“Come camino with us! Next May the Honors College will take alumni and friends on the French route of the Camino, the Chemin Saint Jacques, with numinous stops in Arles, Nîmes, Conques, Toulouse and the French Pyrenees.”

~ Lynda Coon

Dean’s List: Six Big Ideas for the Honors College

By Lynda Coon

  1. Invest in Smart Students. Lee Bodenhamer did so 20 years ago, when he established a fellowship program that awards $70,000 over four years to our top students. The impact of his gift reached far beyond the 144 students to date who have received a Bodenhamer Fellowship. Former chancellor John White noted that the success of the Bodenhamer Fellowship helped pave the way for the historic gift that established the Honors College. For details, see “Long Term Investments.
  2. Win Grant Support for Underrepresented Students. A dynamic team of honors faculty and staff came together to envision, engage and emerge victorious in the hyper-competitive world of National Science Foundation funding. The NSF awarded the Honors College almost $1 million to support the Path to Graduation program, which is working to increase the number of low-income students, especially from rural regions of Arkansas, who graduate with a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. For more information, see “Path Program Wins NSF Support.
  3. Partner with Community Non-Profit Organizations. The Honors College is fostering the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Northwest Arkansas in two different ways. Under the leadership of Associate Dean Jennie Popp, we are working with local non-profit organizations to develop service-learning courses that benefit our community. For example, last fall 36 honors students from Bumpers College descended on the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks to physically experience their academic craft, from “worm duty” to floodwater management. In return, the garden received real data to support future planning and improvements. Our students may also pursue honors theses that meet local needs. For one example, read “Hydroponic Profits.
  4. Offer Courses that Foster Networking. Last fall Walton College Dean Matt Waller tackled the art of “Arkansas Business” and did so in the company of 50 honors scholars and 14 CEOs and senior executives of major companies in the state. Together, dean, executives and students debated the unique ways Arkansas has metamorphosed into a global player. This fall, Dean Waller will continue to explore Arkansas’ business success in an Honors College Forum focused on regional entrepreneurs. Next up: This spring Forum students will travel weekly to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art for a behind-the-scenes guide to running a museum”; in fall 2019, Mayor Lioneld Jordan of Fayetteville will lead an Honors College Forum, “Fayetteville,” focused on public service, community engagement and local leadership.
  5. Support Research and Work Experience Abroad. Thanks to generous support from the Walton Family Foundation, the Honors College has diversified its grant portfolio by creating new opportunities in the realm of international internships, service learning and research. We send students across the globe to work and conduct research in clinics, museums, art studios and laboratories. For example, two animal science honors scholars traveled to the Billy Barquedier National Park in Belize, where they tracked, trapped and identified endangered species, ranging from black howler monkeys to pumas and tapirs. These “jungle scientists” endured 308 hours in remote and arduous landscapes and walked away with publishable research. For details, see “Queens of the Jungle.”
  6. Come Camino with Us! In May, 18 honors students followed the storied Camino de Santiago, the medieval pilgrimage route, from the Gothic brilliance of Paris, France, to the reliquary shrine of the Apostle James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and on to the end of the earth, Finisterra. You can read about our honors troubadours, our student scholars and the epiphanies they experienced along the way in our feature story, “Buen Camino.

Next May the Honors College will take alumni and friends on the French route of the Camino, the Chemin Saint Jacques, with numinous stops in Arles, Nîmes, Conques, Toulouse and the French Pyrenees. Led by historians Lynn Jacobs, John Treat and myself, our Arkansas band of pilgrims will visit Benedictine abbeys, frontier fortresses, Romanesque basilicas, and the ruins of Roman Gaul. Visit our Honors Passport web site to learn more, and join us in sampling the delicacies of France in both solid and liquid form. Buen Camino!

Please share your ideas for future Honors College adventures! And come and see us whenever you are on campus – my door in Gearhart Hall is always open.