Honors Program Named for Retiring Provost Jane Stephensby News Bureau on
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Dec. 17, 2009 – The Honors Program at Southeast Missouri State University was named today for retiring Provost Dr. Jane Stephens.
Stephens, who is retiring at the end of this month after serving as Southeast provost since July 2000, is the first director of the Southeast Honors Program to welcome students into the program.
As director of the program for many years, Stephens is responsible for building a strong foundation for the program that underscores Southeast's commitment to quality and excellence in matters of knowledge, creativity and leadership.
In addition to naming the program for Stephens, private funds are being raised to create an endowment for the Honors Program. The endowment will provide funding for professional development and leadership opportunities for Honors students to assist them in achieving their academic goals.
A reception honoring Stephens' service and retirement is planned for 3-5 p.m. Dec. 18 in the River Campus Atrium. Stephens also will present the address at winter commencement exercises at 2 p.m. Dec. 19 in the Show Me Center.
"I'm truly grateful and honored by this naming," Stephens said. "I sincerely thank the Board and all of my University colleagues for placing my name on what I consider the greatest program at the University - the best students and the best faculty."
The Honors Program offers exceptional students the opportunity to enroll in honors courses which are geared toward deeper, more thorough understanding of concepts and issues. The courses allow for more interaction and discussion between classmates and professors.
The Southeast Missouri State University Honors Program began in 1985 with just a few Honors courses offered. Now, most University Studies courses offer at least one Honors section. There are currently 400 active students in the program, and that number is steadily increasing. In fact, enrollment in the program has tripled in the past five years.
Thanks to Stephens' long-standing support, the Honors Program relocated during Homecoming festivities in October from 902 College Hill to a remodeled house at 603. N. Henderson. The new location provides classroom space, a lounge, a computer commons area, a small conference room for seminars and a quiet study area for tutoring and study groups. The house at 603 N. Henderson formerly was occupied by University Relations, which relocated last year to the Wehking Alumni Center.
“The new Honors House gives the program significantly greater opportunities for its classes. The students have a better atmosphere to study together, and is providing the opportunity to increase retention of students to complete the program,” said Program Director Dr. Craig Roberts. “It is building a sense of an Honors community.”
“The Honors Program is more than just academics; it is a place where students can make friends and connections that last a lifetime,” said Student Honors Council Co-Chair Amy Nickless.
“The courses offered in the Honors curriculum open students to a new and unique way of thinking which, when properly applied, can benefit any student in any career field,” said Student Honors Council Co-Chair Scott Pauley.
Students with a high school grade point average of a 3.4 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent) and who have received an ACT composite score of at least 25 are encouraged to join the Honors Program. Students, however, do not need to be incoming freshmen to join the program. Once involved in the Honors program, students must retain a minimum of a 3.25 grade point average and be actively involved in the Honors Program.
While students are required to complete 24 credit hours of honors courses, they may sign a contract with an honors professor to complete a separate project to earn an honors course credit in a regular course. Of those 24 credit hours, six must be at the 300-level or above.
Honors students also have the option of living in Honors housing, located on the fifth floor of Vandiver Hall.
Seniors in the Honors program are required to complete an Honors project in which they work closely with an Honors faculty member before presenting their completed project before a board. The program also has activities in which its members can socialize or participate in study groups together. Members can take on leadership roles in the Honors Council or participate in the field trips or service hours.
Upon completion of the Honors Program, students receive Honors Scholars recognition, are identified at commencement and the Honors Convocation, receive a certificate noting their completion and a medallion to wear at commencement, and a note on their transcript signifying completion of the Honors Program.
Stephens, for whom the Honors Program was named today, served as vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and executive vice chancellor at the University of South Carolina-Spartanburg prior to her tenure as Southeast provost. She returned to Southeast in 2000 after serving here for 16 years from 1978 to 1994 as assistant provost, academic associate, director of the Honors Program and professor of history.
She is a former American Council of Education Fellow at Towson State University and a graduate of the Institute for Educational Management for Senior Executive Leadership at the Harvard Institute for Higher Education at Harvard University.
Stephens has had a lengthy career in education, which includes teaching at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill., Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and Central High School and Southside High School., both in Muncie, Ind.
Stephens has completed postdoctoral work in historic preservation at Middle Tennessee State University. She holds doctor of philosophy and master of arts degrees from Ball State University, where her major field of study was American History. She earned a bachelor of science degree from Middle Tennessee State University, where she majored in English.