Students Comments About Honors Scholars
What does Honors Scholars involve? What do its members think about the required classes, optional activities, and other aspects of Honors Scholars? Members from freshman to senior who are in a variety of different majors have written their opinions about multiple features that are unique to Honors Scholars. This page will hopefully give prospective members a better idea of what they can expect (and look forward to) if they join.
- Required Classes
- Various Honors Scholars activities
- Effects Honors Scholars has had on our lives
- Time commitment involved with being in Honors Scholars
- What Honors Scholars is not
- Benefits of faculty involvement
- From the perspective of a recently-joined member
1. Required classes
This course has proved to be one of the most rewarding classes I have ever taken. The challenge is immense; you must be prepared to expend a great deal of time and mental energy. But, the benefits are equally immense. Probably no other course will challenge you to think as carefully, and few other courses have the same sort of cross-disciplinary applications. You may find that you have a fresh, critical attitude toward opinions that you long held. At the same time, you will acquire tools to help you reason with even the most intelligent arguers. A very valuable course.
-Ben Lucas, Senior, English Major
Critical thinking provides a framework for approaching the information with which we come into contact throughout our classes and other daily readings. Knowing this framework gives us the opportunity to better understand the arguments we encounter.
-Judd Morrow , Graduate, International Business/Spanish Major
For me, Introduction to Critical Thinking was a revolutionary class because of the process we learned to evaluate an argument. Prior to ICT, most arguments seemed to simply consist of both sides making claims they could not support and attacking the other person's argument with little more than superficial criticisms. Unfortunately, this can be the sole extent of many arguments in daily encounters. ICT, however, enables one to see and evaluate arguments made by leading intellectuals. This ability expands not only one's appreciation for a well-formulated and supported argument, but also gives one the ability to use critical thinking skills to evaluate ANY argument imaginable. This set of critical thinking skills has allowed me to develop from throwing stones at the other side of an issue to picking up the respective arguments in my hand and giving close inspection to their reasoning and validity.
-Curtis Bunner, Junior , Physics Major
This class is a crash-course in a broad range of ideas. We read such authors as Socrates, Hobbes, Ibsen and, Brecht. It was useful because I learned a great deal about ideas I would not have otherwise encountered. Zen Buddhism is one striking example, as is Smith's market ideology. One downside is that we learn so many ideas so quickly that few can be covered in detail. The course whets, rather than satiates, the appetite for ideas. Still, it is impressive that so much can be crammed into a single semester.
-Ben Lucas, Senior , English Major
2. Various Honors Scholars activities
The Great Books discussion is a fairly recent development for Honors Scholars and a great way to learn a lot about many books in a short period of time. For the Great Books discussions, Honors Scholars travels to an out-of-town location that is conducive to discussing ideas. It is usually a place that has nice scenery, like PlundersState Park, our last Great Books discussion location. While this activity is completely voluntary, it normally attracts a good number of participants and is thoroughly worth the effort to read a book and get a handle on its basic argument. Once we arrive at our location, we randomly pair up for three rounds of discussions over the course of a weekend. Once paired, we share our ideas with our partners, creating an interesting dialogue that many times leads to the integration of various ideas from people's books. All in all, this creates an absolutely fascinating learning experience.
-Dan Tagliarina, Graduate, Political Science Major
Great Books is a wonderful opportunity to venture outside of Bowling Green to discuss influential literary works. It gives students the opportunity to make connections between their own reading and the arguments/ideas in other books. Each year, discussions are centered on a certain type of literature. This fall, we engaged in readings from Hispanic authors. This area is of particular interest to me considering my studies of the Spanish language.
-Judd Morrow, Graduate, International Business/Spanish Major
Socrates said, "She who knows she does not know is wisest." The great books discussions are an opportunity for me to find again the awe of that which I do not know and the joy in the little that I do know. To think that I would have probably graduated without knowing the significance of Francisco Franco, or given Steinbeck another chance to influence me, is jarring.
-Michelle Crosby, Graduate, International Studies
Honors Scholars is a group that has a certain civic orientation, and as such feels it is very important to keep up with current events. The purpose of being familiar with current events is to increase our abilities to be engaged, informed citizens. One way to pursue this goal of active citizenry is to read and discuss the newspaper as a group. Ergo, several times during the semester, a number of us will get together on a Sunday morning and read the New York Times together. If you have never read the Sunday New York Times, I recommend it; it is just plain amazing. Anyways, on a voluntary basis we come together to read for a while and then discuss the various articles we have read and the implications the content might carry in various situations.
-Dan Tagliarina, Graduate, Political Science Major
Various Sundays, Honors Scholars students gather in the home of an upper classman or in the Honors Scholars lounge in Offenhauer to read and discuss the Sunday New York Times. Reading the paper with fellow students allows us to react to the news and views relayed in the paper among a group who is actually quite interested in nurturing such behavior. Near the end of the meeting, Honors Scholars students attempt to integrate the information and arguments they encounter in the paper as an intellectual reward for attempting to understand the significance of current events.
-Kevin Minnick, Graduate, Liberal Studies Major
The Honors Scholars trips serve an important purpose. First and foremost, they provide us with the opportunity to experience forms of culture different than we usually find in Bowling Green. Attending plays, museums, and festivals provides one with exposure to new ideas and mediums of expression. Also, the trips allow us to bond as a group. Away from the busy schedules of school, we can get to know each other better and have meaningful, yet enjoyable, discussions about a variety of topics. Our travels become a shared experience for the group.
-Jason Mellen, Junior , Visual Comm. Technology Major
Honors Scholars has gone on numerous trips over the years. Each semester, a retreat is taken to see plays performed, perhaps following a specific topic or works of an author, as well as attend conferences. Some of these trips have included Maumee Bay State Park, St. Charles, Illinois, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, Utah, and New York City. In each city we have had the opportunities to see plays that have moved and taught us, share ideas learned from books, or give speeches on ethics, communication, education, and psychology, to name a few. The Honors Scholars trips are much anticipated, and with good reason. They provide the opportunity to not only learn in a new context, but also strike up relationships with other Honors Scholars members with whom prior contact may have been restricted to our weekly meetings. We are very concerned with our inner relationships, thus we have even taken a trip solely to welcome new members into the fold and simply build community. Honors Scholars trips, then, are not only an educational tool, but also a relationship-building tool, and should be considered an exciting benefit to joining Honors Scholars.
-Meredith Fisher, Graduate, Psychology Major
The Wednesday night meetings are important in more than one sense. The meetings are there to keep continuity in the group (giving us time to catch up with each other), to discuss business within the group, and to hold certain activities such as discussing a book that we have all read. One of the most rewarding things about reading a book in this group is being able to see many others' opinions about the text and encounter new perspectives on what you may have interpreted from the text. The meetings help cultivate part of our sense of community by having us all together on that one evening, discussing, interacting and stimulating each other.
-Heather Tewksbury, Graduate, Music Education
Our weekly gatherings provide us with an opportunity to have discussions and experience intellectual programming as a group. Many general meetings of organizations focus on administration issues. Honors Scholars, on the other hand, spends the majority of the meeting with that night's topic or presentation. You walk out of the meetings tired, not because you just wasted a couple hours, but because you have been thinking and learning non-stop the entire time.
-Jason Mellen, Junior, Visual Comm. Technology Major
Each year, Honors Scholars students have the opportunity to attend the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), which is an annual conference dedicated to promoting undergraduate research and presentation. I chose to write and present my paper at the conference last year. Although preparation for this conference was rather time demanding, the experience was wonderful for enhancing my writing and speaking skills. Honors Scholars faculty and students provided constructive feedback about my presentation several weeks before the conference, allowing me to make necessary changes and improvements. The Honors Scholars faculty also helped in the revising of my paper. But most significantly, I am in the process of converting the paper I presented last year at NCUR into an article for publication, which may be an option for Honors Scholars students who attend NCUR. I would highly encourage any Honors Scholars student to attend NCUR.
-Steve Weigand, Graduate, Business Pre-Law and Economics Majors
NCUR is an unusual chance for undergraduates to research and write essays at a highly academic level. The conference itself is really enjoyable; so many highly educated and dedicated students participate that you can find a reading on almost anything in which you are interested. It's really a good chance to see what other interesting people are thinking about, and do some thinking yourself.
-Steve Ruble, Senior , Philosophy Major
When influential people enter our lives, we often struggle to imagine living before meeting that person. In some sense this is the best compliment one could pay to an influential person: "Without your positive Honors Scholars on my life, I would not be the same person today." Many Honors Scholars students think this way after working with the Honors Scholars faculty. It is truly extraordinary to have close access to accomplished faculty members with a passion for undergraduate development. Where would we be had we not joined Honors Scholars? We are not interested in the lifestyles and motivations of the "typical" college student, but rather we thrive on the academically-oriented community within Honors Scholars. Similarly, based on the extraordinary learning opportunities exclusive to Honors Scholars, many students wonder how their academic development and career ambitions would be different had they not joined Honors Scholars. Honors Scholars has reformed our thinking skills and provides many thoughtful venues to practice and refine these skills with other Honors Scholarsers. Such opportunities are unfortunately rare at a university, which makes Honors Scholars all the more special. We feel very fortunate to be involved with Honors Scholars. We know we've found something special when we'd rather not think about where we'd be without the positive influence of the Honors Scholars faculty and students.
-Jason Slowbe, Graduate, Math Education Major
During the past three years, the Honors Scholars learning community served as the primary force in shaping the person I am today. Through learning opportunities, listproc discussions, and frequent interaction with Honors Scholars faculty, I have developed critical thinking skills and a lifelong hunger for learning. The Honors Scholars faculty give generously in their time and energy to create opportunities for Honors Scholars members to develop and excel in their academic pursuits. Equally important, however, is the environment that Honors Scholars creates. Surrounded by energetic individuals who have similar aspirations, goals, and curiosities, fellow Honors Scholars members push one another to constantly improve in their intellectual endeavors. Honors Scholars served as a supplement to my university education by providing key opportunities for intellectual growth.
-Alex Frondorf, Graduate, Philosophy Major
With a group as varied as Honors Scholars, it is hard to specifically state what time commitment is involved. If you do not think you will have much free time, or if you just want to sit and stare at the wall for hours with nothing on your mind, then Honors Scholars is clearly not for you. However, if you are not afraid of putting some time into an active and engaged group, then time probably will not be a problem. Plenty of Honors Scholars members have, at one time or another, worried about whether they were doing enough for the group. In an effort to address this concern, we have created a compact outlining the minimum requirements for participation in the group. The minimum is more than enough to stay in the group and be active. However, for those who are engaged and care about the group and its development, there are plenty of opportunities to go above and beyond the minimum. Basically, the time commitment starts with a minimum outlined in the compact, and then goes up from there, depending on how active you want to be.
-Dan Tagliarina, Graduate, Political Science Major
The first thing that I think people should know about Honors Scholars and time commitments is that membership does require a significant amount of time. However, there are different degrees of time commitments within this group. Some Honors Scholarsers get involved in almost everything (ACE, Great Books, multiple LOs, lots of posting on the listserv, volunteering to assist the Director, etc.). On the other hand, other members pick-and-choose with which optional activities (in addition to the core requirements) they desire involvement. My advice? If you aren't sure that the time you are willing to commitment to Honors Scholars will be sufficient, talk with some of the Honors Scholars members, get a feel for their level of involvement and the time this involvement requires. Then, compare your findings with your own desires. Buena Suerte!
-Joy Mercier, Senior , Liberal Studies Major
Honors Scholars is a community, but it's not a purely social community. One of the things that makes this community great is its ability to accomplish many great tasks. However, this comes at a social cost. Honors Scholars members are social, but not in the ways that most "social" communities flourish. Being in Honors Scholars means you understand what we are based on and will gear your expectations towards that rather than seeing Honors Scholars for purely social means.
-Heather Tewksbury, Graduate, Music Education
It is often hard to understand what Honors Scholars is without the knowledge of what Honors Scholars is not. Honors Scholars IS NOT ALL FUN AND GAMES. Though it seems cold, if you are looking for a community that automatically lends a smile, hug, or sympathetic ear, then Honors Scholars is not for you. So, do friendships and smiles not exist in Honors Scholars? Of course they exist, but not with the same ease as at the local sorority or fraternity house. But even though Honors Scholars is not a community whose members run at you with open arms, many members are more than comfortable here. It is often the case that the feeling of community in Honors Scholars is experienced to a greater extent after one has contributed intellectual thought to and received intellectual contributions from the group. In other words, the fundamental unit at the basis of the relationships within Honors Scholars is reciprocity; Honors Scholars is not a community that gives to those who do not give back.
-Anna Haney, Graduate, Psychology Major
The faculty involvement is what I consider to be the largest benefit of being in Honors Scholars. By being a member of Honors Scholars, you will find that you have almost unlimited access to two excellent faculty members who are willing to help us better ourselves in pursuit of our academic goals. Words really do not do justice to the level of commitment the Honors Scholars faculty have for Honors Scholars members. As a member you will be able to develop a personal relationship with outstanding faculty committed to your personal growth. The chance of developing this sort of relationship outside of Honors Scholars with any faculty member is probably slim to none.
-Dan Tagliarina, Graduate, Political Science Major
One of the perks of membership in Honors Scholars is the faculty involvement. We always have access to our two main faculty members, and other events in the year allow us access to even more faculty members from different disciplines. Each year, one or two faculty members from disciplines like science, psychology, or economics help Honors Scholars by leading a learning opportunity. Other faculty members have agreed to speak to Honors Scholars as a whole for our faculty scholar programs. Meeting additional faculty members on campus helps us to gain a better network of contacts in different departments. Selected faculty members are always enthusiastic to help the Honors Scholars group or individual students.
-Lorna Springer, Graduate, Actuarial Science Major
My name is Maggie Schilb. I am a freshman pursuing a Secondary Language Arts Education degree, and I joined Honors Scholars only a month ago. Before I came to Honors Scholars, I was, naturally, intimidated because of the group's intelligence and work ethic. I was afraid that the members might expect me to have a justified reason for every non-intellectual thing I did, like crocheting. After moving onto the Honors Scholars floor this semester, I found that the members are not intimidating at all. The group is definitely focused on achieving intellectual excellence, and most members, from what I have seen, keep themselves very active among school, Honors Scholars, jobs, and other activities, yet they still have fun and laugh. The fact that the members were not as uptight as I expected made me feel more comfortable with the group. They never asked me why I do some of the things that I enjoy, because they too have hobbies and things they like to do that provide almost no significant intellectual development. In this way, I have been able to both find a group of people that have high intellectual standards with whom I can identify with and also meet interesting people with whom I can make strong friendships.
-Maggie Schilb, Junior, English Education