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University Honors College, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849.

I would like to express my appreciation for the invitation to talk about Auburn University Honors College. The program at Auburn began 25 years ago in the School of Arts and Sciences, becoming a university-wide program in the early 1980s. It was named Alabama's first Honors College in 1998.

Auburn has about 23,000 students, 19,000 of whom are undergraduates. Recent entering freshman classes have numbered around 3,700 students. By comparison, the Honors College currently has around 630 students, slightly over 3% of the undergraduate student body. A typical Honors entering freshman class is around 230 students. The minimum requirements for admission to the College for an incoming freshman are an ACT of 29 and a high school GPA of 3.5. Currently enroiled Auburn students can apply if their Auburn GPA is at least 3.4.

Every school and college at Auburn has students in Honors. Over a quarter are in Engineering, another quarter are in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, 20% are in the College of Liberal Arts, and 11% in the College of Business. Other schools and colleges contribute smaller percentages.

The academic program of the Honors College has two levels, the Junior Program and the Senior Program. Entering Honors freshmen begin in the Junior Program, which is based on Auburn's Core Curriculum, a program of 41 semester hours of courses in English, mathematics, sciences, humanities, etc., that are required of all undergraduates. The College offers special Honors versions of nearly all the Core courses. These sections are kept small (typically in the range of 25-30 students, compared to regular sections that sometimes number in the hundreds), they emphasize significant student involvement and interaction in the learning process, and they are all taught by professorial level faculty. A major difference between the Honors and non-Honors versions of Core courses involves the students themselves. Honors students are exceptionally well-motivated and they are much better prepared for the college experience than the average student. They want to learn, to ask relevant questions, and to contribute to class discussions. Because of the extra effort these students put into their classes, they get much more out of them.

To complete the Junior Program, students must take a minimum of 24 hours of these courses and maintain a 3.2 GPA.

While the Junior Program focuses on general Core courses, the Senior Program focuses on the student's major. There are two options. The non-thesis option requires four upper level courses in the major to be taken as contract courses, that is, the student and the teacher develop a contract explaining how the course will serve as an Honors experience for the student, perhaps by including a research component where there normally is not one, or deepening or broadening the research component if there is already one. The experience may include a class presentation, developing a web page, or any number of other options. Our students have shown considerable originality in this regard. The contract must be approved by the Honors Office.

The thesis option is essentially an undergraduate research experience, mentored by a faculty member in the major department, and resulting in a written thesis following the formatting guidelines of the Graduate School. A bound copy of the thesis is placed in the stacks of the library, available to be checked out. Most of our students who complete the Senior Program choose the thesis option, since they are aware that graduate and professional schools today increasingly favor students who have already participated in a significant research project as undergraduates.

Students who complete both the Junior and the Senior Programs with a 3.4 GPA graduate as University Honors Scholars, a distinction that is noted on their permanent record and on their diploma. They are also recognized during graduation.

At Auburn, we strive to offer our Honors students many of the benefits of a small college in addition to the array of opportunities available at a large, comprehensive university. As noted earlier, our incoming freshman class is only about 230 of the 3,700 new freshmen at Auburn every year. We offer two special Honors Orientation sessions during the summer for our freshmen, allowing them to get to get acquainted with half of their Honors peers before they come on campus in the fall. Our Honors Mentor Program, run by our Honors Congress, the student representative body for the College, assigns upper-class Honors students to mentor the incoming freshmen. Honors students have priority at the four Honors Residence Halls, which are centrally located on campus. They are not restricted to Honors students, and they are very popular among parents because the large number of Honors students gives them the reputation of offering a more studious atmosphere for impressionable freshmen than many of the other dorms on campus. This is just one way of many that Honors students contribute to the campus community in return for the benefits they enjoy.

This is just a quick overview of our program at Auburn. I thank you once again for your attention, and I will leave everything else for the question period.

Dr. Jack Rogers

Biographical information: Dr. Jack Rogers is Professor of Mathematics and Director of the University Honors College at Auburn University. He received his B.A., M.S, and PhD at the University of Texas, Austin. Graduating in 1966, he taught first at Emory University and then, since 1973, at Auburn. He was one of the original members of the Auburn Honors Council in 1978, and has served as Director of the University Honors College since 1998.
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Author:Rogers, Jack
Publication:Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science
Article Type:Transcript
Geographic Code:1U6AL
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Words:926
Previous Article:UAB Honors Program.
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