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 Tuesday, January 23, 2007 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter

IN THE SPOTLIGHT


Residential Academic Program Spotlight - Kittredge Honors Program
By Corey Jones, sophomore, School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Residential Academic Programs (RAPS) can be found in residence halls all across campus, connecting diverse students with similar interests while promoting extensive understanding in a vast range of subject areas. In this series, we explore these innovative programs that provide many undergraduates with close social and intellectual communities and shared learning and living experiences. Part four of this series features the Kittredge Honors Program.

The Kittredge Honors Program (KHP) is the freshmen residential portion of the general Honors Program. Located in Buckingham Hall within the Kittredge Community, the program supports a high-powered intellectual environment while preparing participants for the process of successfully completing an honors thesis.

Director Paul Strom began his eighth year with the program this past fall. “KHP focuses on connecting students with the resources and motivation they need to think about graduating with honors,” said Strom, who earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics and physics from CU-Boulder. “We serve students of any major who are highly motivated and interested in succeeding and being distinguished in their own academic field, whatever that might be.”

KHP offers seminars that help students pursue a degree with the distinction of honors, such as sessions regarding undergraduate research and Study Abroad opportunities.

“The Honors Program on this campus is deeply invested in the thesis process, which takes place for most students in their junior and senior years,” explained Strom. He continued, “Students are granted the distinction of honors at graduation only if they successfully complete an honors thesis, and it is a very rigorous process.”

Along with the honors emphasis, KHP offers highly interactive courses and a wide range of extracurricular activities. Students enroll in at least one KHP honors course each semester. Symposium lectures, town meetings, and guest speakers help supplement the KHP experience as well.

“We are able to invest a good deal of our resources in supporting the community building aspect of the program. I think that is crucial to the academic mission,” stated Strom.

Every year, incoming classes are divided into small groups called flocks, in which students attend weekly community functions. Student flock leaders who previously participated in the program lead these groups. The leaders are responsible for planning weekly activities while providing leadership and mentoring for the program and its students.

Junior Mireille Pilloud is a flock leader for the RAP. “Members of KHP get to meet similar students, and they get to interact with the movers and shakers of this campus through symposia,” she said.

“I wanted to mentor and be there for the freshmen students like my flock leaders were for me. Leaders can get to know the freshmen really well with flocks, and it is easier for freshmen to get to know each other in smaller groups too.”

Strom added, “Students are going to succeed when they are in a context where they feel supported and respected and where there is inspiration to be adventurous in their learning.”

“We hope that every student receives a knock on the door, a message, or an invitation to participate in an activity each week,” he said.

KHP alumni also have the opportunity to continue their involvement with the program. Students can apply to become a flock leader or choose to volunteer on a number of service levels, including assisting with event planning, participating in activities, serving in advisory roles, or offering insight regarding the program.

In the future, Strom anticipates expanding KHP into a two-year program in order to provide further enhancements in terms of experiential learning consistent with the program’s academic mission.

“KHP not only tries to provide support, a good learning experience, and a highly interactive context for first-year students, but we put together pathways and resources to inspire students to pursue their own scholarship and success,” he said.

For more information, visit the KHP website.


Residential Academic Program Spotlight - Kittredge Honors Program

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