DIETRICH HONORS INSTITUTE Informing, Forming, Transforming
Annual Report for the 2012-2013 Academic Year
Submitted by Curtis L. Thompson, DHI Director Lisa M. Walton, DHI Assistant Director
July 31, 2013
Contents Mission, Vision, Identity of Thiel College
DHI Mission, Motto, Vision
DHI Core Goal Values
DHI Essential Learning Outcomes
DHI Curricular Option: Blue & Gold Tracks
Description of the Nine Regular DHI Courses
DHI Residential Option
DHI Field Trips
DHI Study Abroad
Books of Honors Presentations
DHI Governing Groups
DHI Planning Documents
The DHI E-Journal, The Harlequin
DHI Symposium for Excellence
DHI Service Project
DHI and Social Media
The 2013 DHI Recruited Class
Basic Characteristics of a Fully Developed Honors Program
Annual Report for the 2012-2013 Academic Year MISSION, VISION, IDENTITY OF THIEL COLLEGE Mission of Thiel College Thiel College, an academic institution in the Lutheran tradition, empowers individuals to reach their full potential by assuring educational excellence, stimulating global awareness, promoting ethical and responsible leadership and preparing students for careers so that lives inspired by truth and freedom may be committed to service in the world. Vision of Thiel College Thiel College is committed to developing and delivering innovative academic and cocurricular programs incorporating ethical and global perspectives, providing opportunities for students to discover and prepare for leadership in their chosen careers, enrolling students from the global populations, celebrating diversity within its community and cultivating thriving living/learning communities. Identity of Thiel College Thiel College, an independent institution related to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and established in Western Pennsylvania in 1866 as a co-educational institution, educates students in the liberal arts and professional studies for service to society.
Figure 1 A collage of Thiel College.
Figure 2 Kenneth and Marianna Brown Dietrich.
Figure 3 William Dietrich II.
DHI MISSION, MOTTO, VISION DHI Mission Educating in its deepest meaning is the process of shaping the human into the form of true humanity, into a knowledgeable human being of character committed to serving the greater good. The Dietrich Honors Institute endeavors to create full human beings whose breadth of knowledge, strength of character, and thoughtfulness of action make them natural leaders in the world. The DHI curriculum and cocurriculum are designed to form students in this threefold sense of informing through the acquisition of knowledge, forming through the building of character, and transforming through engagement in serving the larger world. Figure 4 Honors students, first DHI event, August, 2012. DHI Motto Where ideas, character, and action form leaders for the world. DHI Vision At the end of its four-year developmental phase the Dietrich Honors Institute of Thiel College will include 250 Dietrich Scholars. These individuals will be strong students who possess demonstrated gifts of various sorts. Participating in the Dietrich Honors 2
Institute will mean being enriched by giving to and receiving from a diverse community of passionate and purpose-filled people.
Figure 5 Greenville Hall, Thiel College
DHI CORE GOAL VALUES Informing General Knowledge Critical Thinking Interdisciplinary Learning Forming Effective Communication Collegial Identity Ethical Leadership Transforming Diversity Advocacy Civic Engagement Project management
Figure 6 Sophomore Honors class, HON 212.
18 DHI ESSENTIAL LEARNING OUTCOMES, LISTED UNDER THE 9 ESSENTIAL LEARNING GOALS Dietrich Honors Scholars graduating from Thiel College should be able to: Informing ELG 1: General Knowledge ELO 1: Demonstrate knowledge of how to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively and responsibly use and share information, and explore issues, objects, and works through the collection and analysis of evidence that result in informed conclusions or judgments. ELO 2: Demonstrate knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world as a result of engaging with big questions considered in relation to the past, the present, and the future. ELG 2: Critical Thinking ELO 3: Evaluate how content is shaped by the context in which it was created and the context in which it is being interpreted, apply discipline-based and/or cross-disciplined-based higher order thinking to such evaluating, and solve problems using appropriate strategies. ELO 4: Demonstrate an instilled critical transdisciplinary habit of mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating judgments or conclusions. ELG 3: Interdisciplinary Learning ELO 5: Show evidence of having integrated knowledge and understanding of ideas, images, narratives, arguments, and strategies from across disciplines in a way that is imaginative and characterized by a high degree of creativity and risk-taking. ELO 6: Respect the beliefs and practices of diverse peoples, engage constructively with drastically different worldviews, and appreciate the broad reaches of curricular and co-curricular experiences. Forming ELG 4: Effective Communication ELO 7: Employ writing skills, oral communication skills, media/computer communication skills, and listening communication skills in expressing ideas and concepts clearly and persuasively in multiple formats and contexts. ELO 8: Formulate and develop claims with sufficient support, including reasoning, evidence, persuasive appeals, and proper attribution where necessary. ELG 5: Collegial Identity ELO 9: Document numerous experiences of cooperating and collaborating in the classroom that have helped to shape oneâ€™s personal identity as marked by collegiality. ELO 10: Demonstrate having learned through repetition the value of putting effort into team tasks, interacting appropriately with others on a team, and making quantitatively and qualitatively significant contributions to team discussion. ELG 8: Ethical Leadership ELO 11: Understand that moral integrity calls us to operate with the self-critical awareness that there are different perspectives on right and wrong, good and bad human conduct, different ways that these perspectives are applied to ethical situations, and different styles of leading. ELO 12: Demonstrate ownership of oneâ€™s educational process, exhibit disciplined work habits as an individual, practice behavior in keeping with appropriate standards of professionalism and 4
respect for intellectual property, bear testimony to having designed and led an activity that serves the world, and understand that employing an empowering mode of leading facilitates the contributions of team members. Transforming ELG 7: Diversity Advocacy ELO 13: Interact comfortably and effectively in a variety of cultural contexts because of having acquired the set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills and characteristics that support such interaction. ELO 14: Draw on the experience of having participated meaningfully in a project that calls not just for affirming difference and diversity but for advocating for difference and diversity. ELG 8: Civic Engagement ELO 15: Bear witness to practical experiences undertaken that have demanded knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to work toward making a difference in the civic life of communities. ELO 16: Learn personally about civic engagement by participating in DHI-related service projects and reflecting on the importance of such civic action. ELG 9: Project Management ELO 17: Conceive, plan, and execute a high-quality research and/or creative capstone project in the appropriate disciplinary or multi-disciplinary context. ELO 18: Manage oneâ€™s DHI portfolio in such a way that it provides evidence of having successfully mastered these Essential Learning Outcomes.
Figure 7 The blue and gold colors of Thiel College.
DHI CURRICULAR OPTIONS: BLUE & GOLD TRACKS The Dietrich Honors Institute curriculum offers students the option of two different tracks. A traditional track of Honors courses (the DHI Blue track) allows students to earn all of their Honors credits in courses specifically designed for the Dietrich Honors Institute. These courses include the four DHI courses taken during the freshman year, the two during the sophomore year, the two during the junior year, the senior capstone DHI course, and at least one DHI elective course. For some students requiring a less regimented schedule because of heavy requirements for their major(s), there is the more flexible track (the DHI Gold track). It allows students to take the four DHI courses in the first year and the senior capstone DHI course, but then to meet the other requirements through a more individualized program that is designed by the student in conjunction 5
with the DHI Directors. This will usually involve taking a number of DHI-enhanced courses in the student’s area of study.
DESCRIPTIONS OF THE NINE REGULAR DHI COURSES HON 109 BECOMING HUMAN: LOVE, POWER, JUSTICE (3 CH) This First Year Seminar course gives students the opportunity to think together about what it means to become a human being by considering the three big questions of love, power, and justice. If love is the reunion of that which is separated, power is the quest of the free individual for understanding and action that shapes the self, and justice tends to the structuring of life in such a way that power’s questing can eventuate in love—then these three big ideas each play an essential role in the process of individuals becoming full human beings. This course also serves as an orientation to college life, to the Dietrich Honors Institute, and to participating in a seminar. HON 113 COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY: GRAMMAR, DIALECTIC, RHETORIC ( 3 CH) The “trivium” of the classical liberal arts includes grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric, which deal respectively with language, reasoning, and persuasion. The art of grammar teaches the student to speak and write well. The student learns about dialectic or logic or reasoning by engaging in the give and take with others students and the teacher and reflecting on the process of thinking through discussion, debate, argumentation, and questioning. In rhetoric the student learns the science of communication and the art of persuasive writing and speech. HON 114 CREATING CULTURE: ANCIENT, MEDIEVAL, MODERN (3 CH) Students are introduced to highlights in the history, literature, art, music, philosophy, and religion of western humanities. Greece and Rome are emphasized in the ancient period; civilization and thought of the Mediterranean area and Europe are stressed in the medieval period, culminating in the Renaissance; and the Reformation and early modern developments are underscored up until 1789 or the beginning of the French Revolution. Big ideas and major people are lifted up for each period, with connections being drawn from one period to the next. HON 128 INTERPRETING SCRIPTURES: JEWISH, CHRISTIAN, ISLAMIC 3 CH) In religious communities writings can take on a sacred aura and serve important functions for adherents of the given faith. This is surely the case within the three major monotheistic traditions of the western world. This course uses historical-critical methods to examine the Hebrew Bible of Judaism (the Old Testament of Christians), the New Testament of Christianity, and The Qur’an of Islam. In learning the way to interpret these texts, the focus falls on their meaning for life in the contemporary world.
HON 126 COMPOSING CONTEXTUALLY: ENLIGHTENMENT, ROMANTICISM, POSTMODERNISM (3 CH) This course continues two other Honors courses, namely, HON 113, the composition course Communicating Effectively: Grammar, Dialectic, Logic, and HON 114, the course in the history of western humanities entitled Creating Culture: Ancient, Medieval, Modern. While covering the history of western humanities from the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the course also allows students to develop further their composition skills in the context of studying these two fascinating centuries of creating culture. Highlighted will be three major cultural configurations: first, the Enlightenment, with its emphasis on reason, universality, and form; second, the backlash against the Enlightenment in Romanticism with its stress on emotion, individuality, and freedom; and third, the revolt against the Enlightenment and Romanticism trajectories of modernity in postmodernism, which accentuates relativism, pluralism, and fragmentation. HON 127 EMERGING REALITY: UNIVERSE, LIFE, MIND (3 CH) The notion of emergence has been gaining currency in various disciplines over the past few decades. This course studies three sequential big bangs that have given rise to human experience: the big bang of matter-energy some 13.7 billion years ago, the big bang of life some 3.5 to 4 billion years ago, and the big bang of human self-consciousness rather more recently. These three moments in realityâ€™s emergence mark the most important events, at least from the perspective of human beings, in the history of cosmic evolution. Physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, and neuroscience will give us insights into these three. HON 137 EMERGING REALITY LAB (1 CH) This laboratory course, Emerging Reality Lab, HON 137, is a supplement to the course Emerging Reality: Universe, Life, Mind, HON 127. It serves as an introduction to the natural sciences in general and supports the basic content of the Emerging Reality course, which centers on the coming to be of the universe in the Big Bang together with the emergence of life and the emergence of mind or human self-consciousness. Four labs will be related to each of these three major moments of our evolving universe. No sophisticated level of mathematical proficiency will be assumed in the course. Those students majoring in one of the sciences are exempted from taking this lab course that accompanies Emerging Reality, HON 127. HON 230 UNDERSTANDING GLOBALIZATION: MARKETS, IMAGES, SUSTAINABILITY (3 CH) The notion of globalization took on new meaning after the era of exploration and discovery in the 16th century. But the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 was an exceptional event in world history that ushered in a new era of globalization. After that event many countries made the transition to democracy and market economics. Over the past two decades markets have been increasingly shaped by the power of images to influence 7
consumers to purchase goods. Global economic forces sometimes threaten earth processes that are needed for sustaining life. Called for today is thoughtful reflection concerning how economic prosperity can occur while at the same time honoring the sustainability of the Earth. HON 240 APPRECIATING CREATIVITY: ARTISTIC, SCIENTIFIC, SOCIETAL (3 CH) Creativity is alive in nature; as creatures embedded in the natural world, human beings participate in the creative advance of the universe. This course gives students the opportunity to gain an appreciation for the multi-faceted reality of creativity. Many types of human creativity are investigated with the intent of identifying ways in which these creative forms differ from one another and yet are the same. The comparison of creativity as manifested in the world of artists, of scientists, and of societies will contribute to appreciating this fundamental human characteristic. The course will set the stage for the senior capstone course to be taken in the following year, during which each student will present their creative project. HON 340 CONTRIBUTING CULTURALLY: RESEARCHING, CREATING, PRESENTING (3 CH) For this course, there will be separate senior capstone seminars in each of the four major divisions of the disciplinesâ€”the humanities, the natural sciences, the social sciences, and professional studies, with the experience culminating in the presenting of a significant research and/or creative achievement. Students will conceive, plan, and execute a high-quality project in the appropriate disciplinary or multi-disciplinary context. If the student is situated in a department that already has a senior capstone expectation, he or she will work cooperatively with departmental professors to ensure that those expectations as well as those of the DHI are met. A focus on ethics will find its place in the course as general ethical principles are taught across the four seminars while more specific ethical issues of each division are accommodated within the particular context of each seminar.
DHI RESIDENTIAL OPTION We are grateful to the cooperative spirit of those in the Student Life Division who made it possible for DHI students to have the option of living in the Hodge Hall residence. During their first year at the College and in the Institute, students experience many significant events. They take four of their ten required Honors courses and they start to form closes relationships with other DHI Scholars in those courses. The option of being able to reside in the same residence hall with others in the DHI will further facilitate the building of relationships. This will help to place the DHI mark on first year students and should help to retain them in the Institute.
Figure 8 Hodge Hall, the premium housing option that DHI students can choose.
DHI SCHOLARSHIPS Another important factor for recruiting students is scholarships. All students coming into the new Dietrich Honors Institute have received a $1,000.00 scholarship. This scholarship policy likely made a difference in attracting students into the DHI program and, since the scholarship follows students remaining in the DHI, it should help to retain them in it. Key members of the administrative team are to be commended for working together to make possible this DHI scholarship.
DHI RECRUITMENT The DHI vision calls for recruiting â€œdiversely gifted Dietrich Scholars whose lives will be enriched by giving to and receiving from a learning community filled with passionate and purposeful people.â€? Identifying the gifts of prospective students was a central aspect of the recruiting process. Establishing a structure of recruiting qualified students was a work in progress during the first year. One procedure we developed to identify potential DHI Scholars involved a weekly review of all students admitted to the College that week. Each Thursday we would determine which newly admitted students met the criteria for admission to the DHI. We then scrutinized the applications of those qualified students to identify their unique gifts. Invitation letters to qualified Figure 9 Various gifts of DHI prospective students. 9
students referenced their personal gifts and attempted to point out the way their joining the DHI could enrich the Honors and College communities. A DHI brochure and a response card were included along with the letter of invitation. When we received word that a student was accepting the invitation to be in the DHI, we sent a DHI Membership Card to the student. The Membership Card gave a $25.00 credit at the Thiel Bookstore.
Figure 10 Example of a DHI Membership Card.
DHI staff members think that the recruitment process we created was quite effective. In addition to the formal process of invitation, we also met with many students who were visiting the College. This personal contact, plus student contact we had on official Visit Days and Scholarship Competition Days, provided another essential dimension to recruiting. The one major effort to reach out to other prospects, namely, a mailing campaign that sent more wide-ranging, inquiring letters to about 180 students in the general inquiry pool who had been identified as good Honors prospects, proved to be an abysmal failure. We did not receive a single response from that campaign. On a more successful front, we did take the initiative to identify prospects for the DHI who were very close to meeting the requirements. Working in conjunction with admissions counselors, we invited these students to apply to the program by writing a personal statement explaining why they would like to join the DHI and why they were good candidates for admission. This process did yield nine extra students.
DHI FIELD TRIPS A few field trips were taken during the 2012-2013 academic year. A Sunday afternoon in October was spent kayaking down the Shenango River. An eight-mile trip allowed students to enjoy the natural habitat and the fresh air along the river while getting in a fun workout. November 34 found a DHI group traveling to Chicago where they enjoyed a stroll along Lake Michigan, brunch in Hyde Park, some sights at the University of Chicago, the Field Museum of Natural History, deepFigure 11 Molly Preston and Colin Vitale enjoying the Shanango River. dish pizza, walking 10
down Miracle Mile, a van-tour of the city, another brunch on the North Side, a play at Second City Comedy Theater, and a trip up to the John Hancock Observatory. A trip to New York City took place the weekend after Spring Break. Students experienced Times Square, Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Broadway musical “Chicago,” a delicious Italian meal, and much more.
Figure 12 DHI students in Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago.
Figure 13 DHI students enjoying an Italian dinner in Manhattan.
DHI STUDY ABROAD It is close to impossible to develop a strong honors program without also developing a strong study abroad program. Study abroad is one of the first topics to come up in conversations with very capable students and their parents. During our first year we were not able to accomplish very much in this area, but we did make a start. Although the process of getting the trip in place was more last-minute than desirable, the final result was relatively unblemished. Thiel College, working together with EF Study College Tours, orga- Figure 13 The Thiel contingent plus others from nized a 10-day trip to Italy. Six students and one our group at the Pompeii public square with Mt. Vesuvius in the background. advisor were able to enjoy what some of them identified as “an experience of a lifetime.” The Grand Tour of Italy brought them to 11
Venice, Florence, Assisi, Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, and Rome. The course associated with the trip was HON 480, Special Project: The History and Culture of Italy. Students were given significant support from the College to help make the study abroad experience possible and they in turn committed themselves to eventually contributing to support this type of experience for others in the future. More remains to be worked out on this matter of College assistance, but the foundation has been laid for creating a model for institutional support of Figure 15 The six students--Kate Young, Sean Oros, Liz study abroad. Further refinements Rice, Tori McMullen, Colin Vitale, Emily Skebo, along with should be able to result in an equation their advisor Curt Thompson--at the Paris Airport prior to of assistance and paying it forward that their trip back to Pittsburgh. will nurture study abroad at Thiel and do it in a way that is sustainable over the long haul. We hope that this yearâ€™s study abroad experience will serve as a launching pad for an expansion of study abroad for DHI students as well as for all students of Thiel College. We will do what we can to support the work of Dr. Matt Morgan, the Director of Study Abroad at Thiel College.
BOOKS OF HONORS PRESENTATIONS On April 13, 2013 the Honors Symposium and Banquet was held in the Lutheran Heritage Room at Thiel College. The program stated that at this event junior Honors students would present original research based on conventional methodologies with creative analysis and applications. Festivities started with a light breakfast and this was followed by the six presentations. During their junior year, honors students have historically completed their capstone experience, which consists of taking two classes that culminate in an interdisciplinary, original research project. HON 3121, Honors Interdisciplinary Course III, focuses on Figure 16 Dr. David Buck of the History department introduces the the topic of creativity in its DHI Symposium. broadest sense and HON 322, Honors Interdisciplinary Course IV, provides the opportunity for students to continue 12
their work in creativity by selecting a topic that allows them to integrate library research with their own original contributions.
Figure 17 Various guests in attendance at the 2013 DHI Symposium and Banquet.
The Honors Program of Thiel College has been in operation now for three decades. It has served a small group of students in each class since 1983. The public presentation of a significant creative project has been a part of the Honors Program since the beginning. Until now, however, there has been no effort to gather these presentations together and incorporate them into a manuscript for publication. The Dietrich Honors Institute intends to publish a book of presentations for each of the past three years. The papers to be included in the first book published are from the interdisciplinary classes conducted by Dr. David Buck of the History Department during the 2012-13 academic year. The six students in the class were John Amorose, Samantha Hoffman, Kelsey Robertson, Joy Tubero, Kevin Walkup, and Katelyn Young. A wonderful event occurred on Saturday, April 13, when this six-some presented at the Honors Symposium and Banquet. Each presenter held forth for about half an hour. Family members, other students, faculty, and administrators were in attendance. After the presentations a banquet meal was enjoyed by all and awards were given out to various people who had shown special support to the Dietrich Honors Institute during the first year of its existence. Kevin Barger was the Banquet speaker. He made the trip with his wife Beth from Richmond, Virginia, where he is an executive with Blue Cross. Kevin 13
and Beth both graduated from Thiel twenty years ago and they both were members of the Honors Program. Kevin’s well-received speech incorporated content from each of the morning’s presentations while recounting meaningful memories and imparting wisdom for life.
DHI GOVERNING GROUPS Two groups were established this year that help with the governing of the Dietrich Honors Institute. Two students per class were chosen to serve on the DHI Student Advisory Board, the DHI body that gives advice on the day-to-day operations of the Dietrich Honors Institute. Freshman representatives were Kourtney Polvinale and Cassie Graham. Sean Oros and Sara Toombs represented the sophomore class and John Amorose and Kevin Walkup the junior. Senior reps were Mariah Poage and Caitlin Ferry. The Student Advisory Board met at noon on the last Thursday of the month. Two students and four faculty members served with the DHI staff on the DHI Honors Council. Shane Martin and Kayla Ohlin served as student representatives. They joined faculty members Cindy Sutton of Sociology, Melissa Oakes of Business Administration, Anna Reinsel of Environmental Science, and Matt Morgan of Philosophy. The Council has responsibility for determining policies for the DHI. The Council met at noon on the last Friday of the month.
DHI PLANNING DOCUMENTS Two planning documents have been created at the end of this year to help the DHI to function smoothly next year. The DHI Communication Plan draws on the schedule and procedures developed during the 2012-13 academic year to outline the details of communications that will be required to run an effective recruitment campaign for the upcoming year. The DHI Calendar of Events places on the calendar of the months August through May all of the DHI events that will be occurring, from the field trips to the meetings of the governing bodies and everything in-between. These two planning documents should help to keep us on task as we execute our duties and responsibilities of the Dietrich Honors Institute during the coming year.
THE DHI E-JOURNAL: THE HARLEQUIN Much effort went into getting the DHI e-journal off the ground but to no avail. It looked as though the labors of many could be salvaged at the end of the school year by launching the first issue on “Beginnings”; however, other institutional priorities prevented that from taking place. It is hoped that the first issue will be able to appear during the fall semester of the 2013-14 academic year. A first order of business will be to reconsider what we and the DHI students want the nature of this journal to be and to establish the editorial team that will carry the work forward. Figure 18 "The Harlequin" by Paul Cézanne
DHI SYMPOSIUM FOR EXCELLENCE A major part of the DHI program for next year will be the weekly meetings to be held from 8:00 to 9:30 each Thursday evening. It will be an optional event open to DHI Scholars and to FoDHIs (Friends of DHI students). This will be an opportunity for informal socializing and for talking about concerns that might arise in the course of student studies and life at College. We believe it will help students get to know one another better in a non-academic setting and also for DHI students in different graduating classes to become better acquainted.
DHI AMBASSADORS From the beginning of the DHI thought has been given to have students serve as Ambassadors for the DHI and the College at large. Many Honors programs around the country have such Ambassadors and the position is usually regarded as one of prestige. While this program did not begin to function during the 2012-13 academic year, its foundation has been laid for next year. Selected as the first six DHI Ambassadors were: Katelyn Young and John Amorose (rising seniors), Sean Oros and Colin Vitale (rising juniors), and Kourtney Polvinale and Cassie Graham (rising sophomores). In the fall semester they will begin their duties of representing the DHI and Thiel College at public functions.
DHI SERVICE PROJECTS Since the DHI intends to facilitate arenas within which students will be able to be engaged in action, it will necessarily be sponsoring various types of service projects. During the first year, little was accomplished in this area. Students should definitely play a significant role in selecting service projects they want to support. But one project has fallen into our laps because of the identity of Thiel College as related to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. That is the Malaria Campaign. The DHI and Thielâ€™s campus ministry program have received an ELCA grant to support work on behalf of African children who are currently dying from malaria at a rate of one every 45 seFigure 19 Nearly 800,000 people die each year from malaria. Most are women, and many are children under 5. A child under 5 dies every 45 seconds in Africa from malaria. However, the disease is completely preventable and treatable.
conds. The goal is to raise monies that will provide mosquito nets, insecticides, medication, health care, and education to help eliminate deaths from this disease.
DHI AND SOCIAL MEDIA Since most students no longer identify e-mail as a preferred form of communicating, we will attempt to employ alternative communication tools to stay in touch with those in the DHI and FoDHIs (Friends of DHI). During the coming year the DHI will make significant use of various social media. Junior Shane Martin and Senior John Amorose will be providing creative leadership for the DHI Facebook page. Junior Sara Toombs has graciously and enthusiastically consented to oversee the twice-weekly tweets on DHI Twitter. These 140-character messages will help to keep those associated with the DHI up-to-date on the major DHI activities.
Figure 20 One of the offices in the DHI suite in Roth Hall.
DHI SPACE We are grateful for the space that was given to the Dietrich Honors Institute in the early going of the 2012-2013 academic year. The suite of offices on the second floor of Roth Hall provides a congenial space for the operations of the DHI, a pleasant area for students to work on The Harlequin, a good-sized conference room, and one office for the Director. This space worked well for those who had a place within it. In January of 2013, when the DHI Assistant Director, Lisa Walton, began her duties after returning from her sabbatical, there was no space for her to join us. As we look to our second year, this is clearly one of the most pressing, if not the most pressing, needs of the DHI: to be housed in a space where all three of usâ€”the Director, the Assistant Director, and the Program Coordinatorâ€”can be in close proximity as we carry out our DHI responsibilities. Being together in such a space would surely contribute to the efficacy and effectiveness of the DHI. It should also be stated that, while the Honors Lounge located in 16
AC 210 serves an important function in giving Honors students a place to converse, study, rest, and relax between classes, its shortcomings with the large incoming class will become apparent within days after the semester starts.
DHI STAFF Our staff was fully functioning during the spring semester, and the three of us got to know each other well as we worked closely together on discharging the various DHI duties and responsibilities. We look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts as we attempt to shepherd the Dietrich Honors Institute into its fullness of being over the next four years. Lisa, Kateri, and I are ready to face the challenge of laboring with dedication and resolve to make the Dietrich Honors Institute flourish at Thiel College so that our whole College community might benefit from the impact of its rich diversity, intellectual intensity, and dynamic vitality.
Figure 21 Program Coordinator Kateri Linn exuding her energetic spiritual force into the DHI space.
THE 2013 DHI RECRUITED CLASS We are excited about the students we have recruited into the DHI who will together constitute the first class. We made the decision to go with an emphasis on gifts of all kinds that will enrich the DHI and Thiel College as a whole and we have maintained our commitment to that vision. The requirement for being invited into the DHI was for the student to meet two of these three criteria: 3.5 Grade Point Average, 1100 SAT (combined Math and Verbal) or 24 ACT (composite), and top 15% of oneâ€™s class. Not all high schools are of the same quality, so in a less rigorous high school a given student might have the grade point and class rank but have test scores that miss the mark by quite a bit. In those instances we have followed our principles and made the invitation. In other instances, a student might have been very close to meeting the standards, for example, having a grade point just under a 3.5 with strong test scores and class rank; we 17
have encouraged such students to write a brief essay indicating why they would like to be in the DHI and how they would contribute to it. Nine students were admitted into the DHI by way of this process of special petition. The statistics on the next page disclose a general profile of the students recruited into the DHI for the fall of 2013. More can be learned about these DHI students as one looks at comparable figures for incoming non-DHI students who are registered for this next year. Their average GPA is 3.12, their average SAT is 940, their average ACT is 19.9, and their average class rank is 42.5%. This group of students comes from 19 different states and they are about 50:50 on the female-to-male ratio. Total number of students invited into the DHI Total number of students accepting the DHI invitation Total number of students recruited into the DHI from our student body
415 62 2
Average GPA of all students invited into the DHI Average GPA of students accepting the DHI invitation
Average SAT of all students invited into the DHI Average SAT of students accepting the DHI invitation
Average ACT of all students invited into the DHI Average ACT of students accepting the DHI invitation
Average class rank of all students invited into the DHI Average class rank of students accepting the DHI invitation
Percentage of students accepting the DHI invitation who are female Percentage of students accepting the DHI invitation who are male
Number of students accepting the DHI invitation who chose DHI Housing Percentage of students accepting the DHI invitation who chose DHI Housing
Geographical distribution of students accepting the DHI invitation: FL 1 MD 1 NY 3 OH 13
Number of freshmen students registered at Thiel who declined the DHI invitation 25 Number of freshmen students registered last year who had declined Honors 53 Number of strong DHI commits lost to other schools in April-May
As we look ahead to the upcoming academic year, there will be 62 freshmen, 14 sophomores, 9 juniors, 7 seniors in the Dietrich Honors Institute. That makes a total of 92 DHI students. We hope to see that total increase to 160 next year. 18
The first year of the Dietrich Honors Institute has come to a close. Nine students who had participated in Thielâ€™s Honors Program graduated in May. As we reflect in retrospect on what has been accomplished in the first year, we can conclude that we have made an excellent beginning. The DHI curriculum has been created and faculty has been selected for courses offered in Fall 2013. The first DHI class has been recruited. Multifaceted DHI programming has been instituted. A complete structure for a fullbodied Dietrich Honors Institute has been put in place. The larger Thiel community has accepted the idea of the DHI and many have lent their support to getting it off the ground. The foundation has been established for continuing on the pathway to making the Dietrich Honors Institute a national flagship Honors program. We extend our gratitude to all those who have supported the DHI and we look forward to all the new developments that will take place in our second year.
BASIC CHARACTERISTICS OF A FULLY DEVELOPED HONORS PROGRAM Although no single or definitive honors program model can or should be superimposed on all types of institutions, the National Collegiate Honors Council has identified a number of best practices that are common to successful and fully developed honors programs. We need to keep these characteristics in mind as we continue to give the appropriate form to the institution we are creating. 1. The honors program offers carefully designed educational experiences that meet the needs and abilities of the undergraduate students it serves. A clearly articulated set of admission criteria (e.g., GPA, SAT score, a written essay, satisfactory progress, etc.) identifies the targeted student population served by the honors program. The program clearly specifies the requirements needed for retention and satisfactory completion. The DHI measures up completely to this first characteristic. The Institute offers carefully designed educational experiences, clearly articulates its admission criteria, and specifies the requirements for being retained in and completing the program. 2. The program has a clear mandate from the institutionâ€™s administration in the form of a mission statement or charter document that includes the objectives and responsibilities of honors and defines the place of honors in the administrative and academic structure of the institution. The statement ensures the permanence and stability of honors by guaranteeing that adequate infrastructure resources, including an appropriate budget as well as appropriate faculty, staff, and administrative support when necessary, are allocated to honors so that the program avoids dependence on the good will and energy of particular faculty members or administrators for survival. In other words, the program is fully institutionalized (like comparable units on campus) so that it can build a lasting tradition of excellence.
We do indeed have clarity on most of the elements of such an institutional mandate and those elements yet somewhat unclear are receiving more focused formulation as the DHI continues to develop. 3. The honors director reports to the chief academic officer of the institution. The Director of the Dietrich Honors Institute does report directly to the Vice President of Academic Affairs or Academic Dean. 4. The honors curriculum, established in harmony with the mission statement, meets the needs of the students in the program and features special courses, seminars, colloquia, experiential learning opportunities, undergraduate research opportunities, or other independent-study options. Most of these elements are being set into place and subsequent evaluations will need to determine the extent to which the needs of the DHI students are being met. 5. The program requirements constitute a substantial portion of the participantsâ€™ undergraduate work, typically 20% to 25% of the total course work and certainly no less than 15%. The basic 31 credits of the DHI constitute 25% of the 124 credits required for graduation, so we are in good shape on this basic characteristic. 6. The curriculum of the program is designed so that honors requirements can, when appropriate, also satisfy general education requirements, major or disciplinary requirements, and preprofessional or professional training requirements. The courses in the DHI Blue and Gold Tracks constitute the DHI general education requirement, and the four or five courses students can take as honors-enhanced courses in the Gold Track, in most cases, also count as meeting major or disciplinary requirements. 7. The program provides a locus of visible and highly reputed standards and models of excellence for students and faculty across the campus. We will be striving to bring this characteristic into reality and can build on a long-standing Honors Program that has fared well on this characteristic. 8. The criteria for selection of honors faculty include exceptional teaching skills, the ability to provide intellectual leadership and mentoring for able students, and support for the mission of honors education. Criteria for selecting honors faculty have not yet been formalized. It would likely be good to establish criteria that would include faculty members who 1) are tenured or tenure-track, 2) have a history of receiving strong stu-
dent ratings, 3) are fully supportive of the mission and vision of the DHI, and 4) are excited about being able to teach in the Institute. 9. The program is located in suitable, preferably prominent, quarters on campus that provide both access for the students and a focal point for honors activity. Those accommodations include space for honors administrative, faculty, and support staff functions as appropriate. They may include space for an honors lounge, library, reading rooms, and computer facilities. If the honors program has a significant residential component, the honors housing and residential life functions are designed to meet the academic and social needs of honors students. The statement above on DHI Space addresses our status in relation to this characteristic. 10. The program has a standing committee or council of faculty members that works with the director or other administrative officer and is involved in honors curriculum, governance, policy, development, and evaluation deliberations. The composition of that group represents the colleges and/or departments served by the program and also elicits support for the program from across the campus. The Honors Council fulfills this characteristic. 11. Honors students are assured a voice in the governance and direction of the honors program. This can be achieved through a student committee that conducts its business with as much autonomy as possible but works in collaboration with the administration and faculty to maintain excellence in the program. Honors students are included in governance, serving on the advisory/policy committee as well as constituting the group that governs the student association. The Honors Student Advisory Board together with the Honors Council that has two students serving on it that have been formed and met during the past year fulfill this characteristic. 12. Honors students receive honors-related academic advising from qualified faculty and/or staff. We depend on faculty in particular majors to be informed about Honors so that they can provide good advising for Honors students. To the extent that this happens, they receive the assistance called for. 13. The program serves as a laboratory within which faculty feel welcome to experiment with new subjects, approaches, and pedagogies. When proven successful, such efforts in curriculum and pedagogical development can serve as prototypes for initiatives that can become institutionalized across the campus. 21
We hope there will be room for this type of experimenting and that developments in the DHI will assume features that might prove desirable for adoption in one form or another by the College. 14. The program engages in continuous assessment and evaluation and is open to the need for change in order to maintain its distinctive position of offering exceptional and enhanced educational opportunities to honors students. Assessment and evaluation of the DHI has not really begun. Procedures and criteria for such assessment and evaluation are being established. This will be an important part of the Institute, for closing the cycle on assessment and evaluation will be key for its continual improvement. 15. The program emphasizes active learning and participatory education by offering opportunities for students to participate in regional and national conferences, Honors Semesters, international programs, community service, internships, undergraduate research, and other types of experiential education. We have much to strive for in this area but not much to point to as having been actualized at this point in time. 16. When appropriate, two-year and four-year programs have articulation agreements by which honors graduates from two-year programs who meet previously agreed-upon requirements are accepted into four-year honors programs. At this point we have no such agreements in place. 17. The program provides priority enrollment for active honors students in recognition of scheduling difficulties caused by the need to satisfy both honors and major program(s) requirements. We are currently providing this benefit. The above statement of the 17 characteristics was approved by the NCHC Executive Committee on March 4, 1994; it was amended by the NCHC Board of Directors on November 23, 2007; and it was further amended by the NCHC Board of Directors on February 19, 2010