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Freshmen feel mixed emotions on university’s Honors program

By Paige Fisher

While Oklahoma Christian University takes pride in its Honors Program, freshmen Honors students are divided in their opinions of the program. Some enjoy the Honors experience, while others are not pleased with the way things are being done.

Founded in 1996, the four-year program is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council and is currently headed by Dr. Jim Baird, who holds degrees in both bible and philosophy. The program is made up of 160 students, as only 40 are accepted each year. Davisson Hall, one of Oklahoma Christian’s dorms, is reserved entirely for Honors students.

The Honors Program draws students of all disciplines and majors. Symposium, an Honors-exclusive chapel, is held every Monday. All graduating Honors students are required to propose and complete a Catalyst Project during their senior year involving their particular area of study. In addition to this, an Honors student’s general education curriculum is replaced by an Honors curriculum, with a total of seven classes to take over the course of four years.

The difference in general education classes is where the newest Honors students take issue. Sarah Alley, a psychology major, said that her Honors experience is nothing like it was described to her when she was visiting Oklahoma Christian.

“It just sounded like it was going to be a little bit harder gen-eds, and that was going to be that, but they’re ridiculously hard and very, very time consuming,” Alley said. “That was never explained to me at all, like how much time I was going to spend on these Honors classes that I don’t care about as much as my major classes.”

Matthew Estep, an Honors freshman pursuing a mechanical engineering degree, enjoys the Honors classes. He said they keep him thinking, as opposed to regular general education classes, which he said would leave him bored.

Both Alley and Estep, along with other freshmen pursuing STEM majors, agree the Honors courses are far more liberal-arts focused than anything else.

“There are multiple ways to be very, very intelligent without just being a person that’s liberal-arts minded,” Brennan Vandyke, a freshman and computer science major, said. “I can’t think of a reason that many engineers would get too much benefit out of Honors.”

The community that comes with being in Honors, however, is widely praised by the freshmen in the program. They enjoy the friends that who are easily made by living together and having classes with the group of people. It makes studying easier and classes more fun.

The Honors dorm, which was remodeled only a few years ago, is another favorite among the freshmen. Davisson Hall comes with a full kitchen and various study rooms idealized for group studying and dorm events.

Addison Schwamb, a freshman computer engineering major, said she greatly appreciates the fact upperclassmen in Honors live in the dorm as well.

“Most of the people in my friend group are sophomores that are in my major, so if I’m struggling with a class, whether that’s one of the Honors classes, or one of my major classes, they can help me out and help me solve my calculus problems,” Schwamb said.

All four students interviewed were asked what they would like to change most about the Honors program. Alley said if she could change one thing about the Honors program, she would make the classes more “applicable.”

“I wish they could make it a little more applicable to all majors,” Alley said. “I feel because I’m never going to use it in my specific field, so I wish they maybe had different classes geared toward different majors.”

Vandyke said he found the classes super hard and of no benefit to his major.

Schwamb said she didn’t like the fact that freshman year requires the most Honors classes in the students’ schedule, and that she wished they could be spread out more over the course of the four years so freshmen wouldn’t be overwhelmed with work.

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