experiential learning,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “I’m excited to formally welcome our inaugural cohort this fall, and I look forward to hearing their input as we work collectively to guide and expand this new program forward.”

Inaugural-cohort students will take two courses in the upcoming academic year: Intro to OHIO Honors during the fall semester and the Honors Engagement Lab in the spring. During the engagement lab, students will train in community-based problem solving and will be given the opportunity to work with campus and community leaders for hands-on experience. 

The OHIO Honors Program is a complement to the Honors Tutorial College, which offers 38 degree programs that enable students to become accomplished artists, scholars and professionals. Honors Tutorial students take a small group or one-on-one tutorial with a faculty member each term and produce a thesis, creative, or professional project that makes an original contribution to their discipline. The new OHIO Honors Program is designed to complement all non-tutorial degree programs, allowing more highly engaged students to focus on experiential learning and application. 

The OHIO Honors Program is designed with three pathways: leadership, community engagement and research/creative activity. Students will select their pathway at the end of their second year. Seniors will complete an experiential capstone project prior to graduation. Over four years, students will complete 14 experiences — half of those experiences are required to be hands-on, such as community service or internships. 

To encourage course development for the program, the Task Force with support from the Office of Instructional Innovation will host course adaptation workshops for faculty members beginning in fall semester. The goal is to help faculty members introduce honors components into existing courses by developing additional tasks and assignments for the honors students who enroll in the course. Faculty members will help define these adaptations. 

Honors components of a class will not be graded in a traditional way. While the additional work will be evaluated, it will not affect students’ course grades, allowing them to be creative and innovative.