New changes in store for the Periclean Honors Forum: Honors Forum student membership and housing to change

Posted by Andrew Shi

During the faculty meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 2, Director of the Honors Forum Dr. Catherine Golden announced that the Honors Forum would now be called the Periclean Honors Forum to preserve the name and history of the College's first honor society.

The name change refers to an earlier merger in 2008, an endeavor to save the Periclean Society, an honor society founded in 1956 to recognize academic achievement, which faced disbandment due to non-regular membership. The Honors Forum now administers the Periclean Scholar Awards, recognizing outstanding senior projects from the senior class.

"In 2008, SGA de-chartered the Periclean Honor Society as an affiliated organization. Periclean found itself in a crisis, and the Honors Forum was asked to take over some of its functions," Golden said.

This merger is only one of several changes to the Honors Forum, the biggest of which is the procedure through which it inducts new students, Golden said.

Former Director and Chairman of the Honors Forum Professor David Vella initiated communications with Admissions last year until Golden took over and worked with Admissions and the dean's office to execute the changes.

The biggest change affects the numbers of members inducted into the Forum, which has increased over the years. This year, the incoming class of inductees is 73, a number close to tripling the initial incoming Honors Forum class of 28 inductees in 1997, Golden said.

"The Honors Council agreed that the membership numbers must be brought down and the population broadened. The Honors Forum Council believes there is little or no way to manage intimate intellectual engagement successfully with these large numbers," Golden said. "As things previously stood, staff of the Admissions Office, which supports our new way of inducting students, reviewed the files of incoming students and made invitations."

Thus, high school students will no longer be able to begin their college careers in the Honors Forum, but must prove themselves academically through college accomplishments in order to be inducted. Tillman Nechtman, associate professor of history, is the source of this idea, Golden said.

In addition, while under the current system, students are inducted in the fall and spring terms; following the changes to the Honors Forum, there will be only one induction per year. Students may apply to the Forum after their first and third semesters.

Other changes consist of a revamped initiative to create Honors Forum housing, which used to exist in the Adams and Hathorn Houses in 2000. The housing will be located in Weicking and will be open to sophomores through seniors.

"Beginning in fall 2012, Honors Forum housing will now be available for students in the Forum looking for a quieter and more work-focused environment," Golden said.

For more information on the Honors Forum and upcoming Honors Forum sponsored events, visit its website.

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