October 05, 2009

Comparisons of four leading honors colleges at public universities

Posted: October 05, 2009

Barrett’s peers are Schreyer Honors College at Penn State, Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi (both of which shared the Reader's Digest “Best in America” honor in 2005 with Barrett), and Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon.

All have deans, special freshman classes, shared upper-division faculty, a high (70-83) percentage of in-state students and a required senior thesis. But only Barrett has a complete full-service campus with honors residence halls and classrooms, etc. Barrett also has a higher minority percentage than other schools, especially Hispanic students.

Good honors colleges compare to top U.S. liberal arts colleges in that they emphasize undergraduate education in the liberal arts, with small classes and an emphasis on teaching. They encourage inquiry, innovation and critical thinking, with personal attention provided by faculty.

Barrett Honors College 2008 freshmen:
1323 SAT, 29 ACT, 31% minority, 3,000 total enrollment, 70% Arizona residents
• Barrett facilities:
Seven-building building campus, 9 acres, 542,000 sq. ft., 7 residence halls with 1721 beds, 12 classrooms, dining hall, offices, fitness center, computer lab, lounge, etc.
• Barrett programming:
Has its own faculty of 23 who teach only honors classes, plus 1,200 shared ASU faculty who teach honors students; study abroad, senior thesis, undergrad research, 200+ majors

Schreyer Honors College 2008 freshmen:
1413 SAT, 32 ACT, 3% minority, 1,630 total enrollment, 84% Pennsylvania residents
• Schreyer facilities:
Two residence halls designated for honors, though 35% of residents are non-honors, administrative offices on-site
• Schreyer programming:
223 honors courses, 231 shared faculty, senior thesis, study abroad, undergrad research

Barksdale Honors College 2008 freshmen:
1340 SAT, 30 ACT, 10% minority, 860 total enrollment, 73% Mississippi residents
• Barksdale facilities:
One four-story building with classrooms, administrative offices, two computer labs, study rooms, lounge; one floor each in two residence halls for honors students
• Barksdale programming:
Freshman honors seminars, plus honors sections of freshman and sophomore classes, shared faculty, senior thesis, undergrad research, study abroad, community action requirement

Clark Honors College 2008 freshmen:
1338 SAT, 17% minority, 628 total enrollment, 73% Oregon residents
• Clark facilties:
Two floors of one hall for classrooms, faculty offices, computer lab, library, kitchen, lounge. Three residence halls are shared with other OU freshmen.
• Clark programming:
Has its own faculty of 12 who only teach honors classes and also serve as advisors, plus shared guest faculty. Required: 5-course 200-level history & literature curriculum, plus 5 400-level, interdisciplinary colloquia. Senior thesis, study abroad.

 

NOTE: Two other honors colleges opened new residence halls this fall, West Virginia University and the University of South Carolina. WVU’s new honors dorm cost $21 million and will house 362 students. USC’s new dorm cost $47.6 million and will house 537 students, in 191,123 sq. ft.

Sarah Auffret, sauffret@asu.edu
Media Relations