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Utah State University Honors Program — 'Dare to Know'

Thursday, Sep. 04, 2014

USU Honors Program Director Kristine Miller

Sapere Aude” or “Dare to Know” is the challenge that Kristine Miller, Utah State University’s new honors director, has laid down for students in the program. As the USU Honors Program celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, Miller wants students to continue to make the most of their college experience by challenging themselves to apply their classroom knowledge in practical ways.

“The practical application of academic knowledge is central to Honors, which engages students in professional development activities and gives them credit for internships, study abroad programs, research, grant writing, scholarly or creative presentations and major service projects,” said Miller. “One key goal of the University Honors program is to place USU’s most ambitious students at the heart of a dynamic intellectual community.”

Miller, who was named director of the program in May 2014 is hoping that Honors can help to strengthen the sense of this kind of community on campus. The program offers its first-year students inter-disciplinary classes that meet USU’s General Education breadth requirements by exploring big global questions from various perspectives. All USU Honors students are also required to attend and report on co-curricular campus events, such as guest lectures, performances, or workshops. The USU Honors Program maintains a central calendar of these co-curricular activities, and sends weekly reminders about upcoming events to interested students, faculty and community members.

In their second or third years, Honors students have the opportunity to extend their academic experience further by taking year-long interdisciplinary “think tank” courses that are team-taught by faculty from different disciplines and designed to explore a problem of local concern. In addition to fulfilling USU’s General Education depth requirements, these courses allow students and faculty to work collaboratively in making an impact on the community.

In the final two years, students become more focused in their areas of study, developing and completing capstone projects or theses that showcase the academic and practical skills that they have learned in their majors and throughout their Honors experience.

Students in the program can also take advantage of professional development activities, including training in application writing, social mixers with USU faculty, mentoring for fellowship candidates, internship preparation and leadership opportunities. These activities, in addition to the program’s rigorous academic requirements, help students to become leaders not only in their fields of study but also in their communities.

USU Provost Noelle Cockett believes that the structure of this university-wide Honors program complements USU’s overall mission by challenging students to develop a broad perspective and to make an impact both inside and outside of the classroom.

“The Honors program has a long tradition of contributing to USU’s land-grant mission which is ‘learning, discovery, and engagement,’” said Cockett. “The Honors program is a centerpiece of USU’s educational component by modeling the kinds of work that all USU students can do.”

Currently, there are more than 400 Honors students on campus. Students who are interested in becoming part of this exciting program must apply and meet Honors admissions criteria.

More information can be found at the Honors website.

Contact: Kristine Miller, 435-797-2715,

Writer: Paige Pagnucco, 435-797-1429,

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