Genesee Students Design Independent Research Project Through College Honors Program

Twenty-four Genesee Community College students are completing independent research projects this spring through the College's Honors Program, Associate Professor of English Karen D. Taylor and Patricia Pierson-Schwartz, Assistant Professor of Sociology reported to the Board of Trustees Monday evening.

The Honors Program provides students with an opportunity to pursue an especially rigorous academic program as well as independent study projects, the two Honors Program faculty coordinators said. Besides independent projects, the program consists of periodic interdisciplinary honors seminars, one-to-one faculty mentoring, and opportunities to participate in community service projects. Recently, Honors Program students assisted with Habitat for Humanity's Harlem Ambassadors fund raising initiative.

Independent projects are based on a broad academic theme. During the Fall 2005 semester, students used the theme of "social justice" to learn about subjects in a variety of academic disciplines. Projects included such subjects as the legal and social implications of eminent domain, global warming, and a study of human calamities across the globe. During the Spring of 2006, students are exploring "Encounters with the Muslim World," and projects will be presented within the next month.

Students who complete the program, which includes 12 academic credits specifically designated as honors credits, receive a special "honors" designation on their diplomas. Nine students received this designation last year, and four more students are expected to receive it next month.

The Honors Program gives Genesee students the opportunity to design studies on subjects of interest to them, Professor Taylor explained. "This program is perfect for students who have special interests and who want to be challenged," she told trustees.

The Honors Program interdisciplinary course will probably be offered during the Fall 2006 semester, Professor Taylor said. Students have suggested "Death and Dying" as a possible Honors Theme, and faculty members are currently exploring this, she said.