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Southern Illinois University Edwardsville revitalizes its Honors Program


EDWARDSVILLE — Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is redesigning its Honors Program starting with new freshmen, who are attending in fall 2016, and students who are transfers or continuing students in spring 2017.

ruckh eric“Our goal is to provide the best of liberal arts education at a vibrant University that has dynamic professional schools,” said Eric Ruckh (left), associate professor of historical studies and director of the SIUE Honors Program. “The honors program accelerates the transition of students from thinking of themselves as passive recipients of information to active creators of knowledge.”

Students will be able to work within any major in the College of Arts and Sciences or in the professional schools. Priority class enrollment will be a featured benefit. As freshmen, honors students will have the opportunity to live in a Focused Interest Community, known as an FIC.

The SIUE Honors Program aims to build a diverse community of highly motivated, high achieving students who will become innovators in their fields, leaders in public life and balanced individuals with the ability to live well.

Ruckh believes that by concentrating high-achieving students in a vibrant honors community, they gain the advantages of both competition and support. With their active participation in a public university, SIUE Honors Program students will encounter a wide range of people and challenges that mirror life beyond the university, he said.

An integrated curriculum will present the world’s deep problems with an understanding that solutions will not come from single disciplines and/or professions. Today’s and the future’s complex issues require hybrid solutions that integrate the insights of multiple fields.

“It is crucial that we prepare young people for this situation early in their academic careers,” Ruckh said.
The Honors Program core will involve 15 credit hours that will move sequentially through seminars. Students will begin by focusing on the big picture, enduring questions and then advance to examining the connections between completely different forms of knowledge, times, places, cultures and concepts. Students will examine real world issues and be given an opportunity to apply what they are learning to those problems.

Four brief courses will follow providing honors students the opportunity to grapple with profound issues such as the future of liberal arts education, the contradictory nature of globalization or the dynamics of the public sphere in a conversational manner.

“We hope to provide honors students with opportunities to learn to converse about complex, value-laden topics and learn, through experience, how to see the world from other perspectives, and develop a degree of empathy and humility.”

For more information, contact Ruckh at

— From the Illinois Business Journal

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