Honors College awaits new, more central home

Kirsten Beverley

The Honors College is moving from the edge of campus to the “academic heart,” and the staff is excited about the change, said Larry Andrews, dean of the Honors College.

“We think that it will solve our current problems and revitalize the living learning community,” he said.

The community that the Honors College is worried about is the fading population of honors students who once filled the halls.

“(Students think) Honors Plaza is no longer desirable,” Andrews said.

The Honors College researched the benefits of the move and found that the greatest benefit is the opportunity to connect students in the classroom and in their living environment. It was found that students did not take Honors courses in Van Campen because it is “distant and disconnected,” Honors Coordinator Vicki Bocchicchio said.

“This space has been very good to us, but the number of honors students have dwindled, and it is hard to have classes here,” Bocchicchio said.

As the college faces a transition in locations, there is hope that updated classrooms and a central location will draw more Honors students to the plaza.

“We have three rooms that are open common areas (that can be adjusted, so they can) be bigger or smaller,” Andrews said. “The fourth classroom will be across from the library and will serve as an ‘all-purpose’ room where students can work on projects.”

The classrooms will each have laptop ports and wireless capability. Andrews pointed out that it is difficult to stay on top of technology more than 10 to 15 years because it changes so much. However, the classrooms will be some of the most technologically advanced classrooms on campus.

Each freshman’s honors colloquium will be taught in the new facility as will many other Honors courses. “There is not a great concern over moving the colloquium from Satterfield to the new buildings because they are so close to one another,” Andrews said.

The added library will be much larger and will serve as a “true study space” rather than an auxiliary classroom, Andrews said.

The Honors College is also putting together a group of honors ambassadors composed of two current freshman Honors Plaza students, two freshman Honors students who live elsewhere on campus and two freshman commuter students.

“(We are trying to get) a group of student leaders to plan ahead for transitions and take more ownership of the Honors facility,” Andrews said.

Since the late 1990s, the Honors Plaza has been on the agenda for destruction or renovation. Now, it is just a little more than a year away from having a new facility.

“It has gone from total uncertainty and despair to a residence hall and student development center,” Andrews said.

Contact Honors College and Graduate Studies reporter Kirsten Beverley at [email protected].