Inventive Learning Opportunities
When Mari Chapa came to Purdue Northwest as a nursing major in 2014, she anticipated a rigorous curriculum with little flexibility. As it turned out, there was plenty of rigor, but her Honors College experience generated opportunities she would
otherwise have missed— opportunities the recent graduate credits as instrumental in landing a job at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Mari’s four-year PNW experience is an example of how all Honors College students are exposed to
innovative educational approaches:
- In her Honors Leadership course, Mari gained valuable experience overseeing 25 mentors charged with ensuring that incoming freshmen enjoyed a smooth transition to PNW. She developed workshops, instituted new training strategies,
managed a budget, assessed progress, and formally evaluated her staff.
- As a teaching assistant in her Honors Teaching course, Mari planned lessons and led class sessions related to first-year experience material, such as research opportunities, career planning, tutoring and writing centers, and other university resources.
- For her special topics seminar, Mari enrolled in “Justice, Politics and Society,” which required students to research current events, thoughtfully consider multiple perspectives, and engage in structured debate and discussion.
As PNW continues its drive to become recognized as an Hispanic Serving Institution, the College’s partnership with the Hammond Education Foundation (HEF) and its College Blueprint initiative is expanding to include more outreach to and education for underrepresented high school populations. Blueprint is a college readiness program committed to teaching
students about processes and strategies for gaining access to and persisting successfully in college. Two years into the partnership, here is how the Honors College is helping Hammond Blueprint students succeed:
- Twenty-seven Blueprint students who might otherwise not have gone to college will be attending
Purdue Northwest this fall. Honors College administration and staff were on hand in May for the celebratory admission “signing ceremony” for these students.
- Honors College students majoring in STEM fields led a series of summer workshops for Blueprint students to ensure that their foundational math and science knowledge has prepared them for college-level coursework.
- PNW and Honors hosted a two-day symposium in July for rising Blueprint high school seniors. In the context of completing college applications, the College provided these students with instruction about the value and strategies of a personal essay, the importance of following the application timeline, and the significance of including details of extracurricular activities.
Improvement Through Alumni Engagement
The College recently established an Alumni Board committed to supporting and mentoring students, friend-raising/fundraising, and advising the Honors Leadership Team about policy and programming. Chaired by Matt Meier (’15), now pursuing a Ph.D. at Purdue West Lafayette, the board includes graduates from the 12-year history of Honors and all PNW colleges. During 2018-19, the board will
focus on mechanisms for providing detailed feedback to Honors administration in response to the College’s mission of preparing students for optimal post-graduation success.