Honors Testimonials: Delaware Honors Program

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of testimonials from students and faculty at leading public university honors colleges and programs.

The approachable Honors staff has fostered an Honors community since freshman year and has personally helped me take my undergraduate research to a global scale through Honors enrichment and Fulbright advisement. (Michael Karavolias, Class of 2016, Chemical Engineering Major)

Housing has definitely been an advantage of the Honors Program. Louis L. Redding is one of the newer buildings and the rooms are nice and spacious. Also, we get priority scheduling, which is awesome. (Megan Aidoo, Class of 2017, Medical Diagnostics Major)

There are community-building and stress-relieving activities such as hot chocolate and cookies and ice cream on the porch, and every time I’ve gone, I’ve become more familiar with the Honors Program staff and have been able to talk to other Honors students who I had never met before. (Mackenzie Campbell, Class of 2017, Foreign Languages and Literatures and International Business Studies Majors)

The Honors Program has allowed me to take smaller classes where I can reach my full potential and push myself further in my studies. (Jessica Sugarman, Class of 2016, Foreign Languages and Literatures Major)

Honors faculty are personable and always eager to further a student’s understanding of a subject. They are eager to create a community within their class and encourage every student to succeed. (Sarah Hartman, Class of 2017, Environmental Engineering Major)

Through the Honors Program, I received unparalleled attention and mentoring when applying for scholarships to continue my education. (Timothy D’Agostino, 4+1 Program, Environmental Engineering)

The UD Honors Program attracts an extremely high-quality student. They are a pleasure to teach because they are so intelligent, motivated and diligent. (Philip Mink, Professor of English)

An Honors course is one where students are expected to think at levels far beyond what I ask them on the syllabus, which I regard as a starting point for our work. (Victor Perez, Professor of Sociology)

Honors courses–colloquia, separate sections, add-ons to regular courses, provide a unique collegiate setting within which students can build meaningful learning relationships not only with faculty, but with each other. The small class sizes allow a deep and sustained level of interaction, and permits the class to delve more substantively (and organically) into subject matter or particular interest to the students. (Matt Weinert, Professor of Political Science and International Relations)

Delaware Honors Students to Have New Residence Hall

A new East Campus residence hall will house students in the excellent  honors program at the University of Delaware, beginning in the Fall of 2013.   The new hall will feature traditional floor configurations, not suite-style, but will be air-conditioned and offer outstanding public rooms on each floor along with larger community rooms, one of which will have a grand piano.

East Campus at UD is the epicenter of the freshman first-year experience, and is served by the adjacent Russell Dining Hall.  The Perkins Student Center is also close at hand.

“The design of these buildings, particularly the public spaces, is ideally suited to creating the living-learning environment that is central to the Honors Program’s First Year Experience (FYE),” Michael Arnold, director of the University Honors Program, said. “The meeting spaces on each floor and complex lounge will greatly facilitate community building across the entire Honors Program freshman class.”

The largest of the new structures will be home to 450 freshmen honors students.  Now referred to only as “Building A,” the university reports that the location will be further enhanced by the following:

“Adding to this first-year neighborhood will be three other projects, scheduled in the area:

• Refurbishing of the space in the Perkins Student Center formerly occupied by the University Bookstore. Improvements, scheduled to be completed by this fall, will include new meeting places for students and office space for registered student organizations.

• Construction of a new dining facility and residence hall on Academy Street across from Perkins. Work on this project will begin this summer, with completion expected in summer 2015.

• Renovation of the Harrington Residence Hall Complex. This project will include an update of interior finishes and fixtures in the rooms, along with a refurbished student fitness center and a convenience store in the Commons. This project also is scheduled to begin this summer with completion in summer 2015. ”

Students living in the complex will benefit from having resident assistants (RAs) with diverse sets of skills hired and trained specifically to support the needs of first-year students, she said. RAs in the new buildings will be supervised by a complex coordinator and two residence hall coordinators.



Honors Residence Halls, University of Delaware

The Russell Complex at the University of Delaware features dorms with a “Z-shape” interior so that the two occupants have a diagonal separation between them for extra privacy. Russell is more or less required for freshman honors students (see official description below), but whatever a new student thinks about this requirement or the dorm rooms themselves, the Russell dining hall offers three things that can cheer up tired and stressed out students: pizza, hard ice cream, and omelets.

The word is that Russell is the place on campus where these appealing choices are the best.
Now for the official word:

“Freshmen admitted to the Honors Program are housed together in the Russell Complex on East Campus, a popular location that is a short walk from the University’s Morris Library. East Campus is also home to the Perkins Student Center, the Harrington Fitness Center, the Russell Dining Hall, and the Harrington Computer Site.

“Living in first-year Honors housing is a requirement of the freshman year in Honors, although it is possible to get a waiver of this requirement if you plan to live at home with a parent or guardian and commute to campus. The Honors freshman community is enhanced by Russell Fellows, upper-class Honors peer mentors who choose to continue living with the freshmen. They serve as a resource to help with the adjustment to college life and to plan programs and community building activities both inside and outside the residence halls.”

The Russell Complex houses not only honors freshmen but ROTC students as well. Russell has undergone a fairly recent renovation, and according to students the rooms and grounds are clean. The Resident Assistants and Russell Fellows are good at planning entertaining activities for the whole complex and for individual floors.”

In each double room there is a sleep area and a separate work desk and computer area. The desk measures 42 inches wide and 24 inches deep. Thompson and Lane are other honors dorms. All are located on East Campus, one of the best spots on the scenic but fairly large UD campus. Be aware, however, that Russell is not air-conditioned. Perhaps the best news is that most classes on “the Green” are only five minutes away. And “the Beach,” a popular campus common area, is close to the complex.

The Russell Complex also has a shared kitchen and a “quiet” study room, in addition to the adjacent dining hall.