The addition of the Contemporary Reading Symposium to the Honors Program will alleviate some pressure second-year honors students experience by making it easier to receive lower-level classification in the program.
Instead of regular and often rigorous course requirements, honors students can relax for a semester because the Contemporary Reading Symposium is essentially a book club for smart people, and it substitutes a lower-division honors requirement.
What a deal – three class meetings and one essay. Students who have completed lower-division honors requirements probably wish they had been offered this opportunity.
Apparently, the Honors Council is trading high academic standards for higher enrollment.
According to the 2007-2008 TCU Catalog, “The Honors Program holds as its central purpose and philosophy the stimulation and encouragement of academic activity at the highest level.”
Meeting three times a semester to discuss books like Tom Stoppard’s “Rock N’ Roll” and writing a conclusive essay doesn’t sound like the highest level of intellectual stimulation. It sounds like a ploy to increase honors student retention.
Students who worked to graduate with honors previous to this change probably don’t appreciate this academic compromise that could devalue the prestige of their degree.
The Honors Program is preparing to fulfill a 2006 proposal to establish an Honors College by 2009. In order to expand, it seems that the Honors Program is sacrificing its academic integrity.
Breathless expansion doesn’t always require lower standards.