Date of this Version
In the fall of 2004, the honors program at the two-year Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College offered six core classes and two one-hour seminars for the Honors students, and nothing else. The classes themselves were rewarding for both students and teachers and encouraged student participation, but since the program’s existence was limited to the space within the classroom walls, it had low visibility on campus and none beyond our campus. As a new (and completely inexperienced) honors director, I consulted both the NCHC executive committee’s statement of “Basic Characteristics of a Fully Developed Honors Program” (1994) and Rew Godow’s article on “Honors Program Leadership” (Forum for Honors). Both documents emphasized the multiple functions of honors programs beyond the classroom and the variety of roles for an honors program administrator, so the first apparent step the program needed beyond curriculum was the creation of an honors student association. Students quickly took the initiative in the effort once I brought up the idea; in the first year alone our student association got the award for highest fundraising amount for Relay for Life on campus and we initiated events that enhance the campus feeling of community. Creating a social branch of the program and increasing visibility on campus were by themselves a significant accomplishment, yet we were still a long way from the goalpost set by the NCHC and Rew Godow. We were also faced with realities beyond our control: Tifton, Georgia, is a small rural town among other similar towns, and our college enrollment was no more than 3,000 students at that time (the honors program had a total of 40 students in the freshman and sophomore years). If students were to gain more leadership experience, more opportunities were needed.