Reception for first honors dean candidate allows for student input

Christina Thomas

Yesterday in Stopher Hall, the first reception was held for honors dean candidate John Stalvey, who spent time talking to administrators, faculty and students who attended the event.

The atmosphere was casual and friendly, giving the campus community an opportunity to simply get to know Stalvey.

Honors faculty member Vicki Bocchicchio said the first reception turned out well, but it would be nice to see more students attend today’s and next week’s reception.

“One thing that’s true about the Honors College is that we give a lot of attention to our students, and the honors dean advises students and is involved in their day-to-day academic life,” said Bocchicchio, honors coordinator of curriculum and senior thesis. “So students should be interested in attending, because their input is valuable in making the decision.”

Stalvey, the associate dean for graduate affairs and faculty affairs for the College of Arts and Sciences, discussed his career and his goals for the Honors College, as well as a little bit about his personal life.

Q: Since the Honors College is different because it is not a degree-giving college, what are the characteristics that set apart an honors dean from other deans?

A: “The honors dean acts as a monitor and we are given more leeway because we don’t have majors, but we are given responsibilities in replacement of that to be a bit of a conscience for the students.”

Q: Do you have any new ideas for the Honors College you think will improve the program?

A: “I’ve been thinking we could create an honors faculty fellowship to get faculty involved with the Honors College, and their responsibility would be teaching honors courses and mentoring students, as well as trying out different ways of creating new learning environments for students. Another idea I have is to increase the number of people doing a capstone project, where you are working on creating something independently and creating something new.”

Q: As a dean, students look to you for guidance. What kind of advice can you give to students preparing for their futures?

A: “Follow your passion. Find something you are passionate about because you will be good at it and you will find a way to make a living from it.”

Q: Do you have any spare-time hobbies?

A: “My wife and I are empty-nesters for the first time because our younger son went off to college, so we got a yellow lab puppy and adopted an adult cat and we spent a lot of time with them.”

Q: Did you have any mentors growing up, or someone who has inspired you?

A: “In high school I had a teacher and coach who was one of those people who had boundless energy and taught me to ask the question, “Why can’t we do it?'”

Contact Honors College reporter Christina Thomas at [email protected].