A delegation of four students and three professors from the Chu Kochen Honors College at Zhejiang University in China visited the Richland College Honors Program June 6 to learn more about honors program curricula in the U.S. in relation to design and assessment.
“We are honored to have the Zhejiang University Honors College delegation with us at the Richland College Honors Program,” said JaiJun Bracewell, faculty member for Richland College’s School of World Languages and Cultures. “Thank you, Dr. Kathleen Stephens, for hosting this event, the faculty who attended and Dean Susan Barkley.”
One Chu Kochen Honors College student, chemistry major Yaoting Xue, is currently learning about metal-organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, basic theory of soft materials and researching soft robotics. He enjoys being a part of Chu Kochen Honors College because it is considered “a big warm family.” Prior to attending the event, Xue explained what he was most excited about: “I want to know how the undergraduate students at Richland College participate in academic work, and if it is possible for me to take a class at Richland,” he said.
Jiayu Chen is in her senior year and is devoting herself to writing her thesis under the instruction of a tutor. She has done some research on Ouyang Xiu, one of the most outstanding scholar-officials in the history of ancient China. Her plans include studying at Renmin University of China, where she can complete her post-graduate studies in higher education. “I am quite interested in various education models of honors colleges around the world to see what the different parts are and how they work,” said Chen.
When asked about the best part about being in the Chu Kochen Honors College, Chen said, “Students here receive more attention and benefit from a high-quality education. We’ve got top notch professors from various schools and departments. Every student is allowed to follow a self-designed curriculum plan to meet his or her interests and future goals. Academic training is emphasized, which prepares me for further study.”
During the visit, Xue, Chen and the rest of the Chu Kochen Honors College toured the new honors student center with Richland College Honors Program coordinator Kathleen Stephens. Later, the delegation attended a presentation by Stephens on how the Honors Program works at Richland College and had a meet and greet with honors faculty and students. They learned about the honors student learning outcomes, honors faculty workshops and other processes.
“At Richland, we have new-to-honors faculty workshops led by experienced honors faculty members from different disciplines and myself,” said Stephens. “In addition, just before mid-semester, we have faculty members give evaluation forms to their students, and then the faculty members prepare summary reports to share at the honors faculty mid-semester workshops, with an eye toward continuous improvement. We also have six honors student learning outcomes. Professors must submit a proposal to teach an honors course and include how they will meet at least two of the six learning outcomes. Many meet more than two.”
Prior to visiting Richland College, the Chu Kochen Honors College delegation attended the Fourth Annual Honors International Faculty Institute in Fort Worth June 3-5 at Texas Christian University. This intensive workshop was designed to equip university and college professors, instructors, lecturers and researchers who teach academically talented college students with knowledge, skills and resources necessary to design and teach effective honors courses.
“Through our participation in the 2017 and 2019 Honors International Faculty Institutes at TCU in Fort Worth, the Richland Honors Program is on the cutting edge of a world-wide honors movement,” said Stephens. “We are delighted that our colleagues in the TCU Honors College recommended us as a model program for the delegation from China to visit. We have also built connections with honors programs in the Netherlands through HIFI, and I anticipate Richland Honors expanding its success through this visit and through study abroad opportunities for our students, who went abroad in 2016 to London, Paris and Amsterdam, in May 2019 to Ireland, Wales and England, and are planning a May 2020 program to Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France.”
The Richland College Honors Program provides highly qualified students with an enriched and challenging academic community where they develop the capabilities necessary to excel in their educational and career goals. In May 2019, 24 students with the Richland Honors Scholar designation and 24 additional students with the Richland Honors Certificate designation graduated from Richland College. Learn more about the Richland College Honors Program at https://www.richlandcollege.edu/cd/instruct-divisions/rlc/mshp/honors-program/pages/default.aspx.
Zhejiang University is a key national university under the direct administration of China’s Ministry of Education and the joint support from China’s MOE and the Zhejiang province. Established in 1984, Chu Kochen Honors College is one of the oldest honors colleges and the most comprehensive honors college in China. For more information, visit http://ckc.zju.edu.cn/english/.
Richland College Honors Program coordinator Kathleen Stephens was recently named Region 3 Chapter Advisor of the Year by the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. According to NSCS, she was selected for her “strong leadership and unwavering support and dedication to the NSCS Chapter at Richland College.”
Stephens is the founding advisor for the Richland College NSCS chapter, which began in spring 2015. Colleague Patrick Moore, professor in the School of Social Sciences and Wellness, is also an NSCS advisor.
“It’s been a remarkable experience to watch our NSCS chapter grow from a new honor society in spring 2015 to have it achieve Gold Star status for the first time this year from the national office,” said Stephens. “I enjoy participating in the leadership development of chapter officers and helping them learn how to handle communication, responsibility and delegation. I’m very proud of them and all that they have achieved.”
In addition to her full-time duties as Honors Program coordinator, Stephens’ responsibilities as an NSCS advisor include attending new member induction ceremonies, meetings and events sponsored by the chapter; and sharing advice with officers and members.
“Your passion and commitment for student success are evident and you go above and beyond to support the chapter and encourage chapter officers to be leaders,” said Susan Kuper, director of Chapter Advisor and Campus Relations at NCSC. “We are impressed by the student leaders of your chapter and all that they have accomplished this year.”
As part of her award, Stephens will be awarded a $150 professional stipend. Her registration fee for the Leadership Excellence and Advisor Development certification online course, offered to NSCS advisors in June 2019, will also be waived.
Founded in 1994 at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., NSCS is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and is a recognized organization at more than 300 campuses across the country. This nonprofit honors organization recognizes and elevates high achievers and provides career and graduate school connections, leadership and service opportunities, and awards one million dollars in scholarships annually¾more than any other honor society. For more information, visit nscs.org.
The NSCS chapter at Richland College is part of Region 3, which consists of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Hawaii. Richland’s chapter achieved Gold Star status for the first time in spring 2019, an honor that reflects the chapter’s highly engaged members. The officers have organized several community service events this year, including a mental health awareness event as part of NSCS’s partnership with Active Minds. For more information about Richland’s NSCS chapter, visit richlandcollege.edu/cd/instruct-divisions/rlc/mshp/honors-program/pages/nscs.aspx. Students who have earned at least a 3.4 GPA on 9 college-level credit hours may self-nominate to NSCS at nscs.org/self-nomination.
Explore the British Isles with the Richland College Honors Study Abroad Program, May 20-30, 2019!
During the 11-day course, students will receive three hours of credit for Honors English 1301, 1302 or 2321 (British Literature) and participate in selected readings, all while experiencing the stunning landscapes and imposing medieval architecture in Ireland, Wales and England.
“Bringing history, literature and culture to life by experiencing what we’ve only seen in pictures, heard in a classroom or imagined in our minds is what I enjoy most about studying abroad,” says Erin Kelley, Ph.D., trip leader and English faculty member at Richland.
Interested students may attend one of the following upcoming information sessions at Richland College:
- May 2: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Crockett Hall, room C110
- May 3: Noon-1 p.m., Crockett Hall, room C110; 3:30-4:30 p.m., El Paso Hall, room E055
- May 7: 2-3 p.m., El Paso Hall, room E055
- May 8: 12:30-1:30 p.m., Crockett Hall, room C110
By studying abroad through DCCCD, students save money with a lower tuition cost versus most four-year institutions.
To participate, current DCCCD students must be accepted into the Richland College Honors Program, which requires a 3.25 GPA or higher and nine or more completed college-level credits. Students who are new to college may also qualify for the program through TSI, ACT or SAT scores. Previous Richland students who have transferred to a four-year school may also return to take the course. Apply to the Richland College Honors Program to begin the process.
A $150 discount off the Education First (EF) program cost is available through May 11, with tuition for the course due to DCCCD during the regular registration period for Maymester 2019. Scholarship opportunities are available now.