Students meet with third Honors College associate director candidate

Students meet with Thomas Spencer, a candidate for the position of Associate Director of the Honors College for Academics and Department Head. They voiced concerns about the current system and asked what changes he would hope to implement, if hired. Among many other plans, he hopes to make a more conscious effort to actively involve upperclassmen. “This is a position that hits my strengths,” says Spencer. “ I enjoy working with faculty and working with students. This sort of hits my sweet spot.” Gabriel Scarlett/HERALD

Monica Kast

The Honors College hosted its final open student session for the third candidate for the position of Honors College associate director and Honors Academy department head.

The Honors College associate director will oversee the Honors College curriculum, staff and development within the Honors College. Additionally, the director will teach one class annually. Russellville sophomore Jason Fox facilitated the discussion and opened the session.

Dana Bradley is currently serving as the interim associate director of the WKU Honors College and as the Honors Academy department head. She also serves as the director of the WKU Center for Gerontology. Bradley said she has been at WKU for about 10 years and was on the original Honors Development Board.

At the open student session, current honors students were able to meet with Bradley and ask questions about her and her plans for the Honors College if selected for the position.

“In this setting, I’m acting as a candidate,” Bradley said during the student session. “I do not represent the interests or the concerns or the knowledge of the Honors College.”

Since Bradley currently serves as the college’s interim associate director, she was able to speak about the role and what she would do if the position were made permanent.

“My job is to create an environment where success is possible and risk is probable,” Bradley said.

Bradley spoke of some of the challenges she has faced in the interim position. These include several Honors College staff members resigning or retiring during the past few months.

“I’m really excited about having some more consistent staffing,” Bradley said. “Folks have moved on to different places, and I think that having a consistent staff that the associate director can work with and having that stability [will increase] the customer service that was not always a consistent thing.”

Bradley also said she wanted to focus on retention within the college because upperclassmen have been dropping out of the college as they approach graduation.

“I think that we do a great job with the freshman,” Bradley said, adding that “we seem to be missing something in the junior and senior years.”

With Bradley and other candidates, students brought up issues they’ve faced with the honors capstone thesis project. Bradley said if she were selected for the position, she would like to see more freedom in the thesis track and more students coming up with creative ideas for their theses.

Bradley was the final candidate to be on campus for this position. Fox, the student representative on the selection committee, said that as far as he knew, the associate director and academy head would be named as quickly as possible.

“Ultimately, the decision is up to Dr. Cobane,” Fox said in an email. “Even after he selects, however, the chosen candidate has a two-week period to consider his/her decision, and if the offer is turned down, the next candidate in line receives the same treatment.”