Honors COVID-19 Response

Hello Current and Future Honors Students:

We want you to know that through the summer and as we transition back to fall, Honors is committed to your safety and ensuring you have a well-planned, intellectually challenging, and fun experience. We are committed to creating safe and supportive learning spaces for all students. We will be flexible and practice empathy and compassion for those who are affected by these circumstances.

Honors is growing and we are expecting about 200+ students in good standing in the Program this fall, all scholarship funded, and hopefully all waiting to get back to the university and Honors community! The nature of Honors education places a high burden on us to maintain the quality of your educational and social experience with greater safety precautions and we take this mission extremely seriously

If you need to contact us, we are here to help. For current and incoming students, we reach out via the listserv and as always, the Wiki has everything you need to stay informed. For anything else:

Service Program

Last year Honors was ranked #1 at the Island University for community service and we want to keep it up! While this was arrested in spring, we are continuing to plan meaningful service events for fall. Our plan is to enhance offerings so that we can properly socially distance. This will involve more events with fewer people, as well as events that have staggered times when available to allow greater participation. We may have to organize more than three dozen community service events with multiple slots if it comes down to it, plus Program events, but we are committed to the success of our service program. We are brainstorming events that can be done individually as well. If you have any suggestions, you may contact our service leaders Elizabeth Longo or Shelby Gould. Remember, Honors is only as strong as your participation.

Program Events

Events, such as Symposium, Honors Ball and both Spring and Fall Retreat are extremely important for our community. I suspect we may have to adapt to outdoor venues for these large events to social distance. For the Retreats we may have a barbeque on campus with games and events, similar to our past pool parties if we can secure appropriate space. If it seems prudent, we can rent the Art Center again for Honors Ball or find another suitable venue. Showcasing your accomplishments is #1 on our list. We will find a way to hold Symposium as appropriate during the academic year. Contact Dr. Ozymy or Professor Evans if you have any questions. We will let everyone know by July how we will handle fall retreat.

Conference Travel

In 2019, Honors sent over two-dozen people to academic conferences across the country and around the world. We can typically pay at least $1,000 for a conference or more if funds are available and the need is great. We plan to resume funding conference travel again in fall if and when TAMU system travel bans lift. If they do not lift until spring, then we will fund then. You can always attend a local, state, or regional conference by car as well and receive reimbursement. Contact Dr. Ozymy for any questions about funding travel over the summer or fall.

Scholarships and Funding

We anticipate funding students at current levels through the next academic year. Scholarship awards for summer have already been distributed and we will make awards for fall/spring by the end of June. First-year scholarship awards are automatic upon joining Honors and remain for four-years if you stay in good standing. If you have been awarded an endowed scholarship the terms are specific to your scholarship and may be for one year or continue for four years. If you have any questions about scholarships or funding, please contact Dr. Ozymy.

Honors Dorm and Lounge

The rooms in the Dorm are private with a Jack-and-Jill bathroom for two people. We ask that you be conscientious of your roommates and when using the common spaces to practice social distancing or wear a mask. We have the ability to reserve the conference room for events (large space near the pool across from Miramar’s office) so just feel free to ask Dr. Ozymy if you want that reserved or the RA (currently Alyssa Trickey). The Lounge is usually okay for social distancing except for peak periods (i.e. during finals and lunch). We ask you to practice good judgement if you head over to the Lounge and it is full. We will provide masks for those that need them as long as we can. If you need any food or supplies in the Lounge you can contact Elizabeth Longo. We keep a list and restock the Lounge and Dorm periodically in fall and spring with water, munchies, and supplies of all kind.

Applied Experience, Internships, and Project of Excellence (POEs)

We set up dozens of applied experience and internship opportunities last year and want to do the same through summer and fall. Professors are working with their mentees on research in responsible ways and internship and applied experiences will still commence for those that want them. Dr. Ozymy manages these issues so if there is ever an issue or concern you can contact him to discuss

Study Abroad/Away

We are working on the assumption that study abroad courses for summer 2021 will be able to move forward. As it currently stands, our plans are to continue our Honors-only trips that were cancelled this summer to Mexico, Scotland, and Costa Rica (for our graduating nursing students). We anticipate being able to fund study abroad at current levels. We will verify details as the fall term progresses. If you have any questions about the details of the trip itineraries we had planned for this summer and expect to move forward with in some form for next year, please contact Professor Evans. Honors has and continues to fund students for other university study abroad/away trips for classes, service, and travel. Some recent examples include service trips, internships, and shadowing in foreign hospitals. If you have an idea or plan to do something in this regard, please contact Dr. Ozymy. We will always help if we can but remember this summer TAMUC System rules will not allow us to fund travel.

Rec Sports and Alternative Spring/Winter Break Trips

Another benefit of being part of the Honors community is that we pay for 100% of Rec Sports and alternative breaks. We have a dedicated crew of Honors students that love this stuff, so if you participated in any of these trips last year or this year, you realize there will almost always be Honors students on the trip as well. Funding these important trips at 100% will continue into the next academic year. We currently expect to continue with our Honors-only Outdoor Leadership class to Utah again next summer, as well and greatly subsidize the cost of the trip. To sign up for Rec Sports you can see the list of trips on their website, we will make a list available in fall, or you can contact Cole Castleberry. All you need do is let them know you are in Honors and we will cover it.

Honors Student Association

The Honors Student Association plans to continue to put the health of our members and the community first in the Fall of 2020. We will adhere to any rules and regulations set by our University. We hope to be able to continue to hold social and service events, with careful planning to ensure the safety and health of students. While plans are not yet set, we are also considering alternatives to in-person meetings and socials just in case the university places regulations. For more information please contact Elizabeth Longo.

Classes

A hallmark of our curriculum is providing opportunities and spaces where you can explore your passions and find support to achieve your goals. This will not change. The pandemic will provide us new opportunities to increase our capacities for learning if we are flexible, innovative and compassionate – all qualities of successful scholars and leaders. We will continue to provide active, hands-on learning in all of our classes.

For HONR 1101 – Campus Leadership, which consists of two meetings per week, you will meet once a week for lecture in an interactive, video-conferencing environment. This will allow our class of approximately 45 students to share ideas and problem-solve via large- and small-group activities and conversations, which would not be possible in a socially-distanced classroom. For your second meeting of the week you will meet in a smaller recitation class that allows for social distancing. In order to foster relationships and connections to the Program, the University and our community; we halved the size of the recitation classes and doubled the number of Honors mentors who lead these classes. Therefore, you will meet face-to-face with 10-11 of your peers and your Honors mentor. There may be times during this class where you wish share work with your mentor or a classmate that would bring you closer than 6 feet, so we ask that you wear a face covering while in this class.

For HONR 2101 – Honors Experience Seminar, which consists of one meeting per week, will be a 7-week course. We will meet in a classroom that allows for social distancing with 14 of your peers. By shifting time originally allotted for “in-class workshop” to “on your own,” we are able to keep our meeting time the same, cover all of the material needed, and end our course on October 9, allowing us to decrease our number of face-to-face interactions at the start of the common flu season. While we will practice social distancing in this space, there may be times when you share your work at a closer distance so we ask that you wear a face covering while in this class.

The remaining Honors Seminars are independent study courses which involve one-on-one learning opportunities between a student and faculty mentor or course instructor. These meetings will be scheduled regularly and can occur in spaces that allow for social distancing or in a videoconference setting. For regular Honors classes please contact your instructor for specifics. If you are contracting a class for Honors credit, please contact the individual instructor as well in those cases.