Honors experiences include a distinctive learner-directed environment and philosophy, provide opportunities that are appropriate to the university’s culture and mission, and frequently occur within a close community of students and faculty. For these and similar reasons, students often enjoy Honors College courses, which tend to be small and highly interactive with minimal busy work. The Honors College at Purdue Northwest is qualitatively different from the other five academic colleges. Home to students from all majors, the Honors College offers its own curriculum and various co-curricular activities. Upon completion of these requirements, students graduate from both the Honors College and the college in which their baccalaureate degree is housed. Approximately 12 faculty members currently have appointments in the Honors College.
Preparing Students for Success
A principal component of the Honors College’s mission is to maximally prepare its students for success after graduation. Traditional elements of applications for employment or admission to graduate school, such as high grade point averages and strong letters of recommendation, are inadequate without supporting qualifications. The Honors College provides its students with opportunities to build on their outstanding academic profiles through exposure to leadership experience, volunteer service, and substantive research with university faculty. Students may also
earn the privilege to be a teaching or research assistant, or to earn scholarships to study abroad. These kinds of experiences equip capable students with tools that will help them stand out
from the competition and ultimately succeed in their professional pursuits.
Going forward, the overall population in the Honors College will double in size, reaching the optimal level of approximately 550 students in five years. Correspondingly, the Honors Living and Learning Community, housed on the third floor of University Housing’s Griffin Hall, will expand significantly. Dean John Rowan plans to develop an undergraduate research center focusing on interdisciplinary issues related to critical thinking and inquiry.
Rachel Kunnen’s experience as student president of the Honors College, along with her significant success in undergraduate research, helped her gain admittance to the University of Notre Dame’s graduate program in health sciences. Kunnen was awarded first place on PNW’s Student Research Day in March 2017 for her project on endophytic fungi.
Matthew Kresich, student vice president of student life in the Honors College, led student efforts to organize the first-ever volunteer fair at PNW. The fair attracted numerous nonprofit organizations in northwest Indiana to the campuses to recruit student volunteers. The Honors College will continue to grow its university-wide coordination of outreach
activities under Matt’s leadership.
Kelley Sharp’s work this past year as an Honors College teaching assistant and a peer mentor to incoming freshmen contributed to her acceptance in a competitive summer internship program in veterinary technology at the Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee.
Alejandra Gomez utilized her leadership training to start up Unidos, a new student organization for Hispanic students at PNW. Unidos aims to bring people together through their Hispanic heritage.
Haley Smith, former student president of the Honors College, led a delegation of PNW Honors students to Kanagawa University in Japan during the summer of 2016. During their five-week stay, Haley and her student colleagues assisted Kanagawa’s efforts to establish its own Honors Program. They also took courses in Japanese language and culture.
The Honors College hosts the annual, regional Science Olympiad competition, which involves hundreds of students from two dozen schools in northwest Indiana. Below, Honors College student Abdul Ali assists middle schoolers from Forest Ridge Academy at the Hovercraft event.