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New OHIO Honors Program attracts record numbers

More than 370 students will join the new OHIO Honors Program in fall 2019. A successful pilot of the new OHIO Honors Program in the 2018-19 academic year helped to fuel interest in this new academic initiative.

Designed to complement any major, the OHIO Honors Program offers a rapidly expanding menu of curricular and co-curricular experiences. Three pathways—research and creative activity, community engagement, and leadership—guide students’ development and lead to a senior capstone project and portfolio.

“I am pleased that we have the opportunity to complement the Honors Tutorial College through the new OHIO Honors Program this fall,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “With a successful pilot cohort behind us, we will continue to explore the wonderful promise that our honors students bring to Ohio University and beyond.”

During the 2018-19 academic year, 48 students from the College of Arts & Sciences, College of Business, and Russ College of Engineering and Technology participated in the program pilot. In addition to two honors courses, they completed 38 outside-of-the classroom co-curricular experiences in fall and spring semesters. Fifteen OHIO Honors students are pursuing summer experiences that include working as a research apprentice on an acid-mine drainage mitigation project and as a teaching assistant in a Honduran kindergarten classroom.

“The pilot cohort demonstrated their ability to have a positive impact on Ohio University in their very first year,” OHIO Honors and Cutler Scholars Program Director Margaux Cowden said. “The potential for what the full cohort will accomplish, both individually and on an institutional scale, is very exciting.”

The OHIO Honors Program allows students to align their personal interests with their academic pursuits. Honors students take on challenging coursework through small-group seminars or honors projects in traditional courses, and gain experience through internships, partnerships with community organizations, hands-on research or other methods.

They gain deep engagement with campus leaders and community partners locally and globally, and work with advisors to create an appropriately challenging academic experience. Students who complete the program will gain an honors designation on their transcripts and diplomas.

“The experience model encourages a spirit of exploration and intellectual risk taking for students and fosters a living laboratory environment that fuels active learning and instructional innovation,” Interim Honors Tutorial College Dean Cary Roberts Frith said.

The OHIO Honors Program was designed to supplement the Honors Tutorial College, which was founded in 1972 by Dr. Ellery Golos, who completed a sabbatical year at Oxford University and wanted to bring the power of a tutorial education to OHIO. The tutorial college offers 36 degree programs in which students take one-on-one or small group tutorials every semester. The students must complete a thesis or professional project that makes an original contribution to their academic discipline. A record 79 students will join the longstanding Honors Tutorial College in fall 2019.

“The innovative experience-based program and the individualized tutorial-based degrees allow us to offer the rigors and customization of an honors education to more high-promise students than ever before,” Frith said. “We look forward to expanding OHIO Honors to our regional campuses as part of the One OHIO strategy.”