National Collegiate Honors Council


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© Copyright 2013 by the National Collegiate Honors Council


Honors students are, almost by definition, committed to excellence. As a result, they tend to be overextended (Guzy). They also “tend to be more eager, exploratory, and experienced than their non-honors counterparts” (Achterberg 77). They typically take a full load of coursework while at the same time juggling clubs, learning communities, governance bodies, athletics, music, theater activities, and community service (Long and Lange 2002). One also assumes that they cultivate a social life and perhaps hold down a part-time job. Such a conspiracy of curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular realities can make it difficult for honors students to engage fully in the cultural resources available to them on a college campus. To provide opportunity and encouragement for honors students to experience Ithaca College’s unique culture and identity, we have developed an honors seminar called “Cultural Encounters with Ithaca.” In this course, students identify, publicize, attend, discuss, and reflect on a number of campus events. Ultimately, they come away with a deeper understanding of their college’s culture and identity as well as a feeling of connection to the campus community. We offer the details of this seminar as a potential low-cost, high-impact model for other honors programs to incorporate into their curriculum the rich mix of cultural events available on most campuses.