Stark has new ideas in honors recruitment

Trevor Ivan

The honors program at the Kent State Stark Campus is always looking for new ways to recruit students.

Leslie Heaphy, coordinator of the honors program at Stark Campus, said she learned some new recruiting techniques while attending the National Collegiate Honors Council’s annual conference in St. Louis last week.

“One of the ideas presented at the conference was to get more current honors students to go out and talk to high school students about the benefits of being in honors,” Heaphy said. “The paid faculty who go out to recruit have to say things are nice, but students often trust the opinions of other students.”

The conference featured a variety of sessions where students and faculty from honors programs across the country were able to meet each other and learn from each other’s ideas, Heaphy said.

Larry Andrews, dean of the Honors College, said members from the university have been attending this conference since the late 1970s.

“It’s important that (the Honors College) maintain a high level of visibility since we are one of the oldest programs in the nation,” Andrews said. “A conference like this allows us to do just that.”

Many of the sessions at the conference are taught by honors faculty from across the country. Vicki Bocchicchio, coordinator of curriculum for the Honors College, taught a session about collaboration between honors programs at different universities.

“A faculty member from Clarion University brought an honors class he was teaching about the Vietnam War (to Kent State) to talk with some of the experts we have on campus about May 4th,” Bocchicchio said. “That faculty member and I taught a session about that experience and the collaboration process between honors programs.”

Heaphy said she got several ideas that will help honors faculty in her program. One of the areas involves advising students about scholarships and graduate school.

“At the conference, they showed us some things that students can be doing as freshman and sophomores in college in order to prepare for things down the road like graduate school,” Heaphy said.

She said she also learned some things that will help her with a project she is working on to help faculty members understand their job description as an honors faculty member.

“Right now, I’m working on a handbook for all honors faculty,” Heaphy said. “I want it to include things like a description of what makes a class an honors class as well as some of the forms for things like independent study projects.”

Along with faculty presentations, students also presented some of their research projects at the conference as well.

A Kent State graduate presented some of her research about the Holocaust.

“Students are able to get a sense of comparison of other honors programs by meeting students from these programs,” Andrews said. “However, there is no sense of competition. People are just getting together to share ideas.”

Contact honors and international affairs reporter Trevor Ivan at [email protected].