Honors Program Shutdown

The Prescott Honors Program is no longer accepting new members.

After years of activity, the Prescott Honors Program has come to an end. On Oct. 12, Dr. Anne Boettcher, director of the Honors Program, relayed a message to the Prescott Honors Program: “The university has made the decision to close the Honors Program on the Prescott Campus. All of you currently enrolled, will be able to continue and graduate with the Honors Program designation provided you complete all requirements. I am working hard to find ways to preserve components of the Honors Program through new or existing programming on campus.” 

To preface, the Honors Program has been functioning for years, hosting fundraisers, leadership series, service opportunities, scholarships, community events, and internships. Each Honors student is expected to fulfill requirements to stay in the program, as Dr. Boettcher mentioned; students must choose a track out of the Leadership, Research, Ethics, and Interdisciplinary tracks. Within those tracks, there are requirements for the sections of Foundation, Academics, Leadership, Experiential Learning, Service, and a cumulative GPA. Over the course of their studies at ERAU, Honors students are expected to progress through their respective track. For example, as an Honors student in the Leadership track, Haidee Wesala has held leadership roles on campus, attended the Leadership Retreat, completed Honors courses, and underwent an experiential learning with research. To graduate in the program, her final requirements are to uphold her GPA and lead a service project. Like Wesala, Honors student Savannah Riddles is glad to graduate while the program still exists, “I get to graduate out of the honors program . . . so it doesn’t affect me directly.”

While listening to other Honors students’ opinions, many reminisced on the program’s benefits. Student Alisa Michel felt it, “was a great way for students to enrich their leadership skills and get more involved-on campus.” She is “sad to see it go, I think it could have continued to be very beneficial to the students here on campus and future students.” The overarching reaction to the program’s dismissal has been focused on the absence of internship and scholarship opportunities for the students involved. “As I search for public sector jobs, I’m realizing that participation in an honors program opens up so many more opportunities. Left without a career advisor or honors opportunities, I’m sure . . students feel frustrated and left behind,” speculated Riddles. Having also recently lost the beloved Honors professor and AFROTC Lieutenant Colonel, Dr. Big Mountain (to relocation at her next Air Force base), it is another loss added to the many of this COVID-run semester. However, perhaps in the absence of the Honors program, something new will arise. 

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