UI Chicago Honors College Offers Strong Faculty Involvement

Although the overall honors credit-hour requirements for the University of Illinois-Chicago Honors College are not as extensive as those in many universities, the UIC college places a premium on faculty involvement with students–which may be the most important aspect of honors education.

Students are assigned a faculty fellows, usually from the major department.  “Honors College Fellows come from departments in all colleges across the UIC campus. These faculty members apply for appointment as Fellows to have the opportunity to work with talented undergraduates, and to help such students perform at their highest level of ability. Busy both as scholars and as teachers, the Fellows of the Honors College deserve thanks from the entire UIC community for their support of Honors College students, which leads students to success at UIC and beyond.”

Some departments, such as business, engineering, biology, and psychology, have 20 or more honors advisors each in order to keep up with the demand for the most popular majors.   And in departments with clear specialty areas (business, engineering), there are advisors from each speciality area (management, marketing, accounting, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, etc.).  Students must meet with their honors fellows at least twice a semester, but often meet much more frequently.  Students who fail to keep their required appointments are reported to honors staff.

As an honors advisor, the Fellow:

• Helps the student decide on honors activities each semester;

• Serves as the student’s and the Honors College’s agent in the home department;

• Provides guidance for the student’s independent study or research, working with the student directly or suggesting other appropriate faculty members with whom the student might work;

• Encourages and advises the student regarding the student’s Honors College Capstone Project, which is typically completed during the last two semesters before graduation. The Fellow might serve as the faculty advisor for this project, or might help the student find other appropriate faculty advisors. The capstone generally also fulfills requirements of departmental honors programs (research projects, senior papers or theses, etc.) leading to graduation with departmental honors.

As a mentor in a more general sense, the Fellow:

• Welcomes the student as a member of the academic community, encourages the student to identify with that community, and develops a relationship with the student that fosters such identification. In the relationship with the student, as in all UIC faculty-student contacts, the Fellow is sensitive to all issues as described by the university’s Nondiscrimination Statement.

• Encourages the student to pursue academic excellence;

• Serves as a source of information about the department, the campus, graduate school, and careers;

• Helps the uncertain or immature student develop academic or professional goals and strategies for achieving them;

Serves as a sponsor and advocate for the student — encouraging the student to take advantage of academic opportunities, calling departmental colleagues’ attention to the student’s abilities, writing letters of recommendation, etc.;

Identifies highly talented students at the earliest possible stage and calls them to the attention of the department and the Honors College;

• Encourages outstanding students to apply for major awards (Fulbright, Marshall, Mellon, NSF, Rhodes, Truman, etc.) and helps them become competitive for such awards;

• Serves as an ambassador for the Honors College in his or her home department, college, and across the campus.

The strongest departments nationally at UIC are clinical psychology (42), criminology (19), education (38), english (41), fine Arts (45), history (36), mathematics (36), nursing (11), occupational therapy (4), pharmacy (14), physical therapy (16), public affairs (37), public health (16), social work (24), and sociology (41).  Engineering overall is ranked at number 68.

Our admission stats for UIC Honors College are outdated, but they show a minimum SAT/ACT of 1240 and 28, respectively, along with a high school rank in the top 15 percent.  Continuation in the program requires a 3.4 GPA.  Honors students may choose to live in honors floors in several living/learning residence halls on campus.