College of Liberal Arts creates honors program
Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
The College of Liberal Arts is launching a newly developed Honors Program which will enable students to gain opportunities by engaging in rigorous courses. The Liberal Arts Honors Program recruited 17 members during the summer; and they will begin their courses during the fall semester.
The LAHP was organized by Michael Topp, associate dean of Liberal Arts and associate professor of the History Department. According to Topp the development of the program lasted approximately a year, but the thought process has been in effect for five or six years.
This program is different from the Honors House at the university specifically because of the central focus for liberal arts students.
“When Pat Witherspoon became Dean of Liberal Arts, she suggested that we try a college focused, college specific effort to build an honors program,” Topp said.
Students that are currently involved in LAHP are ready for the upcoming challenge.
“I am glad that there is a program which focuses in academics while challenging students to step out of their comfort zones,” said Ledy Snyder, senior criminal justice major.
Sharon Murillo, junior philosophy major, is also looking forward to the semester.
“Being a LAHP student is an honor and is going to be a challenge on my own personal level,” she said. “It encourages me to become more involved in school while interacting with people that have similar goals than mine.”
In order to partake in the LAHP, students need to obtain at least a 3.5 GPA, have completed 45 credit hours, at least 12 of which have to have been completed at UTEP, and have a strong academic history.
Students interested can obtain an online application on the LAHP developing website. The application includes information on the documentation needed such as a resume and a three-question essay, only two of which need to be answered, according to Topp.
The program contains 19 liaisons and all are from different programs or departments, ranging from art to women’s studies.
“There’s a bunch of really talented people who have been helping us work this program,” Topp said.
Brad Cartwright, history professor, and Gina Nunez-Mchiri sociology and anthropology professor, are some of the prfessors that will be teaching upper level classes.
Curriculum for the LAHP includes a total of 18 credit hours, and of those, two are mandatory.
The first mandatory course is a co-taught/methodology in which students focus on how “knowledge gets produced in the ways of liberal arts,” Topp said.
The second mandatory and tail end course is a cross-disciplinary honors seminar in which students “work on an Honors thesis or projects with mentors from their home departments,” Topp said.
The remaining 12 hours, may be internships, study-abroad, major courses, minor courses and block-electives.
“We want to help facilitate students getting through here efficiently as possible,” Topp said.
Although the LAHP is opening this fall semester, advances in the program are in construction, including the making of an honors program minor.
Other assets of the LAHP include a joint membership with the 21st Century Scholars Program where LAHP students gain leadership skills. LAHP students are also invited to lectures, where they can personally meet with local speakers correlated to their pursued professions as well as intellectual speakers.
Overall, the newly established LAHP offers not only rigorous courses but also an insight into a strong academic and mental challenge, all of which will prepare students for the future.
“It will certainly be a very interesting experience,” Snyder said.
Reviews of applications for the next semester (Spring 2013) will begin on Sept. 15.
Marilyn Aleman may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.