Honors program unnecessary

By Lauren Kelly

At the latest College Council meeting on Nov. 6, faculty members discussed the possibility of implementing an honors program at Columbia. The program would be available for any qualified student who wishes to be more intellectually or creatively challenged.

According to the proposal, goals of having such a program include providing students with greater educational challenges, preparing them for graduate school, increasing opportunities for faculty development and enhancing the profile of the college.

This editorial board does not feel an honors program is needed at Columbia. It seems that the main reason the college wants to start an honors program is to improve the image of the college. Many people don’t think of Columbia as a challenging institution, and implementing this system may make people think better of Columbia’s academics. This could be achieved the same way if the college works to improve the already existing curriculum,  which makes an honors program unnecessary.

Strengthening the current curriculum as a whole would improve academics from the bottom up. There are already 2000-level and above courses, which are expected to be more difficult than introductory level courses. Each student is required to take two of these for an LAS requirement to graduate. For students looking to be challenged, they could take more than the required amount of these courses.

The proposal states that qualified students entering Columbia as freshman or transfer students may declare their intentions to enter the program, and they will be approved or denied pending review. But if Columbia does decide to initiate an honors program, it should be open to juniors and seniors only.

A high school GPA, which is a factor in deciding who gets into the honors program, does not demonstrate the creative potential of an art student, and it should not be the main basis in determining eligibility. Artistic value shouldn’t be judged through a transcript. Every department would have control over honors courses, which is good for departments like Art and Design and Music, because those are subjective mediums.

For these reasons, an honors program isn’t a smart move and could create an unnecessary segregation among Columbia students. It’s not a good overall choice for the college.