Students help shape campus honors program specifically for transfer students

July 12, 2011

Honors Transfer InnovatorsThe Honors Transfer Innovators and faculty member Maureen Linker (center) during a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit.

This summer, 10 students from Henry Ford Community College, Schoolcraft and UM-Dearborn have come together to design a new, transfer-friendly honors program at the University focusing on creativity and leadership. When launched in Fall 2012 this honors program will be one of the few in the country designed specifically for transfer students.

The Honors Transfer Innovators (HTI) are a diverse group of students from a wide range of demographic, geographic and educational backgrounds. Each student brings his/her own diverse perspective to the table and five weeks into the program the students are amazed at how much they are learning about each other and themselves.

"The concept of the world today, our experiences, and the best direction for positive impact all intersect in the UM-Dearborn Honors Transfer Innovators Program," said Gwendolyn "Sam" Joseph, a current School of Education student.

The students spend 15 hours a week working in professional internships across the University community and meet on Fridays to discuss their week and work on program development.

During the Friday sessions, the students discuss innovation and leadership, participate in field trips to various places like the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit (MOCAD) and work in sessions with University leaders. These sessions are facilitated by Maureen Linker, associate professor of philosophy, who is leading the group along with Christopher Tremblay, executive director of enrollment management and student life, and Francine Alexander, assistant provost.

"We are so impressed with the level of thinking and personal transformation that is coming out of the Honors Transfer Innovators," said Linker. "This unique learning and working opportunity is allowing this group of creative, committed students to become active members of a design team and learning community."

The Honors Transfer Innovators are using Mportfolio, an electronic portfolio tool, to document knowledge that has been gained through the experience and connect that knowledge to their own values, beliefs and decision making.

The students will continue their work throughout the summer and will continue to be involved in the formation of this innovative honors program.

"In only a few weeks, I feel that the Honors Transfer Innovators Program has reshaped my vision of the Detroit Metropolitan Area and the University of Michigan-Dearborn. By collaborating with a diverse group of people, we have respectfully engaged in intellectual conversations regarding various cultures, religions and issues facing Detroit. HTI challenges me to make a difference and to be an innovative thinker," said Chelsea Quintal, a current College of Business student.

Photo by Sam Joseph.

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