UMKC Honors College Accepting Applications

On March 1, 2015, James C. McKusick became the founding dean of the new Honors College at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, with an appointment as a professor in the English department. The college will open for students in Fall 2015.

The Honors College offers the best elements of a small liberal arts college while drawing upon the resources of a comprehensive research institution. It aims to recruit high-achieving undergraduates of all majors and provide them with support services tailored to their needs.

Resources for the college were allocated by the University of Missouri System for high-impact learning experiences. The college offers its students the best quality education with small seminar-type classes, innovative teaching methods and cutting-edge research opportunities.

The UMKC Honors Program will become the UMKC Honors College on July 1, 2015. The new Honors College will retain all of the best features of the Honors Program while adding many new educational opportunities for its students. Entering students in Fall 2015 will belong to the inaugural class of Honors College students at UMKC. Students currently enrolled in the Honors Program will automatically become part of the new Honors College.

“In line with UMKC Strategic Plan, student success is at the center of the Honors College,” said McKusick. “We will bring in the best, most talented students and challenge them to succeed in a rigorous honors curriculum. These students, in turn, will raise the bar for others and serve as role models for success.”

The Honors College does not offer a major or a minor, but students who complete the required honors courses receive an Honors Scholar Designation on their diploma. Incoming freshmen should have an ACT composite score of 28 and should rank in the top 10 percent of their high school class. However, highly motivated students who do not meet these criteria are encouraged to apply.

“If you currently are a UMKC student and wish to become a part of the college, undergraduates from all academic units and disciplines are welcome to apply,” said McKusick. “To be considered for admission to the Honors College, students should have a UMKC GPA of 3.5 or above and must provide two letters of recommendation from UMKC professors.” Enrollment applications are accepted twice during the year – March 15 and October 31 – and are currently being accepted from incoming freshmen on a rolling basis.

The immediate goals for the college are to grow the program and increase enrollment. Two hundred students are currently enrolled in the Honors Program. Over the next five years, the Honors College aims to increase enrollment to 600 students, expand the Honors curriculum, hire an honors advisor, increase the number of honors faculty members and build an office suite in Cherry Hall. The administrative office for the Honors College will move to the fourth floor of Cherry Hall in summer 2016.

McKusick was previously a tenured professor of English, and dean of the university’s Davidson Honors College at the University of Montana in Missoula. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College, and several graduate degrees, including a Ph.D. in English, from Yale University.

Story originally posted in UMATTERS on March 30, 2015.