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Honors program revitalized for flexibility

April 11, 2014

When Professor Marsha Dopheide took over the honors program at Monmouth College in fall 2011, she noticed that the program wasn’t fitting every student’s needs. Since then, she’s been working diligently to try and make the honors program more accessible to all qualified students to try and enhance what it truly means to be a liberal arts school.

“One of the changes that I’ve made that has made it more flexible for students and more oriented toward the students’ personal educational goals…” Dopheide said of the structural changes that came into play with the new 4-4 curriculum. Now, instead of just counting classroom experiences, students engaged in summer research programs, internships or independent studies can use these experiences toward the program. “[This] allows them to gear their education more toward what their hopes are for after graduation.”

According to Monmouth’s website, the honors program is aimed at “a select group of well-qualified students.” The selection process first targets incoming freshman who meet qualifications.

“The honors program typically will take students that have applied from the Midwest Scholars interviews and consider those as the first applicants into the program,” said Dopheide, “so based on their performance on those interviews and their high school ranking and ACT scores, they are admitted into the program and will take the first class in the fall.”

If there are still spots available, Dopheide will then ask Introduction to Liberal Arts, English and Communication professors for nominations based on freshmen’s performance in the fall.

In the past, students have had issues continuing on with the program due to schedule conflicts, but Dopheide hopes that the new, flexible requirements help combat this. “There has been less attrition throughout the program, especially students in the sciences,” Dopheide said.

The honors program attempts to add more to the liberal arts experience for qualified students, and students currently in the program think it’s doing a good job. “The honors program brings together majors all across the board,” said junior Aimee Miller. “It’s really interesting because that in its own way does give you the liberal arts experience because you’re hearing all of those different perspectives and you’re interacting with people from different majors.”

Miller isn’t the only one who notices the interdisciplinary nature of the honors courses. Senior Chase Mowery is thankful for his experience in the program.

“I think the introduction to the honors program – the honors 110 course – was one of the greatest courses I’ve had at Monmouth College in terms of interdisciplinary studies,” Mowery said.

Though the honors program is typically for freshmen, its new flexible nature allows sophomores to complete it as well. If students are interested in being considered for the honors program, they should contact Dopheide.

Mackenzie Mahler
Features Editor

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