Piloting New Faculty-Driven Ideas: HonorsX and Interdisciplinary Studies Minor

Sent: March 18, 2022

From: Vincent J. Del Casino, Jr., Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear Colleagues,

In the Fall of 2020, I asked a group of faculty, staff, and students to come together to think about new ideas related to honors education. Called the (un)Honors Task Force, that group came up with a number of ideas, which were refined over the summer of 2021.

From that initial work, a subgroup of the Task Force put together a plan - a new Interdisciplinary Studies Minor that would serve rising juniors and transfer students. This minor is designed to complement other programming on campus. The resulting idea for this minor was to house it within a new HonorsX program. 

As the minor was weaving its way through the various machinations of the shared governance and review process, I asked the group of faculty if they wanted to do something experimental next year. And, so, we have decided to launch a small pilot - 25 to 30 students - to test some of the ideas that came from this process. 

We are now looking for a small group of students with interest in this pilot. In the meantime, I learned today that the new Interdisciplinary Studies Minor is being routed to me for final approval. This is exciting because it means that students in the pilot may have an option to complete this minor after they have completed the nine-unit sequence next year.

The ideas for this program rests with the faculty, staff, and students that generated the ideas. My job has been and continues to be to provide a platform for their innovation and creativity. If you have an interest in learning more, you can check out some of the ideas that will be tested here.

I have asked Ruma Chopra, Professor of History, to continue to take the lead on this project.