Each year, we provide an update of Goldwater scholarships won by public university students, and public universities did extraordinarily well in 2017, winning 128 out of 240 scholarships awarded this year. The percentage of scholars is down slightly from 2016, when 136 out of 252 scholars were from state universities. This year, there were also 307 honorable mentions.
The total number of scholarships has declined from 260 awarded in 2015, to 252 in 2016, and now to the 240 awarded in 2017.
The University of Alabama and Iowa State led publics with four scholars each, the maximum for any one school.
The following universities had three winners each: UAB, College of Charleston, Cincinnati, Ohio State, South Carolina, Tennessee, UT Dallas, Washington State, and UW Madison.
And those with two winners each are: Clemson, George Mason, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Miami Ohio, Michigan, UN Omaha, UN Reno, New College Florida, New Mexico, UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte, Oregon State, Stony Brook, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Geneseo, UC Santa Barbara, Utah State, and West Virginia.
It is notable that more publics that are not flagships are seeing success with Goldwater awards. Two thoughts on this development: (1) honors colleges, emphasizing undergrad research, are growing in these colleges and (2) the faculties at these schools often have credentials than, in past decades, would have earned them an appointment at an elite university. These are reasons that New York Times columnist Frank Bruni can write an important book titled Where You Go Is Not Who You Will Be.It helps to explain why Rhodes Scholars can now come from schools such as UW Eau Claire and UT Chattanooga.
The 2017 list of multiple winners above does include schools that are Goldwater leaders over time, with more than 40 awards total as of 2017: Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Georgia, Indiana, UNC Chapel Hill, South Carolina, and Alabama.
We provide this update each year because Goldwater scholars are all still undergraduates, and their selection is an indication of the undergraduate research opportunities at their universities. The Goldwater Scholarship is and amazing predictor of postgraduate success.
Here’s evidence provided by the Goldwater Foundation: “Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 89 Rhodes Scholarships, 127 Marshall Awards, 145 Churchill Scholarships, 96 Hertz Fellowships and numerous other distinguished awards like the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.”
“The Goldwater Scholars were selected based on academic merit from a field of 1,286 natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering students nominated by the campus representatives from among 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide. Of those reporting, 133 of the Scholars are men, 103 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. Twenty-two Scholars are mathematics majors, 153 are science and related majors, 51 are majoring in engineering, and 14 are computer science majors. Many of the Scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering, and computer science.”
The one and two year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.
Editor’s Note: This is the second post in a new, lengthy series that will highlight ten or more public university honors colleges and programs that are (1) excellent academically and (2) offer substantial merit aid either through the honors program or the university as a whole.
For many readers it will come as no surprise to learn the the University of Alabama and its honors college offers some of the most generous merit aid packages in the country to high-achieving students. Yet our recent visit to UA sites revealed an even larger range of excellent scholarships than we had thought were available.
Before a listing of those awards (see below for national merit, in-state, and OOS), please know that the Honors College, despite being the largest in the nation (possibly as many as 7,000 students), nevertheless earned a 4.5 (out of a possible 5.0) rating in our latest book, Inside Honors.
The major academic strengths of the college are a very large selection of honors classes, including honors sections in most academic disciplines; and an average honors class size of 26.6 students, even counting honors classes in the various departments. Honors students also do most of their honors work in honors-only classes, i.e., in classes that have few or no non-honors students.
Excellent honors residence halls are another strength of the college. The honors residence community includes Blount and Paty Halls, but almost 60% of honors students living on campus reside in Ridgecrest North and South, while another 28% live in Ridgecrest East and West.
“These buildings feature 4-bedroom suites with private bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living/dining area, and a kitchenette. The kitchenette has a full-size refrigerator, microwave, and cabinet space. The bedrooms feature height-adjustable beds with extended twin mattresses.”
Honors students are increasingly successful in winning prestigious Goldwater Scholarships, including the maximum of four allowed to a single college, in 2017. The award goes to outstanding sophomores and juniors who are working in the STEM disciplines. UA students have also won 15 Rhodes Scholarships and 16 Truman Scholarships.
MERIT AID FOR NATIONAL SCHOLARS
National Merit Finalists can receive the value of tuition for up to five years or 10 semesters for degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate (or law) studies. In addition,
–One year of on-campus housing at regular room rate (based on assignment by Housing and Residential Communities.
—A $3,500 per year Merit Scholarship stipend for four years. A student must maintain at least a 3.3 GPA to continue receiving this scholarship stipend. If a corporate-sponsored scholarship from the National Merit Corporation is received, the total value cannot exceed $3,500. (For example, if you receive a corporate-sponsored scholarship of $2,000 per year, UA will contribute $1,500 per year to reach the total stipend amount of $3,500. There is a one-time allowance of $2,000 for use in summer research or international study (after completing one year of study at UA).
—Technology Enrichment Allowance $1,000.
National Merit Semifinalists are also eligible for extremely generous aid as Presidential Scholars, amounting to full tuition for four years. The award requires a 32-36 ACT or 1450-1600 SAT score and at least a 3.5 GPA. Recipients “will receive the value of tuition, or $41,800 over four years ($10,470 per year). Students graduating with remaining tuition scholarship semester(s) may use these monies toward graduate school and/or law school study at UA.”
ACADEMIC ELITE SCHOLARSHIPS
To be considered for the Academic Elite Scholarships, a student must be accepted as a member of the University Fellows Experience (UFE). The student must maintain membership in the UFE to continue holding an Academic Elite Scholarship. Complete information on the UFE can be found on the University Fellows website.
There are a total of 8 academic elite scholars named each year. The pool of eligible applicants typically exceeds 1,000 students. These scholarships are awarded for 4 years. Seven Academic Elite Scholarship recipients will receive: Tuition plus one year of on-campus housing at regular room rate, $8,500 stipend per year, and a $1,000 one time technology stipend
The top Academic Elite Scholarship recipient will receive: Tuition, one year of on-campus housing at regular room rate, $8,500 stipend for the first year, $18,500 stipend for years 2-4, $5,000 study abroad stipend (to be used after at least one academic year is completed), a $1,000 one time technology stipend.
Eligibility for the University Fellows Experience requires an ACT score of 32 or a SAT score of 1450 (evidence-based reading and writing plus math) and a high school GPA of 3.8 who is accepted into UA will be eligible to complete the University Fellows Experience application. Applicants must first complete the Honors College application, and then must complete the UFE application. The general UFE application deadline is December 15.
OTHER MERIT AID ESPECIALLY FOR IN-STATE STUDENTS
First time freshmen who meet the December 15 scholarship deadline, have a qualifying score on the ACT or SAT and have at least a 3.5 cumulative high school GPA through the junior year will be eligible for the following merit-based scholarships:
Crimson Achievement Scholar: A student with a 25 ACT or 1200-1230 SAT score and minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA will be selected as a Crimson Achievement Scholar and will receive $8,000 over four years ($2,000 per year).
UA Legends: A student with a 26 ACT or 1240-1270 SAT score and minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA will be selected as a UA Legends Scholar and will receive $10,000 over four years ($2,500 per year).
Capstone Scholar: A student with a 27 ACT or 1280-1300 SAT score and minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA will be selected as a Capstone Scholar and will receive $16,000 over four years ($4,000 per year).
Collegiate Scholar: A student with a 28-29 ACT or 1310-1380 SAT score and a minimum GPA of 3.5 a student will be named a Collegiate Scholar and will receive $20,000 over four years ($5,000 per year).
Foundation in Excellence Scholar: A student with a 30-31 ACT or 1390-1440 SAT score and at least a 3.5 GPA will be named a Foundation in Excellence Scholar and will receive $32,000 over four years ($8,000 per year).
Presidential Scholar: A student with a 32-36 ACT or 1450-1600 SAT score and at least a 3.5 GPA will be selected as a Presidential Scholar and will receive the value of tuition, or $41,800 over four years ($10,470 per year). Students graduating with remaining tuition scholarship semester(s) may use these monies toward graduate school and/or law school study at UA.
MERIT AID ESPECIALLY FOR OUT-OF-STATE STUDENTS
Note:These are the same requirements as those above for in-state students, but the dollar amounts are larger. Please note especially the extremely high value of the Presidential Scholarship for OOS students.
Capstone Scholar: A student with a 27 ACT or 1280-1300 SAT score and a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA will be selected as a Capstone Scholar and will receive $20,000 over four years ($5,000 per year).
Collegiate Scholar: A student with a 28 ACT or 1310-1340 SAT score and a minimum GPA of 3.5 will be named a Collegiate Scholar and will receive $24,000 over four years ($6,000 per year).
Foundation in Excellence Scholar: A student with a 29 ACT or 1350-1380 SAT score and at least a 3.5 GPA will be named a Foundation in Excellence Scholar and will receive $52,000 over four years ($13,000 per year).
UA Scholar: A student with a 30-32 ACT or 1390-1480 SAT score and at least a 3.5 GPA, he or she will be named a UA Scholar and will receive $76,000 over four years ($19,000 per year).
Presidential Scholar: A student with a 33-36 ACT or 1490-1600 SAT score and at least a 3.5 GPA will be selected as a Presidential Scholar and will receive $100,000 over four years ($25,000 per year). Students graduating with remaining scholarship semester(s) may use these monies toward graduate school and/or law school study at UA.
A recent paper by a prominent honors director and associate cites three main concerns of parents and students about participating in an honors program:
“They and/or their parents believe that honors classes at the university level require more work than non-honors courses, are more stressful, and will adversely affect their self-image and grade point average.”
Some students, the authors write, “are likely basing their belief on the experience they had with Advanced Placement (AP) classes in their high schools. Although AP classes are not specifically designed to be more work or more difficult, at their worst they can be little more than that.”
The authors of the paper, “The Effect of Honors Courses on Grade Point Averages, ” are Dr. Art Spisak, Director of Honors at Iowa the University of Iowa and Suzanne Carter Squires, a Churchill Scholar and former Director of Assessment for Iowa honors. Dr. Spisak is also the current President of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC).
As the title states, the authors focused on whether honors participation does in fact lower GPAs, probably the overriding concern of parents and students.
After reviewing and citing previous related studies and conducting two in-depth studies of their own at a large public research university, the authors conclude that “the findings show that the perception of honors courses as adversely affecting GPAs is invalid.”
The previous studies indicated that honors and non-honors students of equal measured ability had about the same GPAs or the honors students had higher GPAs in the first year and about the same GPAs going forward.
An important finding of one study also showed that honors students have “higher self-concepts than do high-ability students not participating in an honors program.”
The first study by Spisak and Squires “began with a cohort of 786 students that was unusual in its makeup and, for that reason, especially apt for the purpose. All 786 students were part of an honors program at a large, public, R1 university. They all had earned their way into the program via a minimum composite ACT/ SAT score of 29/1300 and a high school GPA of at least 3.8. Once in the program, they had to maintain a university GPA of 3.33 to maintain membership.”
“Of the original cohort of 786 honors students, the study considered only the 473 students who had remained in the program for at least two years.” This would appear to indicate a low retention rate, but the program at the time automatically enrolled students who met the stats requirements and many dropped out. Most honors programs use invitation-only approaches now.
“The findings from this first study were that the mean GPA of honors students who took honors classes (3.74) was statistically the same as that of honors students who took no honors courses (3.70).
The second study by Spisak and Squires differed from the first in that it compared honors students’ GPAs in their honors classes to their GPAs for all their classes. The first study, in contrast, compared GPAs of one group of honors-eligible students who took honors courses to those of another group of honors-eligible students who had not taken honors courses.
The results showed that “honors students’ GPAs in their honors courses are statistically the same as their GPAs in all their classes. Thus, the conclusion for the second study is the same as for the first study: honors courses do not adversely affect the GPAs of honors students.”
So…if honors students in honors classes have the same GPAs (or even higher) that students of equal ability in non-honors classes, can one conclude that honors classes are not competitive or demanding?
The likely answer: honors classes typically cover more material and in greater depth than non-honors classes, but smaller class sizes, greater engagement with professors, and encouragement or competition from peers create more interest and focus.
Editor’s Note: This is the first post in a new, lengthy series that will highlight ten or more public university honors colleges and programs that are (1) excellent academically and (2) offer substantial merit aid either through the honors program or the university as a whole.
The decentralized approach allows for the program to work with more than 5,000 students, making the program one of the largest in the nation.
Before a discussion of highly competitive merit awards for OSU students, it should be said that the University Honors Program is extremely selective despite its large enrollment. Our estimate of the average new SAT score for current students is 1470-1490, with an average ACT of 32-33. This equates to roughly the top 10% of OSU students.
While the university-wide six-year graduation rate is about 83%, the honors grad rate is about 91-92%. University Honors students can choose from 250-300 courses each term. More than a thousand first-year students enroll each fall. About 60% of first-year students (more than a thousand) choose among three main honors residence halls. Each residence has its own honor-related programming. Two of the residences are air-conditioned. The remainder of first-year honors students reside in other university residence halls, many of which have living/learning themes.
The Honors Program coordinates the Eminence Fellowship, the most lucrative and prestigious award at the university. Eminence Fellows receive a “full ride” to OSU. In 2917, there were 17 fellows, all members of the honors program.
Given the high selectivity of the honors program, it is no surprise to find that fellows typically rank in the top three percent of their graduating classes and have an ACT composite score of 34 or higher or SAT combined Critical Reading and Math score of 1520 or higher.
Yet even impressive stats do not guarantee a fellowship. “Eminence Fellows demonstrate academic achievement, intellectual curiosity, high regard for humanity, and significant involvement both on and off campus.” Measuring factors such as a “high regard for humanity” is difficult, and so is the winnowing of fellowship applicants: more than 1,200 apply and only 17 fellowships were awarded in 2017.
On the other hand, the university awards about 300 Morrill Scholarshipseach year. The scholarships require both strong academic qualifications and characteristics that contribute to the diversity of the university.
Here, diversity means more than a racial or ethnic profile. The “targeted” students include not only ethnic and racial minorities but also first-generation, low-income, and Ohio Appalachian students. In addition, the awards may go to students whose gender is not typical of the major (e.g., women in engineering), or whose major is atypical but desirable (e.g., agriculture). Notably, Agriculture is one of the disciplines that offer many honors courses via the University Honors Program.
It is important to understand the three levels of Morrill awards:
Distinction equals the value of the cost of attendance for both Ohio residents and nonresidents, or a “full ride.” Only about 25 of the 300 Morrill awards are at the Distinction level. One hundred students are invited to interview for the 25 awards. Recipients likely need ACT 33 or new SAT ~1500 along with an extremely high class rank and achievements.
Prominence equals free tuition for out-of-state students.
Excellence: Equals the value of in-state tuition for Ohio residents.
The minimum stats for Prominence or Excellence awards are about 28 ACT or new SAT ~1320.
It is also possible to receive a Maximus Scholarship based mostly on stats and then be considered, usually later, for a Morrill or even Eminence award. The Maximus minimum stats requirement is high (top 3%, 32 ACT or 1450 new SAT) but not related to diversity goals as far as we can tell. The award approximates half the cost of in-state tuition, or about $5,000.
Finally, Provost and Trustees awards are $2,500 and $1,500 a year, respectively. The Provost minimum requirement is top 10%, 30 ACT, or new SAT of 1390. The minimum requirement for Trustees is top 20%, 29 ACT, or new SAT 1350 or higher.
Editor’s Note: The creation and expansion of honors colleges is a major development in higher education. Below are two examples, each from the university’s public information departments.
Aiming to recruit more high-achieving high school graduates and enrich its undergraduate experience, the University of Wyoming is taking initial steps to expand its Honors Program.
The concept of transitioning the existing Honors Program to an Honors College was favorably received by the UW Board of Trustees last week, and the university administration plans to present a full proposal to the board at its May meeting.
“Our Honors Program has a long and rich history, and we see tremendous opportunity to make it an even more vibrant and influential part of the university,” Provost Kate Miller says. “Transitioning to an Honors College would raise its profile, allowing us to attract, retain and add value to the experiences of some of our finest students and faculty at an even higher level than we do now.”
Among the plans are moving the Honors Program from its current location to the Guthrie House — former home of the UW Foundation — on the south end of the UW campus; changing the position of Honors Program director to Honors College dean; and expanding honors enrollment and programming.
Slightly more than 900 UW students are currently part of the Honors Program, which provides coursework, advising and scholarships for high-achieving students who commit to take certain courses, maintain a grade-point average of at least 3.25 and complete a senior capstone project. Students graduate with an honors minor in a variety of fields.
The proposal expected to go before the trustees in May calls for changing the honors minor to a concurrent major or part of a major in all fields of study; gradually expanding the Honors College faculty and staff to accommodate more students; and, in general, developing a curriculum that would better prepare students for professional or graduate school success.
“The competition for high-achieving high school graduates in Wyoming and the region is becoming more intense, and most of our competitors for these students now have honors colleges, which is a national trend,” Miller says. “We feel strongly that this would be beneficial for the entire university as well as the state.”
The UW Faculty Senate is considering the Honors College plan, which stems from multiple reviews of the Honors Program and a steering committee report completed in December.
The Arizona Board of Regents approved construction of Northern Arizona University’s Honors College Living and Learning Community at its meeting in Tucson last week.
The 204,656-square-foot building, which is going up at University Drive and Knoles Drive, includes bedrooms, classrooms, a student advising center and study areas. It is a state-of-the-art building designed to be a place where Honors College students can live, study, congregate and collaborate with others who are passionate about learning and creating. The project will cost more than $56 million.
“We are pleased to see an increasing number of top-performing students choose NAU, and programs like the Honors College play a major role in attracting and engaging these students,” President Rita Cheng said. “This facility is an example of our commitment to make NAU home for the region’s best and brightest.”
The Honors College is the oldest honors program in Arizona, and it continues to grow; enrollment increased by 24 percent for the 2016-2017 school year. NAU recently changed the Honors Program into an Honors College, allowing for greater recruitment and retention opportunities for the top talent in the state.
Participation in the Honors College allows undergraduate students to take specialized courses, including a capstone course, access the Honors Writing Center and do research. Establishing classes specifically for Honors students provides them the opportunity to break out of traditional classroom settings and mentor their peers.
Wolf Gumerman, director of the Honors College, said students are put on flexible and rigorous pathways to help them achieve their educational and career goals, offering access to research and a thesis, internships, faculty mentors and more.
“For high-achieving students, the benefits are amazing,” he said. “Our classes are smaller and more discussion-based, and the new curriculum is really driven by the students’ interests.”
Preliminary work to address infrastructure began in the fall, with construction beginning this summer. With the addition of the Honors community, which is scheduled to open in fall 2018, and SkyView, which opens this fall, NAU will add nearly 1,300 on-campus beds in less than 18 months, allowing the university to remain in the top 1 percent of universities nationwide providing on-campus housing.
“I am excited to see the Honors Residential College move forward and break ground next week,” said Rich Payne, executive director of Housing and Residence Life. “This facility will help NAU recruit and retain highly motivated scholars to the Honors College and provide a new high-profile home to students, dedicated faculty and staff where students will enjoy rich in and out of classroom activities and interactions in state-of-the-art surroundings.”
The Kiplinger Best Value College Index methodology emphasizes a “quality” side in relation to the “cost” side of a university. The quality side includes selectivity, retention, and four-year grad rates, while the cost side takes tuition, fees, merit aid, need-based aid, and post-graduation debt into account.
For the 16th straight year, UNC Chapel Hill leads as the best public value for both in-state and out-of-state (OOS) applicants.
The Southeast and Mid-Atlantic account for 10 of the top 25 best public value schools. West coast universities in the UC system along with the University of Washington account for another half dozen in the top 25.
In the middle, so to speak, are traditionally strong publics including Michigan, UW Madison, Illinois, UT Austin, Minnesota, and Ohio State.
Acceptance rates vary widely among the top value schools, from a low of 15 and 17 percent at UC Berkeley and UCLA respectively, to a high of 66 percent at Illinois.
Other publics with relative low acceptance rates include Michigan (26 percent); Cal Poly (31 percent); Georgia Tech (32 percent); UC Santa Barbara (33 percent); UC San Diego (34 percent); and UC Irvine and UT Austin (39 percent).
Below are the top 25 in-state public values, with the OOS ranking and Acceptance Rate listed as well.
The Stamps Family Charitable Foundation partners with visionary colleges and universities to award multi-year scholarships that enable extraordinary educational experiences.
Scholars receive annual awards that range from $72,000 to $5,000 (four-year awards total an average of $288,000 – $20,000) with additional funds for enrichment activities such as study abroad, academic conferences, and leadership training. The Stamps Family Charitable Foundation and partner schools evenly share the costs of the awards.
The unique benefit that all Stamps Scholarships include is an enrichment fund, an additional monetary fund for Scholars to use in their academic and professional development. They may use the award to study or volunteer outside the United States, conduct research, or participate in a leadership program or academic conference. We like to think of this part of the award as the “dream fund.”
Where to Apply
Applying for a Stamps Scholarship is easy: just apply to one or more of our partner schools. If you qualify, you’ll automatically be considered for a Stamps award.The majority of our partner colleges and universities don’t require a separate application for the Stamps Scholarship, but the application deadline and award process varies from school to school along with the amount of the award. Expect an interview (or two or three) to be part of the process.
Visit the website of the school or schools of your choice to find out more about their unique application process and deadlines.
The Stamps Foundation, with its partner schools, seeks students who demonstrate academic merit, strong leadership potential, and exceptional character. We support exceptional young people with promise and vision who are eager to make their contribution to the world and have the work ethic to make their dreams a reality.
Leadership development is at the core of the Stamps Scholarship program. Leadership potential is also a key part of the selection criteria for receiving a Stamps award. And, Stamps Scholars receive a separate financial award to participate in leadership activities of their choosing.
The Stamps Foundation welcomes and supports students from all backgrounds and areas of study. Financial need is not a consideration. At some of our partner schools, international students are eligible for the Stamps Scholarship. Students should check directly with the program that they are interested in to view eligibility requirements.
Stamps Scholarships are not transferable to other colleges or universities.
A student must apply directly to one or more of our partner schools to be considered for the Stamps Scholarship.
At certain schools, the Stamps Scholarship Program is part of an umbrella program for scholars, such as the Foundation Fellows at the University of Georgia or the Carolina Scholars at the University of South Carolina.
In many cases, students who apply by certain deadlines (often the early or ‘scholarship’ deadline) using the normal freshman application for admission will be automatically considered for the Stamps Scholarship. In some cases, however, our partner school may request a separate application for consideration of the Stamps Scholarship.
Speak with an admissions counselor or visit the website of the school or schools of your choice to find out more about their unique application process and deadlines.
Colleges Offering Stamps Scholarships:
William and Mary
Air Force Academy
Univ of Miami
Frost School of Music, Univ of Miami
Virginia, Darden School of Business
Virginia, Jefferson Scholars
Virginia-Maryland Vet Medicine
Washington Univ St. Louis
Editor’s Note: The following item is from the University of Arizona.
Tucson, AZ – April 11, 2017 –The University of Arizona Honors College will be moving into new facilities that will enhance the student experience for The University of Arizona’s top students.
Development of the facilities, to be located on Mabel Avenue between Park Avenue and Santa Rita Avenue, is expected to be completed by 2019. They will include a four-story building that will support contemporary residential, academic, and administrative needs with cutting-edge technology, a new recreation center, and a parking garage. It will also be the first Residence Life facility to have both dining and housing options.
Innovative classrooms, community creative spaces, and more personal living areas will create a centralized space for Honors students, faculty, and staff. The hope is that the facilities will not only allow students a more challenging, beneficial academic experience, but provide greater co-curricular and community-building opportunities that are so important to a holistic student experience.
“The current Honors College facilities are spread across four buildings at disparate locations on campus,” Honors College Interim Dean, Elliott Cheu, says. “A new building will bring together the students, staff and faculty under one roof.”
The need for new facilities became a focus for the college when it began looking at ways to improve the Honors student experience. New visions for academics, engagement programs, and recruitment processes made it apparent that new facilities would be needed.
“We will be able to significantly increase the interaction and collaboration between students, staff and faculty that will greatly enhance the Honors experience,” Cheu says.
A sense of community has always been one of the strengths of the Honors College, and even though the building will not be completed until 2019, current students are excited for what it will bring.
“Right now, upperclassmen are somewhat disconnected from underclassmen. A central space will bring all Honors students together,” Madison Richards (Honors Class of ’18) says.
Even though she will graduate before the new Honors facilities are completed, Richards believes future Honors students will benefit from the new building.
Penn State announced in late April that Peggy Johnson, a professor and former head of the Department of Civi and Environmental Engineering, has been named dean of Schreyer Honors College.
Johnson, who holds a doctoral degree in civil engineering from the University of Maryland, joined the Penn State faculty in 1996. Her work has focused on hydraulic engineering, bridge scour, resilient infrastructure, stream restoration, reliability analyses, and river mechanics according to the university website. She is heavily involved in her field, and has accumulated numerous honors over the course of her career —the most recent being the 2016 Hans Albert Einstein Award, presented by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
In 2006 Johnson was appointed department head of Penn State’s civil and environmental engineering program, a position she occupied for until going on sabbatical 2015. She returned in January 2016 to teach undergraduate and graduate-level engineering courses while remaining active in the world of engineering research, according to the university website.
Johnson was selected after a nearly year-long search conducted by the administration, and was one of four candidates to be evaluated in part by an interview that involved current Schreyer students.
“There are so many exciting possibilities associated with this position,” Johnson said in a statement. “The commitment of Penn State and the Schreyer Honors College to outstanding scholarly activity is clearly very strong. I am looking forward to working with an exceptional group of students and alumni, and collaborating with colleagues across the university to strengthen and advance an already strong reputation in honors education at Penn State.”
More than 1,800 students are currently enrolled in the Schreyer Honors College, which was founded in 1980 and renamed in 1997.
Pitt announced researcher and medical doctor Brian A. Primack as the new dean of the University Honors College Monday.
Primack will succeed Edward Stricker as the third Bernice L. and Morton S. Lerner Chair and dean of the UHC, beginning July 1. Primack’s primary responsibilities as dean will be overseeing the financial and administrative operations of the UHC, which is currently in its 31st year.
Pitt provost and senior vice chancellor Patricia E. Beeson said in a press release that she believes Primack will be able to ensure the Honors College persists in being the intellectual core of the Pitt community.
“Under Dr. Primack’s leadership, I am confident that the University Honors College will continue to serve as the center of gravity for our most academically engaged and curious undergraduate students and as a hub of intellectual activity for our entire university community,” Beeson said. “His broad and inclusive vision is well-matched to our aspirations for the UHC and the University.”
Stricker, who has served as dean since 2011, will be returning to a teaching position in the Department of Neuroscience this fall as he first declared when he announced in June 2016 that he was planning to step down.
Students active in the UHC complained in 2012 that he had shifted UHC policies away from the emphasis that the first dean and founder of Pitt’s UHC, G. Alec Stewart, placed on intellectual curiosity. Students wrote a letter to Stricker expressing their concerns.
“For us, the promise of an institution that promotes intellectual curiosity as its core value is what made the choice to come to Pitt so easy,” the letter said. “Nonetheless, we are deeply concerned that the value of intellectual curiosity is being de-emphasized at the service of achievement-oriented principles.”
Stricker responded to complaints by claiming that the Honors College was not solely a vehicle for pure intellectual curiosity.
“[Intellectual curiosity] is incidental but true,” he told The Pitt News in November 2012. “I wouldn’t say it’s the only thing [the UHC] does or the most important.”
According to the position profile for the University Honors College dean, Primack’s other duties will include collaborating with the UHC community to develop and implement new plans, recruiting faculty from across the University to engage with students, and promoting the UHC to current and prospective students and families. The dean is also expected to teach at least one honors course each year.
Primack is a Pitt alumnus, having earned a Master of Science in clinical science in 2008 and a Ph.D. in translational science in 2011. Primack also practiced medicine at various medical centers including UPMC hospitals and the student health services centers at both Pitt and Carnegie Mellon.
During his time at the University, Primack has founded Pitt’s Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health in 2012 and earned numerous awards for his work. He is currently a professor of medicine, pediatrics and clinical and translational science and the Leo H. Criep Endowed Chair in Patient Care in Pitt’s School of Medicine. He is also an assistant vice chancellor for research on health and society in the School of Health Sciences.
Chancellor Patrick Gallagher praised Primack’s appointment in a press release Monday, stating that his diverse academic and professional experiences and dedication made him the right pick for the job.
“As dean, Brian’s multidisciplinary dexterity — coupled with his commitment to collaborating and leading — will ensure that our Honors College continues to serve as a defining force in our University’s mission to leverage new knowledge for society’s gain,” Gallagher said.