By Jeremy Fuerte / Staff Writer
By Jeremy Fuerte / Staff Writer
The honors program is a program at Riverside City College built around a community of scholars who wish to expand their intellectual horizons.
Clayton McEvoy, a student at RCC, has taken four honors classes, which convinced him to stay in college.
“If it wasn’t for the honors program, I may have dropped out,” he said. “I felt as if in the honors classes, they let me ask the hard questions and assumed that I was ready for the tough work. Honors classes assumed we could handle it, which was nicer.”
McEvoy has been accepted to a number of universities, including UC Berkeley with a full ride scholarship. He was inspired by the type of classes the honors program offered and how they were taught.
“The size of the class separates it on the surface,” Thatcher Carter, director of the honors program, said. “We have twenty students instead of thirty or fifty students, which allows us to teach it seminar style, where most classes are taught lecture style. Classes are based on students’ interaction with the text instead of the professor.”
Thatcher Carter is a full time instructor at RCC and director of the honors program.
Under her guidance, the honors program is placing extra emphasis on interacting and learning outside of the classroom.
“Field trips are extra that I believe strongly in,” she said. “I think the things I remember most about college are not things that happen in the classroom, but are things where I stepped out and got involved in a service project or things where I stepped out of the classroom and visited a museum with a group. When we went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts, we bonded together and had a fun day, but we also learned some things.”
An important aspect of the honors program is the relationship that students build with the instructors both in the classroom and outside of the classroom.
“I think when you go with a professor to an event, it can really break down that professor-student relationship and you become equals,” Carter said. “We’re going to the Japanese American National Museum on May 12 and it is going to be amazing.”
That aspect of the honors program was extremely important to RCC alumni Andreea Tenase, who still feels like she can talk with the honors program instructors.
“What helped me most were the professors and knowing that I could rely on them for any help I needed with my academic career at RCC and beyond,” she said. “I feel like I can contact them now for help and they would still be willing to help me out.”
Tenase is now an English major at University of California Los Angeles and is thankful for all of the help that the honors program gave her when transferring.
“The program coordinated many events to help with the application process and to answer questions from students about moving on to a 4 year university,” she said.
The honors program boasts transfer agreements with both public and private universities within California, granting those who have completed the honors program special privileges.
While the honors program boasts a high transfer rate to traditionally selective colleges, its goal is to prepare their students for the rigors of the university rather than focusing solely on transferring.
“The main purpose of the honors program is to provide an intellectual environment for students to succeed academically and what comes out of that is students transfer to great schools,” she said. “Our goal isn’t for students to transfer to great schools, but our goal is to have them intellectually prepared to succeed once they get there.”