Honors Program to add courses

Victoria Briggs, Staff Writer

          The Francis Marion University (FMU) Honors Program will begin its revamped program in fall 2014. The program will introduce its new special topics courses and has changed the manner in which students will participate.

            Now referred to as “FMU Honors,” the program was developed by Dr. Jon Tuttle, professor of English. Tuttle assumed the directorship of the Honors Program in January 2013.  He believes the special topic courses represent the biggest change of the program.

            “Some of these topics are innovative and bizarre,” Tuttle said. “These are things the faculty really want to teach, our hobbies.”

            In the past, Honors students took Honors sections of normal General Education courses. These Honor courses were traditionally small, offered different content and had a heavier reading load. Some of those courses will remain, but many will be replaced by Honors Special Topics courses in Social Sciences, Humanities, Behavioral Sciences and Natural Sciences. These Special Topic courses can count toward general education requirements and they will only be available to Honors students.

            Courses may include a range of topics such as Biology of Cancer, How Weaponry Changed History and the Drama of the Holocaust. Some of these special topic courses will be offered beginning in fall 2014.

            Tuttle said that ideas for the Special Topics courses have come from proposals from the faculty.  Later, they will select the courses that will best fit the Honors population. Honors students are also encouraged to suggest topics to the faculty.

            FMU Honors will also offer two new symposia, in addition to the current Honors 200 Science Symposium. The new symposia will feature the same weekly discussion group, but focus now on Humanities/Social Sciences and Business/Leadership.

             Tuttle thought these changes were the most significant, but the new member intake process will change as well.

            According to Tuttle, students will have to apply for membership into FMU Honors. The current process allows for students to register for Honor Courses with certain test scores for incoming freshmen or a 3.25 GPA for current students.  Current honors-eligible students will not be denied admission to FMU Honors provided they submit an application. The application will also serve as a contract, signifying that the student intends to follow through and participate in  FMU Honors.  Tuttle believes that the Honors program will be more beneficial to students now.

            “The benefit of joining the Honors program includes taking innovative courses that no one else can take,” Tuttle said. “It will all be a smaller, more cohesive community which is more beneficial than a group of 800 strangers.”

            Tuttle explains that he is shrinking the Honors population so more students will complete the program and graduate “With University Honors.” Other changes in the program include the elimination of the Honors Student Association (HSA) as well as a new logo.

            Those interested in applying for FMU Honors can visit Tuttle in Founders Hall 146 or submit an application online.