January 12, 2009
Dr. Karen Youmans, Oklahoma Baptist University associate professor of English, made the presentation, "Small College Thesis Projects, Special Challenges and Rewards," at the 43rd Annual National Collegiate Honors Council Conference Oct. 22-26, 2008, in San Antonio, Texas. Youmans directs OBU's college honors program.
Youmans prepared and presented this session with Nicholas Hunt-Bull, a fellow honors program director at Southern New Hampshire University. The presentation, followed by discussion and a question-and-answer period, drew a full room of about 60 people.
"This year's presentation, ‘Small College Thesis Projects, Special Challenges and Rewards,' came out of discussions in the Small Colleges Committee about the number of students who make it through several years of honors work, but fail to complete the senior thesis," Youmans said. "While this is not a problem at all unique to small colleges, we approached the issue from our own experience in the small colleges context."
In spring 2006, Youmans was appointed to the Small Colleges Committee of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), which seeks to assure that smaller academic institutions have a voice in NCHC matters and a presence at the convention. The committee primarily sponsors conference sessions devoted to issues unique to small-college programs as well as the special challenges - such as limited funding and personnel resources - that small college programs face. The Small Colleges Committee meets annually at the conference to propose session and workshop topics for the following year's conference.
In partnership with colleagues from Trinity Christian University and St. Mary's College, Maryland, Youmans previously made presentations at the NCHC Annual Conferences including, "Growing in Honors: Curriculum in the Small College Honors Program" in Philadelphia, Pa., in 2006, and "Growing in Honors: The Freshman Year Experience" in Denver, Colo., in 2007.
"OBU's involvement with NCHC helps keep our program aware of current trends and issues in honors education, and provides for the honors director an excellent network of fellow honors administrators to seek out for suggestions and advice on issues ranging from recruitment and retention, to curriculum innovation and assessment, to service-learning and community building," Youmans said.
Youmans also is involved in a network of honors administrators organized by the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities within NCHC to offer support and vision to those administrators working in faith-based institutions.
"This has proved a wonderful resource and support network for me," Youmans said. "This group has begun, in recent years, to sponsor conference sessions on topics of particular interest to faculty and administrators in faith-based schools such as, ‘How can honors education further the mission of Christian colleges?' and ‘What is the connection between honors education and the cultivation of spiritual wisdom?' The number of sessions is growing each year."
For more information about the mission of National Collegiate Honors Council, visit the Web site at www.nchchonors.org