The Honors Program at Ferris State is a growing, thriving, and rapidly-advancing project to be involved with. Since the Honors Program originated in 1996, it has progressed by leaps and bounds every year. Particularly within the last (almost) year, it as advanced by broadening its horizons, ultimately creating a customizable Honors Program for Ferris students. This could not be possible without the drive, motivation, and initiative of Honors’ main Office staff members. Whether it is answering questions, giving advice unavailable from anywhere else on campus, or supplying popcorn to students on Wednesdays, Honors is always giving their smiles and kind words to students. The four staff members are such positive, strong influences in students’ lives and forming lifelong connections and relationships between the students and staff is anything but abnormal.
Dr. Peter Bradley, Honors Program Director
The Honors Program acquired a new director as of last semester, but not too much is known about him. Dr. Peter Bradley, Director of the Honors Program, hails from Westminster, Maryland, and brings with him a unique view on academics. Surprisingly enough, Dr. Bradley was not an Honors student, coming from Antioch, a Quaker College. “There were no written, formal grades. Everything was based purely on the evaluations your professor had given about you.” Doesn’t that sound nice?
After receiving his undergrad at Antioch, he went on to further his studies, which included earning his Ph.D. at Temple University and his post-doctorate degree at Washington University in Philosophy Neuroscience Psychology. “I would not go to class, but ace the tests so that I would pass by. This way, grades are not a measure of education, but a measure of mastery. Standard grades are in relation to how other peers have done in the past, and it allows students to do the bare minimum to succeed. It deteriorates motivation in students.”
As such, Dr. Bradley is ready to bring multiple changes to the current Honors Program. “First, we need to meet the basic characteristics of a fully developed Honors Program,” he explains. By comparing the requirements and maintenance of Ferris’ program compared to other Michigan universities and colleges, he sees that Ferris is not below everyone, but is definitely sub-par.
For example, all (previously admitted) Honors students had to have at least a 3.4 high school GPA, as well as a composite score of 24 on the ACT. This minimum cut off multiple students who either didn’t test well or had differences in GPA calculation. The new requirements (of which, only two out of the listed three are required) are a 3.5 high school GPA, a 25 on the ACT, or top 10th percentile within a student’s graduating class. Maintenance of Honors has also increased from maintaining a 3.25 GPA to a 3.3 GPA (for incoming students).
In addition to differences for incoming students, current Honors students can see multiple benefits that will arise from the Honors Program. For instance, newly available “Honors contracts” enable students to take a non-Honors course and make it possible (if criteria is met) to receive Honors credit.
If any students have questions about the Honors, such as classes or curriculum inquiries, Dr. Bradley is available in the Honors Offices (located by Pickell’s south entrance).
**Questions regarding cultural events or service should be directed to the Honors Advisor, Charles Malone.
Charles Malone, Honors Advisor
As of September 9th, 2013, the Honors Program has a new advisor. We welcome Mr. Charles Malone, who has come to Big Rapids all the way from Colorado. Mr. Malone has brought along his wife, Mrs. Susan Hazel Rich, and their two kittens to Big Rapids.
Mr. Malone was also once an Honors student. At Kent State in Ohio, he studied English and earned a graduate degree in literature. He then went on to Colorado State to study poetry. After doing some teaching at Colorado State, Mr. Malone worked with residential life at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, where he was able to closely collaborate with students. He loved the idea of working with students.
Here in Ferris’s Honors Program, Mr. Malone would like to apply his love of closely working with others by ultimately being a resource for all things Honors. He plans to be involved with RSOs and leaders, give support and ideas, and make customizing and personalizing the Honors Program for students easier.
When asked what Mr. Malone plans to experience with the Honors Program, he responded, “I plan to be involved in many service projects and further develop and expand the Honors Program’s depth into cultural events, making Honors able to collaborate with the rest of the university efficiently.”
Mr. Malone would like to present Honors in a fresh, exciting way, celebrating its diversity and overall experiences that come along with being a Ferris Honors student. He plans to use his interpersonal communication skills from his previous residential life and counseling roles to listen to the Honors community—students, faculty, and staff alike—on a personal, comfortable, regular basis. “The diversity of this position, Honors, Ferris State University, and the Big Rapids community will benefit me as a person,” he said.
“I hope that the Honors community takes risks and pushes themselves to make the Honors Program customizable to benefit your goals. I challenge everyone within the Honors Program to go outside of his or her personal comfort zone and just satisfying what is asked of him or her. Be creative and propose ideas you can really think about,” he concluded.
Mr. Malone will be posting on the Honors Facebook, Twitter, and Blog frequently. You may also contact him at CharlesMalone@ferris.edu.
Honors Secretary, Tammy Babcock
In the Honors Office, Tammy Babcock works as the “eyes and ears” of the Honors Program. Whether it is answering emails and phone calls, finding answers to questions from prospective Honors students, planning events through the Honors, or advising the Honors Programming Board, Tammy is always busy in the office. Just some events that Tammy is involved in planning are the annual Honors Speech Contest, Honors Banquets, the Honors Invitational, and the Senior Symposium. Some of her favorite events are the Honors Variety Show, Honors Art Show, and the Senior Symposium.
When asked what her favorite things are about the Honors Program, Tammy exclaimed that she loves the students! She finds them incredibly inspiring and she looks forward to them visiting the office, even if it’s just for Popcorn Wednesdays. She also explained that she loves the sense of community that the Honors Program brings, and elaborated by saying that she is excited to see other forms of unity progressing as the Honors Program continues to grow and further develop in the years to come.
As one of the main people in the office that strives to improve the Honors Program, Tammy explains the importance of the program. “Having an Honors Program is good for the institution’s reputation. Having an Honors Program at Ferris makes the institution more attractive for high-achieving students. Our program can support those that need advice and guidance on their way to the top.”
When asked to provide advice for current and future Honors students, Tammy replied, “Get involved on campus! Whatever students are involved with in college will make a significant impact on their life forever. Also, I can’t stress enough about study away opportunities. If students have the chance to go, don’t let anything stand in your way. Our office can help you find those opportunities—which are many.”
If you have any further questions or would like to contact Tammy, feel free to stop in Pickell Hall 142 during regular hours (8 AM-5 PM). All of the Honors staff loves meeting students! Also, if you have any suggestions for the Honors Program, please send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Honors Clerical Support Staff, Sharon Goss
If you have ever tried to contact the Honors Office, chances are clerical support staff member Sharon Goss was the individual that helped you! Sharon is responsible for answering incoming calls from students, as well as parents. She posts on all of the Honors social media pages, student blog, and online calendar in order to keep students updated. When students submit cultural event reports, or any other document required for Honors, Sharon takes care of them by sending them to their correct destinations. Also, all of those informative and super fun Lunch-and-Learns sponsored by Honors? Sharon is the one to thank for organizing and coordinating those! Sharon also takes time to assist Dr. Peter Bradley (Honors Director), Tammy Babcock (Honors Secretary), and newly welcomed Charles Malone (Honors Advisor).
When asked what her favorite thing about Honors is, Sharon answered, “Students, students, students!” She explains that it is crucial to recognize how much effort and extra time that Honors Students put into the Honors Program. She admires how fun the students are and the hardworking leadership put into the Honors community in order to make it the best it can be.
As advice for current and future Honors Students, Sharon beautifully advises that, “Obviously having good grades and working hard is important, but it is also important to enjoy your time in college. Your years at Ferris are for growing and learning about life, and you can only do that if you are living life to the fullest. Enjoy your friends, enjoy your experience, and enjoy your youth.”
With the many new changes developing throughout the entire Honors Program, Sharon is excited to see how things progress and how students utilize the many new branches of the Honors Program. She looks forward to watching the program grow, as well as growing along with it!
To get to know Sharon Goss more, feel free to take a stop into the Honors Office during regular hours (8 AM-5PM). On Wednesdays, there is FREE popcorn so take a minute to drop in and say “Hi!”
Students and faculty appreciate everything the office staff does for the program, going above and beyond to make students feel included, in-the-know, and at home. Next time you see any Honors staff member, please demonstrate your gratitude and thanks for all of the effort that they put in!
This article was written by Endeavor editor Logan Bixman and staff members Nicole Christy and David Nguyen.