Are you academically inclined with an interest to really get involved with what you love? Consider applying to the University’s Honors Program! Out of the endless possibilities and numerous benefits of this program, meeting with the honors pro-staff is probably one of the best yet most under-rated of these experiences. Honors pro-staff can help you to and through the requirements of being in the honors program and through the commonly feared (although it shouldn’t be) experiential learning!
I have been a part of this program since I was an incoming freshman, and you can find the requirements here once you are a part of the program, but I have really only taken a shallow dive into the honors experience until this past year when I met with and was taught by the honors pro-staff.
What is honors pro-staff?
Honors pro-staff is a team that works closely with and for university honors students. With jobs ranging from director of the program to specific branch coordinators, everyone works to enhance the honors student experience and their learning outcomes. Currently honors pro-staff consists of a director, associate director, program coordinator, scholarship specialist, project coordinator, experiential learning specialist, advising director, assessment manager, and admissions coordinator. You can find these current roles and those within them here.
How do you meet with honors pro-staff?
You can email honors pro-staff directly to set up a scheduled time for a meeting, go to their listed office hours, or if you are currently an honors student, some have appointments available to be scheduled with you on MyUI.
Honestly, though, I think I have had more impromptu meetings with pro-staff rather than scheduled ones. If you find yourself in the honors building on campus, Blank Honors Center, the majority of offices are on the floor of my favorite study spot (4th Floor Nelson Activity Room). I run into pro-staff in the hallways, their door is often open for those to stop by quickly, and I have even run into pro-staff at university events.
Often times pro-staff is around campus doing outreach as well. I have had the director of the honors program and the advising director come to my (honors) class and talk about opportunities within the honors program. The associate director of the honors program was even my professor for a semester!
What was your experience with meeting honors pro-staff?
I have had a few sit-downs and scheduled meetings with honors staff. The most recent of which, with the new experiential learning specialist, was extremely helpful. I came in for the meeting initially to figure out what paperwork I had to do to get my current experiential learning on file and figure out what was already on file. Within minutes, a spreadsheet was pulled up that had all of my questions answered for me. Not only was this fast and efficient, but I got to talk to this member of the pro-staff in a one-on-one format. We talked about current experiential learning experiences, and I learned that I was making too much work for myself and could fill out one form rather than the seven I was originally trying to do. This was something I would have never realized if I didn’t just begin with a genuine conversation with the pro-staff allowing her to get to know me and for me to get to know her. We even were able to bounce some ideas off of each other for future endeavors!
Of the more frequent connections with the honors, pro-staff was my experience with the associate director of the honors program being my professor. This was a class that had an application process, so unfortunately you can’t just sign up. However, as an honors student, you can apply by filling out the honors scholarship portal as an admitted student to the honors program. Here again, a connection was made where the associate director, myself, and other students were able to talk not only about learning but specifically about civic and community service and the aspects of learning within those fields, and how to get involved. I found this as a perfect opportunity to not only share the progress of experiential learning but also soak in how to make an effect with the experiential learning the honors program seeks for students to complete.
What is all the emphasis on experiential learning?
Experiential learning is the second half of the requirements for honors program students to complete after they have completed 12 semester hours of honors coursework. This is where you really reflect on your learning in work, volunteering, trips, summer programs, research, and more. This is all because the honors program emphasizes that not all learning happens in the classroom, and this is one of the core features of the honors program. Experiential learning is this in action, and with reflection, you can see just how much you have learned and possibly an impact you have made on a community or individual.
What do I do to get involved in experiential learning?
Just about anything that is not a class may count for experiential learning. Here you can find examples of other students’ learning experiences as well as the required forms to submit experiential learning for credit. Of course, if you are at a loss for opportunity or just need to bounce ideas off of someone, talk to honors pro-staff! They are there to help.
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