ERIC Number: ED307938
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-May
Reference Count: 0
Honors Programs at the Community College.
Community colleges are beginning to recognize that honors programs have a place in a comprehensive curriculum. Community colleges often experience problems attracting status-conscious, middle-class students, unless the institutions can convince the students and their parents that community colleges offer first-rate and academically challenging curricula. Honors programs can help improve the image and recognition of the schools, while providing a challenge to talented and motivated students. Honors programs vary among community colleges in terms of format, eligibility requirements, and academic standards. Typical formats include the following: (1) special honors sections of introductory or general education courses, most often in the liberal arts; (2) prescribed and structured honors curricula including several honors courses that all students must take; (3) core-oriented programs developed around a common theme and an interdisciplinary approach; (4) independent study; (5) regular courses in which enrolled honors students receive more challenging assignments, labs, and tests; and (6) comprehensive honors programs that encompass several of these approaches. Successful honors programs are generally characterized by mechanisms for recognizing the accomplishments of honors students; an enthusiastic, intellectually aware, and dedicated faculty; a program director committed to the program who has time for the administrative responsibilities that the position entails; and an advisory committee. Critics have argued that honors programs are inherently elitist, that they divert funds from the financially needy remedial students to middle-class gifted students. They warn that honors courses will isolate most of the brighter students, and they raise questions of faculty selection. If a college does decide to offer an honors curriculum, it should not be with the primary purpose of increasing enrollment or changing the institutional image, but rather in order to strengthen the college's educational mission and enhance its quest for excellence. (ALB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Princeton Univ., NJ. Mid-Career Fellowship Program.