A change in the plan

Honors program introduces new projects to replace requirements for honors students

With this new school year, the Ferris State Honors Program ushered in a new way for students to satisfy the program’s requirements.

According to Ferris Honors Program Director Peter Bradley, the program is offering “structured learning experiences” as an option for students in their second year or above. This would allow students to develop a concept for a project and work toward it throughout the semester as a way to achieve their co-curricular commitments.

Typically, the Honors Program requires students to complete at least 15 hours of community service and attend three cultural events per semester. With the new guidelines, students can only use up to five service hours from the university, and many students find the commitments a bit too much along with their educational commitments.

“We hear from students frequently that the commitments go too much, or that it is hard to meet the cultural event requirements while living off campus. The structured experience model will allow students to focus on one project that they are passionate about and use that project for all the co-curricular requirements,” Bradley said.

The number of students who are dropping out of the Honors Program is fairly high, Bradley explained.

According to Bradley, the Honors retention rate for Fall 2018 students who returned in 2019 is 74.5%, just shy of their 80% goal. While the two year retention rate (students who started in 2017) is slightly higher than expected, the three-year rate (2016) is slightly lower. These rates include only first-time college students and not transfers.

“We will be launching a new software platform to support the co-curricular project option, but it will also allow for students to connect with alumni as mentors. It isn’t quite ready to announce, but it will be by Nov. 1. We’re quite excited about it,” Bradley said.