Program for scholars grows, evolves
Students in the Binghamton University Scholars Program kicked off the new academic year with a picnic at President Harvey Stenger’s house on Saturday, Sept. 21. Freshman Scholars joined the president, members of the Scholars Student Council and Scholars Advisory Board, and faculty mentors for an afternoon of food, fun, music and conversation.
This event reflects the student-centered focus of the revamped Binghamton University Scholars Program, which has now merged with the Presidents’ Scholars Program. “We wanted to provide the full opportunity to more students,” noted William Ziegler, who has served as executive director of the Binghamton University Scholars Program for the past three years. Ninety-eight new students enrolled in the program this year. The program will begin recruiting students for 2014-15 in February and will enroll 100 freshmen next year as well.
Students in the Binghamton University Scholars Program take specially designed courses and receive mentoring from top university administrators and faculty, as well as from Scholars continuing from prior years. All freshmen in the program reside in Scholars housing in the Newing College residential community and are part of the Scholars Learning Community. Continued participation in the learning community is optional for sophomores, juniors and seniors in the program.
Recent changes in the program include the creation of a Scholars Student Council and a Scholars Advisory Board, comprised of faculty and administrators from the Division of Student Affairs and Undergraduate Admissions. The program relies heavily on the advisory board and the student council in making decisions regarding the program’s direction.
Curricular requirements have also been tightened. Students begin their freshman year with SCHL 127, Thinking Like Leonardo Da Vinci, and take SCHL 227, Leadership, Management and Service, in their sophomore year. They also complete two SCHL 280 topics courses; recent topics have included Technology and Impact of Solar Energy, Philanthropy and Civil Society, and Evolutionary Psychology. In their junior year, students participate in an internship, study-abroad or research experience. They complete the program requirements in their senior year by choosing from options including honors in the major, a capstone project, or a double degree or double major.
Upcoming Scholars events include a visit by two South African journalists who work in communications for the University of the Free State, attending a men’s and women’s basketball double-header with the president, hiking Buttermilk Falls with the president in early October, and hosting Scholars’ families during Family Weekend. The Binghamton University Scholars Program also holds “Scholars Family Dinners,” where students can eat together in the dining hall each Friday, and is planning its annual Thanksgiving Dinner for Nov. 16, when students will prepare traditional Thanksgiving fare in the Newing Community kitchens.
For more information on the Binghamton University Scholars Program, go online.