FAYETTE, Iowa (July 27, 2012) – Upper Iowa University will launch an Honors Program this fall to address the academic needs of the most academically prepared students who enroll at Upper Iowa University. Students who have at least a 26 ACT score and at least a 3.5 high school grade point average will be invited to join the program, which will continue throughout their years at Upper Iowa and culminate in graduating with University Honors. About 25 incoming freshmen have been accepted in the UIU Honors Program for the fall.
Creation of the Honors Program was made possible by a gift from Barbara (Rankin) Csomay, Class of 1946.
"Rolling out the UIU Honors Program is an important part of the University's continued ascension as a destination of choice for academically gifted students," said UIU President Alan G. Walker. "Our incoming freshman class this fall is projected to show the largest increase in average ACT score that we've ever seen in a single year – a full point above last year's average score, which was already above the national average based on last year's National ACT scores."
"We are very grateful to Mrs. Csomay. Her gift has enabled us to strengthen our academic programs and design what we know will be an exciting and worthwhile experience for these students that will give them a broader view of the ever-evolving world. Honors students will learn to challenge their assumptions about the world, and we know they will become innovators and leaders in the global community," Walker added.
"We are very pleased to be able to offer an Honors Program on the Fayette campus," said David Chown, UIU chief academic officer. "Our academic programs have always provided an excellent education for all our students; and now we offer even more to those students who thrive in an environment of academic rigor and challenge."
"Keeping academically gifted students motivated and engaged is a challenge at every educational level," added Melik Peter Khoury, senior vice president for strategic positioning and Chief Strategic Enrollment & Marketing Officer. "These students have already shown their love of learning in their earlier classroom successes, and the honors program will support their interests while guiding them toward greater learning and new explorations in and out of the classroom. It will help develop a commitment to learning that will benefit these students throughout their lives."
The UIU program was developed by the Honors Program Working Group, led by Eric Eller, associate professor of international business and incoming Faculty Chair.
Initially offered only to freshmen in Fayette, the program begins in the fall semester with two newly developed courses: "Honors Arts" and "Humanities and Honors Freshmen Seminar." Other courses will be developed to cover the students' first two years and, for juniors and seniors, will include an honors project in the student's area of interest, overseen by faculty advisors. Each honors course will be interdisciplinary and team taught, with active, participatory learning, and will require integrated, critical thinking and advanced writing skills.
Through the program, students will take a common set of honors courses, working and studying together throughout their undergraduate years. As part of their experience, UIU offers accommodations on an honors floor in one of the new suite-style residence halls, currently under construction as part of Upper Iowa University's $100 million capital investment.
"Students will benefit greatly from the experience of having two interdisciplinary faculty members in each classroom," Eller said. "Additionally, outside the classroom experiences, which include service learning, professional conference attendance and participation, and undergraduate research, will provide superior value-added for the students."
About Upper Iowa University
Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to over 6,800 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study.
Monica Bayer Heaton
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing