Organization

University of North Dakota

Project Description

Analyzing the Honors Program: A Survey of Students and Faculty to Assess the Fulfillment of Its Goals

Project Abstract

The University of North Dakota takes pride in its rich tradition of academic and scholarly achievement. As the university celebrates its 125th anniversary, one cannot help but wonder what some of the factors are contributing to the success of the many graduates who pass through the University of North Dakota each year. The Honors Program is one factor supplementing the achievement of some graduates. In what ways does the Honors Program add to the academic success of its participating students? What are the goals and visions of the Honors Program faculty in terms of academic success? Do these goals and visions correlate between students and faculty and with the six current goals of the Honors Program?
The Honors Program began in 1961 as a unique opportunity for intellectual exploration on campus. Currently, the Honors Program helps students to learn to think independently and critically through specialized Honors courses, service learning, and thesis writing. The Honors Program is staffed by five fulltime faculty members, as well as numerous professors from the University of North Dakota community who teach classes through the Honors Program.
As a student in the Honors Program at the University of North Dakota, I am interested in exploring the perspectives on the Honors Program through the eyes of students and faculty. The purpose of exploring these perspectives is to determine whether or not the Honors Program is effective in promoting the development of the six Honors Program goals: thinking, writing, scholarly inquiry, perspective, citizenship, and speaking.
By investigating these perspectives of the Honors Program, I hope to offer valuable information to the program concerning the program�s strengths and weaknesses. For example, if professors and students think the Honors Program does an excellent job at developing thinking and writing, but a poor job at developing speaking, Honors Program faculty could modify curriculum, teaching methods, or class structures to promote the underdeveloped goal. Any information gained through this project would be a valuable resource for Honors Program faculty and staff.
My primary methods for accumulating information on the perspectives of the Honors Program will be interviews of faculty, surveys of students, review of Sophomore Honors Portfolio data, and scholarly research. The surveys and interviews will ask for input on the ability of the Honors Program to effectively fulfill its six goals. After being approved by the University of North Dakota�s Institutional Review Board, I will interview the Honors Program faculty to assess their visions and goals for the program. I will then survey the students to see if their thoughts, ideas, and opinions of the Honors Program match the faculty�s visions and goals. Finally, I will look at the evaluations of Sophomore Honors Program Portfolios from the past three years to establish which goals students were strongest in halfway through their college career. After completion of the research, I will complete an analysis of the data to determine the Honors Program�s strengths and weaknesses in fulfilling its six goals.
I anticipate there will be a positive correlation between professors and students for the visions and goals of the Honors Program. However, I think the Honors Program will have definite strengths and weaknesses made apparent through the surveys, interviews, and research. A likely outcome of this project is data which will both inspire the Honors Program to continue on in its tradition of excellence and challenge the program to make any necessary changes for its betterment.
Through scholarly research, I wish to compare goals and vision of faculty in the Honors Program with the goals and vision of students in this department. These ideas will then be compared to progress documented from the Sophomore Honors Portfolios and the six official goals of the Honors Program. Although I expect to find many common variables and some discrepancies between the two groups of people questioned and the official goals, any information gained will be of benefit to the faculty. This analysis will enable me to recommend changes or improvements within the University of North Dakota�s Honors Program.

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Questions
Analyzing the UND Honors Program 13
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