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The Davidson Honors College at the University of Montana requires “Introduction to Honors” of all matriculating students. The course is offered for one credit and is designed to develop a sense of organizational identification among the first-year students enrolled in each of the ten sections that we teach every fall semester. Specifically, the goals of the course for students are to a) develop community, b) learn the essentials of a liberal arts education, and c) participate in activities they might not typically experience (e.g., community service or cultural events). Faculty members teaching each section volunteer their time and are provided $250 to spend with their class.
To facilitate our goal of developing community, each “Introduction to Honors” course is staffed with a student mentor. Honors students apply to be mentors, are selected by the Dean, and work closely with the course instructors to plan and implement the course. Student mentors also volunteer their time and energy to facilitating the course.
To provide readers with a more detailed idea of the course and the role of student mentors, we provide a history and overview of our “Introduction to Honors” course, discuss the recruitment and role of our student mentors, and offer comments from two student mentors about their experiences.