Honors College paying for more upper-division courses

Elizabeth Beilman

The Honors College is on its way to becoming “more fully mature.”

Clay Motley, assistant professor for the Honors College, said it will pay 10 percent of the salary of faculty teaching stand-alone upper division Honors courses in the fall.

This totals to about $76,000.

The pilot program came from a need for more upper-division Honors courses to compensate for increased enrollment.

Craig Cobane, executive director of the Honors College, said that in 2005, 15 students graduated from the Honors College. He said that this year, about 150 are expected to graduate.

“You can’t graduate a student unless they’re taking lower-level and upper-level courses,” Cobane said. “We need to have a substantial number of upper division courses.”

Courses in this program for the fall semester are Communication 362, History 306 and Broadcast Communication 325, Motley said.

 “The money’s there. It just really involves the department’s ability to staff it,” Motley said. “We hope that there might be as many as three more, but this is at least the beginning.”

Honors College students who started at WKU during fall 2008 are on a 33-hour model.

Those writing a thesis are required to take three hours of upper-division courses within their major and six hours of non-major courses. The non-thesis option requires nine upper-division hours and six hours of upper-division electives.

Motley said the goal of a stand-alone upper division Honors course is to provide the student with a unique experience.

“The experience should be, in some appreciable way, different,” he said.

Faculty members would ideally teach courses that are his or her specialties.

“These ought to be the quintessential personification of what you want in a course,” Cobane said.

Cobane said the faculty members teaching these courses are not taking on a heavier workload.

Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, presented the project at the open forum on March 25.

The program, which involves courses within Potter College of Arts & Letters, is also aimed at reallocating money within the university.

The money from the Honors College not only encourages faculty members to teach the courses in a uniquely Honors way, but it also frees up money for Potter College to use elsewhere.

One of these uses is hiring teaching assistants within the college.

Kumi Ishii, assistant professor of communication, will be teaching Honors Communication 362: Organizational Communication.

The stand-alone Honors section specifically “looks at communication in multinational organizations and leadership in a global society,” Ishii said.

“The number of multinational corporations is increasing, and it’s very important for them to learn about it,” she said.

One particular mode the class will be focusing on is technology-based communication, Ishii said.