Dear Honors program, I love you, but we need to work on some things …
By Jenn Tyborski
The Honors Program at Roosevelt University is growing, but its infrastructure isn’t keeping up with the growth. It’s like the cost of living — the amount is increasing, but the offerings have remained at low rates.
For those that are unfamiliar with the history of the Honors Program, here’s what you’ve missed: The program began in 1995, and in the fall of 2011, the assistant director appeared non-existent; he later mysteriously left in spring 2012. Cue Megan Bernard, who came to Roosevelt in 2012 from an advisor position at Northwestern University. Bernard has thankfully pointed the crumbling program toward a forward-moving direction.
Since the beginning of the program, Sam Rosenberg has been the director. However, his duties as vice provost for Academic Affairs greatly minimizes his direct participation in the program, especially at the student level.
Yes, both Bernard and Rosenberg select courses and maintain the overall Honors Program, but we can’t just have Bernard as our only direct source.
Don’t get me wrong — the dynamic duo do a tremendous amount of work for honors students, but with more than 140 active honors students, there needs to be more administrative support for students. It’s not fair for Bernard to see all honors students for advising appointments. She already has a million things to do every day.
Also, it’s a shame students don’t see Rosenberg as often. Rosenberg is an incredibly intelligent and valuable source for honors students, and they should know him as well as they know Bernard.
As a double major in journalism and international studies, it’s been tough finding honors courses that work with my required list of courses to take. The amount of courses offered to the 140 students is dismal. This year introduced the honors psychology track, but where does that leave non-psychology majors? How can students meet the requirements to graduate from the Honors Program if they can’t fit the offered selections into their schedules?
According to Bernard in an earlier interview, the What is Social Justice course this fall was from numerous student-requests of a course to delve deeper into the complex topic of social justice. For me, this was a I-need-an-honors-course ordeal; otherwise, it’s useless in terms of my graduation requirements.
From discussions with both Rosenberg and Bernard earlier this year, Bernard works on the student level, and Rosenberg represents the Honors Program to the higher reaches of the university’s administration.
Considering that Bernard has already been successful in expanding the program, the university will have to recognize the increasing need for more support in the program’s administration, as well as encourage more professors to teach honors courses. In order to have a wider selection of courses, there needs to be someone to teach those classes.
Students also need to speak up more. Individually, voices can be drowned. However, the Student Honors Organization provides an arena for honors students to band together and have their voices heard. Together, us honors students can create the change we want — we just need to actually do it. After all, we attend a university where we’re encouraged to create the change we seek.
As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”
To continue to move forward, students need to help be the change. Many of us share the same complaints and concerns, so let’s do something about it.