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July 12, 2013

ULM Honors Program growth leads to student success

The University of Louisiana at Monroe Honors Program—under the direction of professor Joshua Stockley—has flourished.

Enrollment has increased, and all of last semester’s graduating students have been accepted into prestigious graduate programs, such as ULM’s College of Pharmacy, Columbia University, Southern Methodist University, and School of Medicine at LSU Health-New Orleans.

Stockley, associate professor of political science, became the director of the ULM Honors Program in May 2011. Since his appointment, he has helped to recruit over 100 students to the Honors Program.

When Stockley first became director, there were 23 students in the program, with five to seven new students being admitted each year.

“In my first year, I recruited 22 new members to the program, and I recruited 36 freshmen the following fall,” he said.

For the upcoming fall semester, Stockley accepted 50 applicants to the Honors Program.

These students averaged a 29 on the ACT, and 15 are valedictorians or co-valedictorians of their classes.

They include students from such distant locations as Nepal, India, Malaysia, and Russia, as well as students from Texas and Louisiana.

“There is no way that I would have grown the program without help from Lisa Miller and Seth Hall in the Office of Recruitment and Admissions, my fellow faculty members, and of course the students presently in the program,” said Stockley.

The Honors Program offers two tiers for graduates: Honors in the College and Honors in the University.

Students who graduate with Honors in the University have completed an honors thesis and receive the more prestigious distinction.

In May, nine of the 12 graduating honors students received Honors in the University, making it “the biggest class in recent memory,” according to Stockley.

Students in the Honors Program attend smaller classes taught by professors who interact with and challenge students.

“These courses feature more active-learning and student-centered environments designed to develop critical thinking, critical writing, and critical expression,” said Stockley.

“By stretching their minds, students develop a competitive edge for either graduate school or the professional world.”

Andrew Price, of West Monroe, graduated from the ULM Honors Program in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Arts in English from ULM in 2013.

He currently works as an Enrollment Services Specialist in the ULM Office of Recruitment and Admissions.

Price said, “The Honors Program helped me appreciate formal academic environments while also learning to make personal and personable connections among faculty, staff, students, and the community at large. Additionally, the academic rigor and depth of discussion, exchange, reading, and writing I did throughout the program was personally enriching, essentially better preparing me for the onerous task of simply being human.”

The Honors Program requires a 27 ACT score, and Stockley seeks out potential in his recruits.

“I’m looking for students who have excelled as leaders within their school, who have excelled as leaders outside of their school,” he said.

“Students who have demonstrated a desire not to simply settle for average or enough to get by, but to make themselves, their school, or their community a better place.”

Students in the ULM Honors Program have a 98 percent retention rate and an 88.9 percent graduation rate.

Stockley is enthusiastic about the program’s future. “The future of this program and its students are all very bright.”

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