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Notes from the Hunter Senate: Honors for all?

Taken from the Hunter Senate website.

The college senate is seeking to open the honors distinction to more students, once it can pass a proposed series of resolutions. The reso would allow any student with a GPA above 3.5 to take honors classes, instead of just those in an honors program or cohort. In addition, honors classes will now be indicated as such on students’ transcripts.

Introduced during the Nov. 28 senate meeting, the measures would redefine how the school views honors-level work.

“Hunter students now take honors courses and sections that do not appear on their final transcript with an appropriate honors designation,” the resolution says. “Students in such sections are held to higher expectations and are graded according to honors standards–but do not receive recognition for this additional work on their final transcript.”

A number of people spoke up in favor of the resolution, including Demi Moore, a Macaulay Honors College senior.

“When we Hunter students are presented with an opportunity for academic advancement, we rise to the occasion,” said Moore, standing at her seat at the back of the auditorium. Moore is a member of the Select Committee on Honors, and has been working with the committee since the fall of her sophomore year to pass the legislation.

The resolutions stipulate that honors can be achieved at any level (100, 200 etc.), but the actual class distinctions, as well as the decision about what constitutes honors-level work, will be left up to individual departments. The purpose of the resolutions is simply to provide guidance in the decision. They create a pathway to honors for all.

The expansion of honors courses will require the passing of three separate resolutions. The first one included language that defined the guidelines. It also advocates that honors classes include more experiential learning, learning communities and flipped classrooms, where traditional lectures are replaced with discussion and activities in the classroom.

The second resolution establishes that the registrar will identify classes as “Campus Honors,” so students can easily locate them when registering, passed on Wednesday. It also stated that the word “honors” will appear in the title of completed classes on students’ transcripts.

The third resolution, which will create a webpage that lists honors courses, was left to be debated at the next senate meeting on Feb. 6.

The senate meeting also included updates on these issues:

• The search for a new library dean continues. In her remarks at the beginning of the meeting, President Jenifer Raab said that the search to fill the position has been narrowed down to four potential candidates.

• At its next meeting, the senate will discuss the library renovations including i plans to reorganize stacks space and create ground floor access to the library via Poses Park—most likely by connecting it to the B-level library space.

• A motion to give diplomas to a group of graduating students on Jan. 15 passed unanimously. “That would be a hard one to vote no on, huh?” said Senate Chair Thomas DeGloma with a laugh.

The Hunter College Senate is the main governing body of the school. It passes resolutions on all manners of school policy, including curriculum changes and program funding. The senate meets on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5:25 p.m. in Hunter West 714. The next meeting is Feb 6.

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