Slippery Rock’s Honors Program has now become the Honors College, giving them more resources to help their students make the most of their experience at SRU.
The Honors College is headed by Jaclyn Baumgardner, a third-year physician’s assistant student. She said that this transition was a long process and was done in order to accommodate the growing student population.
“Our student body keeps growing every year,” Baumgardner said. “We can allow more students to join and get involved because of the increase in funding that comes with being recognized as a college.”
This reclassification is the culmination of a three-year strategic plan to meet the standards of the National Collegiate Honors Council. More than 420 students are currently enrolled in the Honors College, nearly double the amount from three years ago.
Baumgardner said there have been issues in the past with offering enough honors courses for students in certain degree programs to graduate with the distinction of being an honors student.
“It’s difficult for people like music majors to find classes in their departments that qualify as an honors course,” Baumgardner said. “It’s very exciting to be able to reach more students and offer them the classes that they need. This is all about our larger goal of wanting students in the Honors College to be involved and well-rounded.”
Being well-rounded means acquiring what is referred to as ‘extra-curricular points’. Baumgardner said that Honors College students must accumulate ten extra-curricular points a semester. Students get points by completing community service, attending conferences, doing write-ups about their academics and involvement within the organization.
First-year students who had a high school grade-point-average of 3.8 or an SAT score above 1220 are eligible to enroll in the Honors College. Baumgardner reiterated that the program is not just for first-year students, but that students in their sophomore year who excel academically can also apply.
The Honors College is hosting a blood drive on Oct. 23 that will be open to the student body. Baumgardner said that members also help coordinate or volunteer for events such as Village Fest and the Special Olympics, and for local organizations like the Robert A. Macoskey Center and Butler County Humane Society.
“I like how we get out and volunteer to help the community as an organization,” Baumgardner said. “The events we put on and the socials that we hold help us all get to know each other better while making a positive impact. It really feels like more like a community than a special club or group.”