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Students invited to Academic Honors Program

As the new semester begins, the deadline for students to apply for the Academic Honors Program is approaching. The deadline for applications for the program is Feb. 3. And must be turned in to Jeanette Davied. Her office is located in the Registrar’s office, Room 103 Russ Hall.  Applications are required by the Academic Honors Committee to be typed, as handwritten forms will not be accepted.  

The Academic Honors Program is an honors program “…designed to challenge students with superior academic abilities,” according to the Pitt State website. The program intends to give students a deeper understanding of their field of study.   

“…they (students) will be able to delve deeper into the subject matter through research or experiential learning,” said Craig Fuchs, director of the Honors College. “…they will set themselves apart from their peers by earning the Academic Honors designation at graduation time.” 

To be eligible for the program students must have and maintain a cumulative 3.5 grade point average (GPA) and have completed a minimum of nine semester hours of credit designated as taken for honors in the student’s degree path. The course chosen for the study must be required for the student’s major or minor and be within a 300-799 course level. Students must meet with their instructor of the course and their project must be approved by their instructor and department chair.  

The standards and guidelines for each Honors project is developed in each academic department. Students can find the standards and guidelines developed by each department/college on the PSU website under Academic Honors. The types of projects that can be done are class/public presentation of research undertaken for the honors project, original computer program or project, research papers or written reports (usually 8-12 pages), original musical composition etc. However, students can propose other types of projects to their advisors and the Faculty Senate Academic Honors Committee.  

Students are limited to one Academic Honors project and contract per semester. According to the Pitt State website, an academic honors contract is “…a mechanism for adding an “honors dimension” to a course within the student’s degree path” and should add “an academic dimension to the course by introducing new material or by allowing the student to go into greater depth than normally required in some aspect of the course.” 

Fuchs said he “strongly encourages” any students eligible to participate in the program to do so for the many benefits they can gain. 

“They will build a relationship with a faculty mentor that will benefit them down the road,” said Fuchs. “a stronger relationship that the students will likely form with the professor who mentors the project (is a benefit)”.  

Another benefit of students participating in the program is being able to develop a deeper understanding of their subject. 

“Completing the project helped me better understand what I was learning,” said Emerson Cochran, junior at Pitt State, “Since students take the initiative to choose the subject of their project…they have to think more critically about how to use the information they learn in class rather than when they only look for answers to the questions given to them.” Cochrane has will work on her second research project this upcoming semester and said another incentive to work on her project was the transcript notation.  

“Even if the project seems simple,” she said. “It just shows that the student took the initiative to go deeper into the subject of the class and doesn’t need someone to tell them how they should complete their work.” 

For the benefits of the program, students should expect to put in extra work to the course for their project. 

“I would say that the two papers were probably 20-25 hours of additional work and the research project was probably closer to 50 additional hours of work,” said Kyla Jantz, junior in biology. “Students considering this program should consider their course load and schedule to make sure that they have the time before taking on an academic honors project.” 

Students who have questions or concerns regarding the Academic Honors Program should contact their advisor, instructor, or Jeanette Davied in the Registrar’s office, at 235-4201, or email jeanette.davied@pittstate.edu

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