Arkansas Honors College “Honors Passport” Courses Combine Foreign Study, Student Presentations

Editor’s Note: The following information is from the University of Arkansas Honors College. The college dean has designed the Honors Passport experiences, a capstone course abroad. “Honors Passport courses send honors students and top faculty scholars to historically and culturally significant sites around the globe. During these two-week intersession courses, each student much research and present on a historic site, monument or notable individual, taking an active role in teaching the course.”

Sixteen Honors College students recently spent a full semester preparing for study abroad in Peru, and landed in Lima well-versed on the Incan Empire, the Andean Hybrid Baroque and indigenismo.

Arkansas Honors Dean Lynda Coon and Prof. Kim Sexton, Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design

“The idea is to create an international capstone experience where students and professors together explore the interaction of contemporary and historical sites, texts, and artifacts,” said Honors College Dean Lynda Coon.

Honors College Dean Lynda Coon has launched a series of innovative honors courses since joining the history faculty in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences in 1990. She helped to create the Honors Humanities Project (H2P) and as dean she has developed Signature Seminars, Forums, Retro Readings courses and this Honors Passport study abroad experience. Coon’s research focuses on the history of Christianity from circa 300-900.

Kim Sexton, an associate professor of architecture at Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, specializes in the architecture of late medieval and Renaissance Italy. Since joining the Fay Jones School’s faculty in 1999, Sexton has taught survey courses in the history of world architecture, specialized courses on medieval and Renaissance architecture, and space and gender theory. Sexton is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Loggia Culture: Spatial Practices in Medieval Italy that positions the loggia or portico in cultural history.

Arkansas psych major Linh Luu giving a presentation at Santa Catalina, a Dominican convent in Arequipa, Peru.

Dean Coon and Professor Sexton have taught the second semester of H2P since 1999. They also developed Medieval Bodies/Medieval Spaces, an interdisciplinary honors colloquium that traces the evolution of western medieval history through text, ritual and built environments.



Univ of Arkansas Chancellor to Teach Honors College Course

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Few undergraduate students get to sit down and discuss big issues with campus leaders. Next spring, 14 students at the University of Arkansas will get an unparalleled opportunity to do just that, thanks to a new Honors College course, Flagship U!, to be led by Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz.

Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz brings a great deal of leadership expertise to the table. Care to join him?

Photo of Chancellor Steinmetz, by Russell Cothren

“I’ve missed teaching and I look forward to working with these top students,” Steinmetz said. “I’d like to share what I’ve learned so far, and I’m interested in getting their perspective on issues that I deal with on a day-to-day basis.”

Steinmetz also will lead a public forum on “The Fate of theFlagship U,” at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, 2017, in Gearhart Hall Auditorium (GEAR 26).

It is rare for a university chancellor or president to teach any type of course, given the demands of their position. This course is especially unique.

“I don’t know of any other chancellors who have invited undergraduate students into their home to discuss pressing, and in some cases, controversial campus issues,” said Lynda Coon, dean of the Honors College. “What a fantastic opportunity for our students – we are very grateful to Chancellor Steinmetz for sharing his valuable time and expertise.”

Flagship U! is second in the Honors College Forum series, which brings top faculty and honors students together to discuss trending issues, from the 2016 presidential election to diversity in design.

Each student in Flagship U! will research and present on topics that shape academe, such as inclusion and access, Title IX, substance abuse, and enrollment growth. Leaders in Steinmetz’ administration will partner with the students; for example, Jeff Long, vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics, will advise the student presenting on athletics. Each student also will track developments at another flagship university, selecting from a list of schools that includes the University of Texas, the University of Michigan and Penn State.

Honors students interested in leadership – whether in academe, a Fortune 500 company, public service, or another endeavor – are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit the Forum: Flagship U! page on the Honors College website.

“We hope to draw exceptional students from every college on campus,” Dean Coon said.

About the Honors College: The University of Arkansas Honors College was established in 2002 and unites the university’s top undergraduate students and professors in a learning environment characterized by discovery, creativity and service. Each year the Honors College awards up to 90 freshman fellowships that provide $70,000 over four years, and more than $1 million in undergraduate research and study abroad grants. The Honors College is nationally recognized for the high caliber of students it admits and graduates. Honors students enjoy small, in-depth classes, and programs are offered in all disciplines, tailored to students’ academic interests, with interdisciplinary collaborations encouraged. Fifty percent of Honors College graduates have studied abroad – three times the national average – and one hundred percent of Honors College graduates have engaged in mentored research.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.