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Episode Notes | Transcript | AskTheGuest

 Hi Fives (5 Highlights)   Click for 3-Minute Listen

Professor Graeme Harper is the Dean of Oakland University Honors College, Rochester, Michigan.

In 1977, Oakland University Honors College opened its doors. Prof. Graeme Harper joined as the Dean of the Honors College in 2011. At the time there were around 400 students.

Today, it has grown to over 2000 students across majors.

In this podcast, Dean Harper tells us, What is an Honors College?, It's Origins, Introduces Oakland University Honors College, Its Distinctive Programs, What they look for in their Students, Merit Scholarships and Career Opportunities.

Hi-Fives from the Podcast are:

  1. What is Honors College?
  2. About OU Honors College
  3. Highlights of the OU Honors College Programs
  4. Criteria for Student Acceptance
  5. Career Opportunities

Episode Notes

Episode Title: Dean Graeme Harper on Oakland University Honors College: Distinctive, Personalized & Affordable for High Achieving Students.

In 1977, Oakland University Honors College opened its doors. Prof. Graeme Harper joined as the Dean of the Honors College in 2011. At the time there were around 400 students.

Today, it has grown to over 2000 students across majors.

In this podcast, Dean Harper tells us, What is an Honors College?, It's Origins, Introduces Oakland University Honors College, Its Distinctive Programs, What they look for in their Students, Merit Scholarships and Career Opportunities.

In particular, we discuss the following with him:

  • What are Honors Colleges and Programs?
  • Oakland University Honors College
  • Why Attend OU Honors College?
  • Student Requirements
  • Career Opportunities

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Introducing Dean Graeme Harper, OU Honors College [0:52]
  • Hi Fives - Podcast Highlights [2:11]
  • What is an Honors College? [4:42]
  • Origins of Honors College [6:02]
  • Honors College vs Honors Program [8:42]
  • Honors College Admissions [10:42]
  • About OU Honors College [12:15]
  • Highlights of HC Programs [15:20]
  • Examples of “Interesting” HC Programs [17:52]
  • Popular Courses [21:43]
  • Criteria for Students’ Acceptance [24:03]
  • Profile of Honors Students [28:04]
  • Applying to HC [29:59]
  • Merit Scholarships [32:57]
  • Impressive Career Opportunities [36:09]
  • Checklist to Evaluate Honors College [39:47]

Our Guest: Professor Graeme Harper is the Dean of the Oakland University Honors College, Rochester, Michigan. Dean Harper received the Bachelor of Arts degrees in History, English, Economic History from the University of Sydney. He then earned her Master of Letters from the University of New England (AU), PhD in Creative Arts from University of Technology Sydney. Dean Harper also received a PhD in from the School of English and American Studies from the University of East Anglia (UK).

Memorable Quote: “ There's quite a strong focus here [Honors College] on doing a project and doing some senior work with mentorship. And there's quite a strong emphasis on collaboration and working with the different faculty and so forth across campus.” Dean Graeme Harper.

Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.

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Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

<Start Snippet> Graeme H  0:15  

People are awarded on the basis of their application to the institution so they know what they're going to get directly from admissions pretty pretty quickly. But the honest, has additional scholarships on top of so, you know, they may have a merit scholarship. And then they apply to the Honors College. There's a central application system here that goes to all units in the university. And if their honors college or future honors college students, we will get their applications. We have scholarships, frankly for everything.

Venkat  0:52  [Introducing Dean Graeme Harper, OU Honors College]

That is Graeme Harper, Dean of Oakland University Honors College, in Rochester, Michigan.

Hello, I am your host, Venkat Raman.

The Honors College was inaugurated at Oakland University in 1977.

Prof. Graeme Harper joined as the Dean of OU HC in 2011. At the time there were around 400 students.

Today, it has grown to over 2000 students across majors. The Honors College represents 15% of all UG students on OU campus.

Venkat Raman  1:35

On our podcast, Dean Harper tells us, What is an Honors College?, It's Origins, About OU HC, Highlights of its Distinctive Programs, What they look for in their Students, The Application for HC, Merit Scholarships and Career Opportunities.

Before we jump into the podcast, here are the Hi-Fives,  Five Highlights from the podcast:

Graeme H  2:11  [Highlights - Hi Fives]

[CUR]

An Honors College is a gathering of usually relatively high achieving students. There are different characteristics to how that might be defined, but within a college environment, it tends to be focused on students who are high performing students in some respects.

[Research & UG Students]

They asked a group of six honors college students and because Michigan State obviously had the first honors college in the nation in 1956. These were the first students who actually were in an Honors College. And they asked these six students, what would they do if they had a branch campus, Which Oakland originally was a branch campus of Michigan State? What would they do if they had a completely blank canvas canvas and to create a new university?

[Faculty Participation]

Highlights do include independent work on a project I think that that's one of the big highlights. It's one of the things I enjoy working with students on most so that sort of you know, often called a thesis but not always call the thing, sometimes a project, that's a highlight to me, I mean, somebody that that enjoys new knowledge and investigating new ideas. That's a that's a fabulous thing for students with mentorship.

 

[Success Stories]

But we have three point seven GPA requirements so that somebody is automatically able to join the Honors College, if they have a 3.7. If they're below that GPA, they're able to apply and make a case often with a letter of recommendation. In fact, two letters of recommendation.

[Advice for High Schoolers]

I keep a pretty close eye on what's happening with students that want to go into the medical fields. Finding that 99% which is a ridiculous number, it's close enough to being 100. That may as well say 100, but 99% of them are getting into one of their top three choices of graduate school or med school. And that's incredible.

Venkat Raman  4:13

These were the Hi5s, brought to you by “College Matters. Alma Matters.”

Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Venkat Raman  4:24

Now, I'm sure you want to hear the entire podcast with Dean Harper.

So without further ado, here is Dean Graeme Harper!

-----------------

Venkat Raman  4:33  

 So why don't we start with some basic definition what is what is an Honors College

Graeme H  4:42  [What is an Honors College?]

An Honors College is a gathering of usually relatively high achieving students. There are different characteristics to how that might be defined, but within a college environment. It tends to be focused on students who are high performing students in some respect their comments to that the obviously helped increase diversity and so forth. But in many ways, that's the focus and an honest college tends to be a designated unit or program. Honors Programs, obviously, have a relationship, and there is a close relationship between the origin of some honors colleges and honors programs that preceded them. But there's a difference in the sense that honors colleges are often a material entity, they're a physical entity. They often have a dean, or director but often the dean. So programs and colleges are slightly different as well.

Venkat Raman  5:48  

Maybe we can touch a little bit more on the origins of Honors College? I mean, how did come about? And is this pretty prevalent in all universities? Or is it limited to a select set.

Graeme H  6:02  [Origins of Honors College]

So it's interesting in the American context, and I say that because America is really the home of that the notion as it stands of an Honors College. And I say that not that there aren't instances elsewhere, but that that's the predominant place to focus on really when we come to look at what a Collegiate Honors College or even honors program might look like. So the origins of it are not necessarily American, but certainly the biggest manifestation of it on the, on the face of the Earth really is, is America. So it came actually from a British notion in many ways. So Frank Aydelotte, who became the president of Swarthmore College, there 1920s, early 20s had been to Oxford University experience what it was like to do the Oxford tutorial system, where there were small groups of students met in an Oxford dons room, in wedges and had a very personal interaction in terms of the subject matter of what they were studying. And, you know, really quite high powered, in many ways, discussions. And when he came back, when, when Frank aydelotte, came back to America, he was quite impacted on by that notion. And ultimately, when he became president of Swarthmore College, he was able to introduce an idea of an honest program where high achieving students in that period just after World War, one could add a bit more personal attention. And, you know, in many ways, that was his concern, seeing the growth of American higher education in the post war period, post World War one period, and wondering how some of the high achieving students, some of their students who are interested in academics and so forth, would find themselves lost in a in a bigger group of students. And so his concern was, okay, what can we do about this? And of course, this became the Swarthmore approach of developing an honors program. And then ultimately, in the 1950s 1956, Michigan State University, introduced an Honors College, which was very much taking the next step, I think, in my opinion, to to creating an entity that was recognizable.

Venkat Raman  8:24  

What what are the real differences between honors programs and Honors Colleges? Is it, is it that there's more focus with the college Honors College? Or, you know, what are the differences?

Graeme H  8:42  [Honors College vs Honors Program]

Well, you know, I think this is a point of discussion and debate. I don't think everybody would agree that they've asked differences, and other people might say they certainly are. So I think just to just to give a little bit more of a personal perspective, I would say, the recognition of an entity that is, as I say, a physical as well as the sort of organizational aspect of university, I think Honors College perhaps is a little bit more definite in that respect, a little bit more recognizable, then program. Having said that, that that's a personal opinion. And I think in many ways, there are similarities and the many, many, many honors colleges started off as Honors Program. So you know, there's a direct relationship between the evolution of universities College, from from programs, so that's a very common thing to have seen happen. But I think from again, just a personal perspective, I think Honors College is a really clear definition with a clear sense of a of a unit and organizational structure within the university that is focusing on on the students and I think that that in many ways, makes an Honors College quite a powerful message to send out to parents and future students about being part of a community of support for their Academic, academic and also, frankly, this social, social needs many honors colleges have their own residence halls, their own dorms, their own teaching spaces, you know, many honors colleges do have that physical shape that supports that notion of there being an additional part of the the college experience for the students that are in those honors colleges.

Venkat Raman  10:29  

And students typically join the honors program or Honors College right, in both cases there admitted to the program or the college?

Graeme H  10:42  [Honors College Admissions]

Well an interesting question from the point of view of many different versions of that? Yeah, similarity? I'd say in many ways, the answer would be straight straight up. Yes, that's true. That doesn't mean it's exactly the same in every institution. So you'll have institutions and programs and colleges that allow people to join at different points, or some honors colleges and programs that have kind of dis different designations for the way in which people graduate from that college or program, you'll have different requirements across different colleges and programs. So, you know, there's not a one size fits all answer to that. But, But in many ways, I guess the, the standard and simplest way to answer the question of how do you, how do you join is that yes, you're pretty much brought in when you join the college in New Stay, stay in their honest garage and potentially graduate from it. Usually, when you've completed a range of requirements, often reached a certain GPA by the end of your senior year in college, and so on. So, you know, there are many versions, but that that's the standard standard version. And the most common thing would be to say, yeah, people do come in, join the college or program and then the idea is that all running to plan, they graduate from it.

Venkat Raman  12:06  

Let's switch gears and talk about the Oakland University Honors College. Tell us about the Honors College.

Graeme H  12:15  [About OU Honors College]

It's a fascinating story. I won't go too in depth because it would take us too much time. But I found it fascinating when I first discovered it and then work on knowing that this was the case. But in 1956, Michigan State University came up with the idea of launching an Honors College. So as I say that was in November 1956. Oakland University was created in January 1957. And that was created. They asked a group of six honors college students and because Michigan State obviously had the first honors college in the nation in 1956. These were the first students who actually were in an Honors College. And they asked these six students, what would they do if they had a branch campus? Which Oakland originally was a branch campus of Michigan State? What would they do if they had a completely blank canvas canvas and who create a new university. So then, honest college students produced a report for, for those developing Oakland University. So that was in 19, as I say, 57, three to 59 when Oakland was officially founded. And so you had this sort of interesting input from the start of Oakland of honors college students into what Oakland University was. And from there on for 20 years, Oakland University was was in many ways, a University created with Honors College input, which was absolutely fascinating and unique at the time. And then in 1975, through 277, there was a discussion with faculty and so forth, at Oakland about creating a separate unit within the university called the Honors College, and in 1977, the Honors College here launched so it's been around for quite some years, that the Honors College is a separate entity within Oakland University, very open Honors College. I think, in many ways, the program is very interconnected. And in many ways, the program is very flexible. So it's an interesting model based on that original suggestion back in 1957, of how faculty and students could really closely relate. There's quite a strong focus here on doing a project and doing some senior work with mentorship. And there's quite a strong emphasis on collaboration and working with the different faculty and so forth across campus. So, in many ways, the things you find at Oakland are things you'll find in a lot of honors colleges, I think they are in in some ways those that collaborative, flexible condition of the Oakland Honors College is fairly Yeah, it's fairly distinctive and And I enjoy the way in which we're able to sort of support students through that more personalized approach. So that that's Oakland at the moment. And as I say, also, historically, that's Oakland.

Venkat Raman  15:13  

What would you say are some of the highlights of the program's Honors Program?

Graeme H  15:20  [Highlights of HC Programs]

You know, I think, again, to see the similarities, honest colleges and programs, highlights do include independent work on a project, I think that that's one of the big highlights. It's one of the things I enjoy working with students on most so there's sort of, you know, often called a thesis but not always called a thing, sometimes a project. That's a highlight to me, I mean, somebody that's that enjoys new knowledge and investigating new ideas. That's a that's a fabulous thing for students. With mentorship, the other thing is, often there'll be something connected with study abroad are one of the global programs that that a lot of honors colleges will support. So whether it's a formal study abroad or or it's an encouragement to travel through through having scholarships available, I think the community of honors colleges is really distinctive. They don't tend to be students who are, how shall I put it, just serious about academics. That's not that that's a cliche. And in many ways, I think it's a sort of that people assume, but honestly, humans are often a very collaborative with each other and supportive of each other. And I think in many ways, they feel that community of what a college overall college or university experience can be like. So I think that's distinctive, I think, in many ways to honors colleges, in that sense of, of a community of support. And then ultimately, the program, the classes that are often happening at any one time, the courses that are offered, are frequently very distinctive across the Honors College and programs, community in the United States, you know, you really get some fascinating courses being developed by professors, because they know the students that are going to engage with them are going to be interested in that kind of level of engagement. That will allow the professor frankly, to have some fun with the class. So you do have, you do have a lot of really interesting course has been developed in honors programs and colleges across the nation. And distinctively because as I say, America is kind of the key place for honors programs and colleges, in the in the style that we know them here. You know, it's an incredibly interesting, explore exploration of college education. Really, really interesting.

Venkat Raman  17:42  

What are some examples of some interesting programs at Oakland University on scholarship, anything that comes to mind that you'd like to share?

Graeme H  17:52  [Examples of “Interesting” HC Programs]

Or you know, there's so many come up, proposed every year, it's interesting, just to sort of think, off the top of my head, what I can tell you on this front, because what we have is here, and I think there's some honest colleges have similar we have a committee that chooses the classes about a year, the various courses about a year out from when they're delivered. So yeah. Professor will propose a class. And the committee here are, which includes myself and advising assistant dean and student representatives as well, which is kind of cool to have students on a committee chair up class. That is absolutely fascinating to work with, and working with the students really closely to do that is is absolutely wonderful. But you'll have proposals say we had a class on optimism in 2020, which was a fabulous class to have in the middle of a pandemic, a class or not, yeah, no, and exploring what optimism was. And, you know, what were the components of it that that was fascinating. We've had classes that were very practical in terms of going out into the community and, and doing community service based work but with a focus on say, wellness and medical science and looking at those areas, but by actually going out and working with at risk communities. We've had classes and involves study abroad. So people going off to Japan to study Japanese art, for the art part of the honors college there are general education component, but not just going off there, but actually in partnership with the Japan foundation, so that the cost of doing that was really quite low. And they went into Japan and did an exploration of Japanese culture and Japanese art and then came back and wrote wrote that up as the experience they'd have. We've had classes on new technologies and actually had people very, very early I think the first students at Oakland to explore virtual reality. We're honest college students in an Honors College class. So we were we were teaching in virtual reality with one class back in 2017. Looking at virtual reality, so they were classes that were both proposed by professors, but also a couple of those ones were actually suggested by students. And we do that as well. We actually say to students make some suggestions. We will find we did one class some years ago about mythology, which actually had a professor who had worked with George Lucas, I think on the mythology, the mythology is that behind some of the Star Wars characters, like the people that the students meet through honors college classes is just miraculous. We've just had a New York Times bestselling author talking to the freshmen this week, and he actually wrote a book called running with Sherman, which guy called Chris McDougall, which is basically saving a donkey and then taking the donkey and in the burro races in Colorado. And, you know, they got to meet the author and talk through what what this particular book was about in terms of the aspect of it and also get to meet the author in a sense of just what was it like to write this this book. So that's the sort of thing honors college classes can do incredibly well, they can be connected with the outside world, they can be in multiple disciplines, they can support research. For me, as a dean, it's just a miraculous thing to be able to do. And I think the honest college students know that the deans of honors colleges, and the directors of honors colleges are really kind of devoted to that, that way of connecting, you know,

Venkat Raman  21:29  

absolutely.

Venkat Raman  21:34  

What are some of the popular courses or topics that you find at your Honors College?

Graeme H  21:43  [Popular Courses]

Yeah, I think it would be a case of looking at each particular year group, not every year is the same in terms of circuit and look at the groups that are choosing. But I'd say over the last couple of years, courses that have been connecting sort of literature and medicine have been pretty popular. So we've got a lot of pre med students and I tend to work with a lot of pre med, health pre pre physical therapy students, they're interested in something that can bring back one of the arts arts areas bring it back to their particular major and their future career. So literature and medicine based course has been quite popular. Interestingly, courses that have had a certain historical feel to them have occasionally been super popular, like we had a class that was on Edwardian history, British history, but it was actually using the Downton Abbey class as a starting point for it. So we started with a popular cultural reference point with Downton Abbey, and then dug back into what the period was like, and was able to do everything from exploring the social aspects of that period to looking at science, Einstein and so forth. Yeah, it was really kind of interesting how the professor running that took took history and then and broadened it out from a popular starting point. So again, I think Honors College students benefit from it and look for classes that are inventively interdisciplinary, or cross disciplinary. And those those those two I mentioned, were pretty good examples of that. I get a guess as well, you'll get the occasional interest in in a particular group, when you've got a class that does have some outside collaboration. So when we've worked with companies or work with nonprofit organizations, and there's been a kind of pragmatic link there, or whether it's been community based work, or, as I say, kind of medical based work. Those have been pretty popular. So anyway, that's that's a real flash through but you get you get the idea.

Venkat Raman  23:48  

No, absolutely. Absolutely.

Venkat Raman  23:53  

Let's talk a little bit about the students. I mean, what what does it take to be part of the Oakland University Honors College? What are you looking for in your students?

Graeme H  24:03  [Criteria for Students’ Acceptance]

It's a range of qualities that an Honors College Student seems to have to me, I don't think there's obviously one one far but I think you we do start we do use GPA as a starting point. But But I also have an application process that I personally look at. So I really like to get involved working with the team of folks here when we're looking at applications, but we have point seven GPA requirements so that somebody is automatically able to join the Honors College, if they have a 3.7. If they're allowed that GPA, they're able to apply and make a case often with a letter of recommendation. In fact, two letters of recommendation but many students these days will actually have above a 3.7 when they're when they're coming to Oakland. So our average GPA for freshmen over the last few years has been 3.97. So well are incredibly strong. But I would say, I'm always thrilled to hear from a student who wants to make a case who's below that three, seven. And we do encourage that the pandemic in impacted in the sense that we have more transfer students than we've ever had before joining us around about, I guess, just under just under a quarter of students joining us for transfer students, so they came with a different profile to the students that we would usually get straight out of school. Again, students that actually might bring some different strengths. So, you know, I think it's important to be pretty holistic about the way in which students are encouraged to apply or automatically join wellness College, we always do an information session for students, we do more than one contact with students before. So we talk a lot with students before they, they join us. But then we also have the formal information sessions with students come along and do before they come in, and we go through everything with my friends, in the advising side of the honors college colleagues there, our assistant dean co presents that with me, and we really go through that that session there about what what's involved in terms of the personalized approach and, and the, and the support. And just to make the point with a lot of the students coming in, that no matter what their ambitions are, what their aspirations are, there's going to be the support there, to get them there. And then that that's an important message, I think for the idea that college is this sort of big, somewhat throwing thrown into the deep end experience, exactly the opposite of what an honors college should be, you know, it really should be a, you are a strong student, you're interested in developing further, come on in, and we're going to support you to do that. So, and again, from my perspective, as a professor and dean, you know, it's a wonderful message to be able to send. And when you can deliver that, you know, when you feel like you honestly can have a personal support. So system going for students, and you know, it works. Again, that that is a great feeling. It's not the same thing as you can get in some of the bigger colleges and so on in the disciplines, it's very hard to do that when you've got a range of people and maybe five or 6000 students in interdisciplinary college with a college that the numbers tend tend to be a little smaller, the numbers tend to be a little bit more clearly focused on some a combination of academics. And and as I say that the collegial community, and as a dean, that is a fabulous population to be able to support, you know, it's a great feeling to be able to do that.

Venkat Raman  27:53  

So what is what is sort of a general profile of the students? I mean, you know, what is the distribution? How big is the community, first of all, and then give us some idea of the people.

Graeme H  28:04  [Profile of Honors Students]

So Honors College community at Oakland is around 2100 students at the moment, and next fall, I suspect, it'll be around two and a half 1000. You have within that group certain profiles every year, of course, in terms of the majors of interest, but the primary areas tend to be pre med, pre physical therapy, nursing, health sciences, that tends to be when pre made in there as a pretty, pretty predominant group that tends to be around about 30 to 35%. of freshmen in that broad medical, unhealth area. Yes group and a strong group consistently is in engineering, computer science and technology related areas. So that tends to be around the 20%. Mark. So by time you've combined those two areas, you have obviously about 50%, more of almost 60%. And then the other portion, the 4040, or 45%, tends to be every single discipline you can imagine. But some predominance in things like psychology and business around sort of 10% each. And then general sciences around 10% each, so not necessarily premed, but just other general sciences. 10%. Yeah. And then the smaller groups tend to be in music, theater and dance and education where it may be more like sort of four or 5% of students are interested in those areas. And that tends to be the profile, but you can some years have had that shift around a little bit, but but it will usually be those sort of percentages.

Venkat Raman  29:48  

When when a student applies when an applicant, do they apply to the University and then there is a special application for the Honors College or do they just apply to the Honors College

Graeme H  29:59  [Applying to HC]

So sometimes mysteries of the of this are actually more substantial than than the actuality. Because the actuality is not that mysterious mysteries of application, I think, and this is a general college comment, I think mysteries of application tend to be greater than the actuality is 3.7 students are told that they qualify. And all they need to do is attend an information session, they already have the qualifications, we have a test optional system at the moment, and have have done since 2019, which means the GPA is the thing we're looking at mostly, you're above a 3.7, you qualify, you just need to attend an information session, and we go through with the students what the Honors College is going to do to support them. That's pretty simple. Those below a 3.7, there really is a super easy application process. It's just really, there's a link on our website. And I think, again, this is probably common with honors colleges and programs across the nation. There's a link on our website, they go in there, and they they make a statement of in our case, about 300 words, talking about what they've done, the sorts of leadership they've done, the sorts of things that they've studied, or sort of community support, they've given many of these students get involved in their schools, and get involved in their community. So we'd like to hear about that, too. They talk about that. And then there's two letters of recommendation from a teacher. So just somebody's talking about knowing the student and their qualities. And pretty much it we have the all the other profile, as I say, in terms of their transcript, we have all that anyway, so we can look at that. And those students put that in there that actually literally, at Oakland ends up on my desk, because I like to be pretty proactive in talking to students. So it ends up on my desk. And I go through that, usually in the space of four days to a week. And we get back to students. And most people that apply, do get in in the first instance, because most are a little bit below the GPA. But there's always well, there's often a very good reason for that. So they'll they'll tell their stories and their stories are often moving, or often really well thought through in terms of the reasons for what they're doing. And it's pretty obvious that they're going to be totally fine joining an Honors College and not only that, that they're going to actually sort of rise up from where they are. So those stories tend to be great, great to read. And, as I say the application process is pretty simple. So I think the mysteries actually scare people off sometimes, but there is literally no mystery to it.

Venkat Raman  32:52  

Do you give out merit scholarships? Do you guys have merit scholarships for students?

Graeme H  32:57  [Merit Scholarships]

So a good question on scholarships, because I think, again, it's a case of what is the reality of availability of scholarships in any institution. And here that merit scholarships go through our admissions team. And, and merit scholarships are given on the basis as I say, a sort of a, a looking at test scores, but also the initial GPA, and so forth. So you've got a pretty straightforward system, people are awarded on the basis of their application to the institution. So they know what they're going to get directly from admissions pretty pretty quickly. But the honors, has additional scholarships on top of so you know, they may have a merit scholarship. And then they apply to the Honors College, there's a central application system here that goes to all units in the university. And if their honors college or future honors college students, we will get their applications. We have scholarships, frankly, for everything from housing, to tuition, to travel to, you know, all manner of things, usually based either on need or on leadership and excellence generally, so one or the other. And sometimes both, but the criteria are pretty simple. It's either going to be based on leadership roles, somebody's taken or the the amount they've been active in supporting other other people is often part of it. So if they've been, as I say, part of a school group, supporting the things at their school or in the community or in their church or something like that. And then the other side is need, which of course, as I say, is not that uncommon, unfortunately. But occasionally people will have need and we have scholarships that are designed to help people with need as well. So fairly straightforward. So there's two elements to that. There's the merit side that comes directly from the university and then there's the additional honest college scholarships that can be applied applied for and the closing date for all those is the same. So at Oakland, it's the first of March pretty straight forward again. So as long as you get your application in before the first of March, you, you pretty much can see what your merit scholarship is. But then you can also see what what honors college scholarship you can achieve on top of that merit scholarship.

Venkat Raman  35:15  

So what fraction of the students do you think are on some form of scholarship? In the Honors College?

Graeme H  35:22  

And I think I would say all of them are really okay. You know, because some with the achievements that they have, it would be very strange. If they weren't, then. Yeah, I'm trying to think who wouldn't be? But it would be, it would be very close, if not, all of them are very close to to all of them.

Venkat Raman  35:48  

So I thought we could wind down with a discussion on career opportunities. How do you see all your students going out into the future? I mean, what, what do they do after graduation? How do you feel they're doing better for having gone through the Honors College, just your assessment?

Graeme H  36:09  [Impressive Career Opportunities]

Well, 95 to 97% of students that come to this Honors College and going to grad school, every commencement ceremony, that's the percentage that are likely heading to grad school. And the small percentage that doesn't go to grad school is usually heading into areas like engineering, for example, where they may join a company and then come back to a to a master's degree funded by the so that kind of thing. So the majority go down to grad school, the interesting profile for me, Fellow of the Royal Medical Society, so I have a very deep interest in what happens in medical training and pre medicine, in particular, I'm interested in, I keep a pretty close eye on what's happening with students that want to go into the medical fields, are finding that 99%, which is a ridiculous number, it's close enough to be 100, that I may as well say 100, but 99% of them are getting into one of their top three choices of graduate school or med school. And that's incredible. So we think and our own medical school folks have said that it's a strong component. And I believe it is a strong component with other medical schools, honors college students in those fields that are competitive, like medicine are showing that they can maintain a higher level of performance over four years, an undergraduate degree, they're showing that they have the ability to work in groups and to take leadership roles in various ways, showing that they can sustain levels of excellence. If I wouldn't go, I would say, if I was a med school admissions person, I would say, yep, that's the kind of person I want to be adopted, you know, so in many ways, what we find with with those competitive fields, like medicine is the students graduating from the Honors College are doing exceptionally well and getting into, into into those programs. In other areas. As I say, engineering or across some of the arts and sciences in in. In areas like education, you find students going into leadership roles, or planning to go into redish leadership roles pretty quickly. So in education majors and our biggest group, but they're certainly a passionate group. And they'll go off to their student teaching in their, into their fifth year. And we already know as they're doing that, that they're thinking about becoming school principals, and so forth. They're very much thinking about progress through their fields. And again, with an Honors College designation. We that honors college designation, it's showing that they will have the kind of mindset that would help any school to advance their support for students. So the results are incredible. I mean, it they should be because the students are graduating we had we had last year 40% graduated above a 3.9 college GPA, and 20% graduated above a 3.97 college. Again, I would be taking these students into my grad school, if I was a grad school admissions person straight away. These are these are folks that you know are going to do really, really well. And so the evidence seems to suggest that's the case.

Venkat Raman  39:34  

So Graeme, gonna start winding down any special message or information that you want to share about Honors College, this would be a good time to do that. And

Graeme H  39:47  [Checklist to Evaluate Honors College]

I appreciate that. I think one of the things I'd say for anybody looking at honest colleges and program programs across the nation, is you have a student that is going to be wanted by a college or in many ways, the student that has the that has performance to be able to get into Honors College or program is going to be wants to wanted by that institution. So ask the questions ask what is the extra support? Is there a living learning community they can be in? Is there a support for study abroad and some global experiences? Is there support for undergraduate research? And do they get grants to do that? Is there mentorship? Are there programs that can help help my student advance in their career? Do they meet people that can actually connect them to lead in particular fields? I would say anybody that has a student that's capable of getting into an Honors College or program should get into one, it can't be a disadvantage. But ask what's what the requirements are an ask what the support is, because some will have requirements. And the student might say, well, I don't know if I want to do that. And some will actually have a lot of advantages that you need to know about. And it's worth asking those questions to any honors college programs that somebody might visit and start talking to the dean or director, or, or the admissions team about so well worth asking questions. These are wonderful students, and they have a right to ask questions about what support and so on, they'll get when they arrive in the honest College, your program.

Venkat Raman  41:32  

Absolutely, absolutely. So, Graeme, this has been fascinating, very informative. And I hope the listeners pay heed to this and look at honest colleges and look at your own college. You guys doing great stuff. So thank you, as always talk to you more in the future. But for right now. Thank you. Take care, be safe.

Graeme H  41:55  

Thank you very much.

--------------------

Venkat  42:01 

Hi again!

Hope you enjoyed our podcast with Dean Graeme Harper about the Oakland University Honors College.

Specifically, Dean Harper covered:

  • Highlights of the Oakland University Honors College Programs;
  • Benefits of Studying at Honors College;
  • The kinds of students they are looking for;
  • How to Apply for Honors College;
  • Finally, Career Opportunities for their Honors College graduates.

I hope you explore the Oakland University Honors College for your undergraduate studies.

For your questions or comments on this podcast, please email podcast at almamatters.io [podcast@almamatters.io].

Thank you all so much for listening to our podcast today.

Transcripts for this podcast and previous podcasts are on almamatters.io forward slash podcasts [almamatters.io/podcasts].

To stay connected with us, Subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters] to check us out.

Till we meet again, take care and be safe.

Thank you!

Summary Keywords

Podcast for High Schoolers, College Majors, US Colleges, College Podcast, Undergraduate Research Podcast, UG Research Podcast, High School Students, College-bound UG Research, undergraduate research, Oakland University, Oakland University Honors College, Michigan.


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