The primary goal of the Honors Program at Coppin State University is to prepare the University's high-ability students for immediate matriculation into graduate school through academic preparation, character development, graduate school workshops and seminars, cultural enrichment, and leadership development.
Central to the honors academic experience are honors classes, which are limited to a small number of students (usually 15-20) to facilitate dialogue among students as well as between students and faculty members. Students are required to take more responsibility for their learning; collaboration, rather than competition, is encouraged. The ultimate goal in the honors classroom is to provide students with opportunities to take risks in a "safe" environment and to encourage them to develop to their fullest academic potential. In addition to small class size, emphasis on collaboration, and incorporation of a discussion format, the honors academic experience includes the frequent use of primary sources, the offering of team-taught interdisciplinary courses, and the integration of classroom time with related outside experiences such as field trips.
The character development of honors students is addressed in part through the Honors Community-Service Seminar course. The course was initiated to increase students' awareness of the needs of their communities. It is hoped that a heightened social awareness will stimulate the students' desire to "give back" some of what they have been given. In addition, the service component allows students to take the knowledge and skills that have been acquired in the classroom and apply them outside the boundaries of academia. Recently, Honors Program students participated in the Coppin-Rosemont initiative as mentors and tutors to Rosemont Elementary students.
The cultural enrichment component--the third aspect of the Coppin Honors Program--was designed to further broaden students' perspectives. As funding allows, the Honors Program coordinates field trips to local cultural activities. Additionally, honors lectures or workshops on various topics are scheduled throughout the year.
Finally, all students are encouraged to play active roles in the Honors Program Student Advisory Board (HPSA). Through participation in the HPSA, students develop leadership skills; learn to work cooperatively with others; have the opportunity to participate in regional and state honors activities; and build a sense of community through social activities.
The separation of these components for the purpose of explanation is not meant to suggest that they operate independently within the Program. On the contrary, the Program strives to intertwine the areas of academic preparation, character development, cultural enrichment, and leadership development to achieve an outcome which is greater than the sum of the parts. For example, a classroom discussion may focus on an event that took place while a student was engaged in community service. If students display an interest that exceeds the limitations of class time, students may explore the subject further and decide to present their findings at an honors conference. It is the goal of the Honors Program to insure that this integration occurs and that students are provided with a supportive learning atmosphere which will encourage them to develop to their fullest potential.