Chuck France/University Relations
Sandra Wick, associate director of the University Honors Program, handles the daily operations of the center and works with some of the university's most gifted students.
Associate director, University Honors Program
Years at current job: I have been at the honors program for 19 years.
Job duties: I am primarily responsible for the daily operations of the program, which entails supervising the support staff and student workers. I am also responsible for most of the publications for the honors program such as our brochures and the newsletter. I advise students, organize our official convocation and commencement programs, meet with prospective students, review applications for admissions and fill in whenever needed on other events and occasions. Over the 19 years I have been here I have also recruited students, visited high schools, arranged for tutorials, directed the Kansas Regents Honors Academy twice ó 1996 and 2002 ó currently teach an honors tutorial each fall and taught Honors Western Civilization for many years. I have chaired scholarship committees and currently am co-chair of the standards committee for the Honors Council.
Whatís one thing that would surprise people about your department? I think most people would be surprised about how much we do at the honors program. Most people are somewhat familiar with the honors courses taught through the various departments and schools and our tutorials, which introduce students to research. But few are probably aware of the amount of energy and work that goes into events and programs such as the Undergraduate Research Symposium. The outreach effort to the professional schools might also surprise some people who are aware that our support comes primarily from the College. And, while I know this is all more than one thing, most people are surprised at how inviting and creative our facility at Nunemaker Center is with its student art work and open spaces.
How does participation in the honors program benefit a student and prepare him or her for life after college? I believe that the honors program at KU presents students with the challenge to get the most out of their undergraduate experience. The students I have witnessed who most flourish in our programs are the ones who recognize early that KU has numerous opportunities for experiences that directly relate to the real world. This is especially true of those students who participate in research and those who study abroad. Honors students who actively participate in the programís many facets find doors opening to them they never would have expected. Plus, the faculty contact students make in the smaller honors classes and the tutorials is vitally important as they move to the next phase of their education. We strive to make our students life long learners, and that is a very rewarding aspect of working in the honors program.
You work on admissions, academic and completion standards. What do people need to know about the programís standards? I do head up the admission process to the honors program. KUís honors program nationally has some of the highest standards for admittance in the country. This year has been a particularly interesting year as our average ACT composite score of the students weíve admitted is 32, and the unweighted GPAs are typically 3.75 or higher. This is perhaps the strongest class we have admitted in my memory. We are instituting for next fall minimum criteria to apply to the program, which is something new for us and in the time Iíve been at honors a huge leap from automatically admitting students who simply have high test scores. Our holistic review of every application has given us a much better understanding of the students we are meeting at the first year level, with more capacity to see to their academic needs.