Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Louisiana Tech celebrates creation of new Honors College

by BIZ Magazine

Louisiana Tech University has reached a milestone in its mission to promote excellence with the establishment of the Honors College, a new collective of programs unified under the Honors banner. The Honors College is housed in University Hall, one of the most history-rich structures on campus, and a celebratory reception attended by University leaders, honors students, donors, and alumni was held in the building on December 14.

Previously, the Honors Program existed independently as an assortment of special courses available to honors students, and now, in a new phase, it is just one of the five areas brought together to make up the Honors College:

The University Honors Program – A 21-hour curriculum of honors courses, threaded with an e-portfolio that students develop over their entire University Honors Program education. Select students are admitted to the program upon review of an application submitted during students’ senior year of high school.

Undergraduate Research and Service Learning – High-impact practices that promote deep learning through student engagement, such as the funding of the University’s annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. This area helps to connect students with faculty inside of the University and connect the University to the broader community.

Nationally Competitive Awards – Resources to pursue some of the most prestigious, merit-based scholarships and fellowships awarded to college students in the nation. In 2023, Louisiana Tech had one Truman Scholarship finalist and two Goldwater Scholars.

Study Abroad – For students who want to increase their global perspective, study abroad combines classroom instruction with cross-cultural experiences.

Phi Kappa Phi – One of the oldest and highly respected honor societies in the United States, Phi Kappa Phi includes students from all academic backgrounds. The Louisiana Tech Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi is open to the top 7% of juniors and top 10% of seniors, as well as faculty and staff.

Director of Honors Joe Koskie understands the importance of cohesive and motivated efforts when it comes to Tech’s honors endeavors.

“The Honors College raises the game of the entire University,” Koskie said. “It can become a repository of resources that can drive innovation on the campus and create interesting opportunities educationally and culturally. It’s something that can set us apart in the state and in the region.”

Despite its newness, the College already has a vision for growth, including collaborating with individual programs on campus to broaden the selection of honors courses and ensure honors students of every major have enriched experiences within their curriculum.

The pooling of resources provided by the Honors College is one of the reasons Assistant Director of Honors Joel Stake is excited for the students within its programs.

“This collective of programs will help our students see the rest of the world and help the rest of the world see our students,” Stake said. “We have great engineering students, for example. The Honors College can provide context around that engineering, taking it beyond the act of building great bridges and doing great things. Those students will understand why they’re doing good work and how it impacts their communities.”

Students do not have to be enrolled in the University Honors Program to take advantage of the resources provided by the other areas of the Honors College, such as the study abroad program’s partnership with the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES) that will create internship opportunities for students outside of the country.

The Honors College umbrella is designed with the success of Louisiana Tech’s students in mind.

“This is a step forward for the University in the realm of academic distinction,” said University President Les Guice. “The Honors College is not just a collection of programs; it’s a testament to our commitment to cultivating well-rounded, inquisitive minds. This initiative underscores our belief in the transformative power of education and our dedication to nurturing a community of scholars, thinkers, and global citizens.”

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