Dean's Alumni Messages
Summer 2008 Message From the Dean
Each year Hofstra University Honors College (HUHC) sets out to play a leadership role in Hofstra's pursuit of academic excellence. We do this by attracting extraordinary students, promoting opportunities for intellectual engagement, and encouraging our students to participate fully in all aspects of the Hofstra community. I'm pleased to report that we're doing amazingly well in each of these areas.
One of the first things that struck me when I became dean in July 2007 was how much HUHC has grown. With almost 800 students pursuing HUHC designations, we now represent slightly more than 10 percent of the Hofstra undergraduate population. Each entering class brings approximately 175 first-year students, all with outstanding academic credentials. They come from across the United States, and increasingly from abroad. I am especially pleased to see that our community continues to be enriched by a steady stream of students who are admitted based on the strength of their academic performance after arriving at Hofstra. In short, the HUHC student body is larger, stronger and more diverse in both background and interests than it has ever been.
A quick scan of student organizations and clubs reveals that HUHC students are serving as club presidents, SGA representatives, and Chronicle editors. This year, several HUHC students worked with Associate Dean Neil Donahue to create a whole new organization called Students for a Greener Hofstra (SGH). This group, whose membership now extends well beyond HUHC, has already sponsored a major conference on global warming and is in conversation with environmentally oriented faculty and administrative committees.
I'm pleased to report that our five faculty mentors (Professors Brian Clocksin, Physical Education; Raymond Greenwell, Mathematics; Sina Rabbany, Engineering; Holly Seirup, Education; and Rebecca Slitt, History) continue to create a full schedule of cultural excursions, social trips and volunteer opportunities. Highlights this year included sea kayaking, a visit to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and many trips to theaters, museums, and other cultural sites in New York City. HUHC Service Corps veterans will be happy to know that our relationship with The INN of Hempstead continues to flourish as students volunteer there on Fridays. In addition, HUHC students are now serving as volunteer tutors in two local elementary schools.
It is easy to see that when we talk about creating opportunities for intellectual engagement, we mean the term to be taken broadly. HUHC sponsors lectures, conferences, and visiting scholars, which are open to HUHC students and, in many cases, the entire campus. Still, the principle way we foster intellectual engagement has always been through Culture & Expression (C&E), our seminars and our honors options. C&E remains the one place on campus where a teacher gets to lead students in small group conversations about important ideas, while participating in ongoing intellectual exchanges with faculty from across the different disciplines. Since Hofstra will be hosting the third presidential debate this year, we have organized the fall 2008 syllabus around the theme "On the Contrary: Debate and the Structure of Western Culture." In this way we will be creating opportunities for reflection on how the concept of debate was initiated and honed in ancient philosophical, literary, historical and religious works.
Seven years into its history, it is nice to see that HUHC has established several traditions of its own. We continue to kick off the first-year students' semester with the HUHC Welcome Week Barbecue and the Aims of Education Address. As in years past, we also hold an all-HUHC picnic lunch immediately after the first Wednesday lecture in C&E. The high point, though, is always the graduation banquet, where I am privileged to distribute HUHC medals to students who have earned HUHC designations.
Looking ahead to next year, I'm establishing a task force to explore whether it would be appropriate for us to institute an honor code for all HUHC students, faculty and administrators. We're also going to expand our support for study abroad by instituting study abroad incentive grants. These grants are made possible by donations from HUHC alumni and others. My goal is to bring HUHC to the point where all HUHC students have access to the financial support they need to study abroad while in college. Heading into the eighth year since its founding, HUHC is fulfilling its promise on all levels. We are on the leading edge of Hofstra's pursuit of academic excellence. We are a network for intellectual engagement not only among HUHC students, but also among faculty and the broader Hofstra community. We have a young and growing body of alumni who are already making their mark. These are great times to be serving as your dean.
Warren G. Frisina, Dean
Hofstra University Honors College