Honors through the Decades
Take a look at An Honorable History: Celebrating the University of Iowa Honors Program, a booklet chronicling the history of Honors at Iowa and what it means to our students.
University Honors Today
Honors at Iowa has taken different forms across time. Since 2013, the University of Iowa has awarded University Honors at graduation (noted on transcript and diploma) to honors students who complete the curriculum of 12 honors credits in coursework and 12 in experiential learning from a menu of options promoting many of the powerful learning experiences the University offers such as mentored research, study abroad, service learning, internships and experiential coursework. In addition, students may earn honors in the major recognition through their departments.
How did Honors at Iowa begin?
The University of Iowa Honors Program was created in 1958 by Samuel Rhodes Dunlap. Professor Dunlap introduced the program as a response to the U.S. government’s call for better and more competitive education. His intent was to ensure the University’s position as a leader in research and learning. Dunlap was the program director from its founding in 1958 until his retirement in 1981, and was instrumental in the growth of the program from the half-dozen or so departments at its beginning to the many involved when he retired. He worked with the various departments to get them interested, and was also involved with honors at the national level. He attended many conferences and seminars across the country in order to promote honors.
Dunlap’s Legacy – Students First
Although Professor Dunlap worked hard at all levels in promoting honors, he never lost sight of his own program’s primary mission of serving the students. Dewey Stuit, the former Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and a colleague of Dunlap, said, “You sometimes read that the University doesn’t show individual attention to students. Samuel Dunlap was an example of a person who puts students first. . . . He always looked out for the individual . . . .”
Visible and lasting proof to Professor Dunlap’s commitment to honors and the students is the Rhodes Dunlap Scholarship, which was made possible by his bequest. Each year Honors at Iowa gives out a substantial number of these scholarships to its students in Dunlap’s honor. Thus does his vision of honors education continue on.
The Honors at Iowa Mission
Honors at Iowa enriches the undergraduate experience by cultivating intellectual curiosity and practical skill through challenging coursework, creative engagement, and experiential learning to nurture a deeper understanding of one’s discipline and self.
The Honors at Iowa Vision
We envision Honors at Iowa as an inclusive and supportive community for high achieving students who are in the process of understanding the broader significance of their education, life experiences, and relationships with the goal of awareness and self-authorship.
The Honors at Iowa Inclusion Statement
The University of Iowa Honors Program seeks to nurture a deeper understanding of one’s discipline and self. Central to that is embracing and seeking to cultivate intellectual curiosity enhanced by the diversity of our community through identities such as race, ethnicity, orientation, gender, class, religion, or any other classification that deprives the person of consideration as an individual.
Our purpose is to foster and support an environment in which diversity of background and perspective is not only recognized and respected but viewed as a dynamic opportunity to enrich and strengthen the student experience and entire Honors Program community. We are committed to increasing the representation of populations that have historically been marginalized and excluded from opportunities in higher education, as well as being a welcoming and safe place for everyone.
How we do it:
- We engage and challenge our students in their first two years through seminar-style classes that give them a broad and varied knowledge base.
- We enable our students to engage in experiential learning through participating in undergraduate research, study abroad, internships, and more.
- We help them with their self-discovery process through the personal guidance, community, and many other opportunities (some quite unique) that we offer as part of membership.
Make Your Connection
Dunlap’s approach to, and philosophy of, academic excellence have been carried through and augmented in the Honors Program to this day. Honors at Iowa now extends across all the undergraduate colleges and departments at the University of Iowa. It is truly a university-wide program, with its administrative home being the University College housed in the Provost’s Office. Honors now has dedicated space in the Blank Honors Center for Honors Professional Staff offices (4th floor) and the Honors Student Center (3rd floor); it also has a residence hall – Daum Honors House.
Yet, even with the scope of the program, our primary concern is with the individual student. Our tagline, Make Your Connection, captures it most concisely: through our program our students make their connection with who they are, their social community, and with their particular area of study and their career. We think that’s the logical and most profitable place to begin, and particularly for high capability students, who typically can do more than one thing well.
Home of Honors
The Blank Honors Center (BHC) is home to state-of-the-art classrooms (first and second floors), the Honors Student Center (third floor), Honors Program offices (fourth floor), as well as the Belin-Blank Center (fifth and sixth floors) who serves the international gifted community. One of the perks of being a member of Honors at Iowa is this learning space. The Blank Honors Center is centrally located on campus and offers a place for students to learn, study, and socialize.
- 4th Floor - The Blank Honors Center (4th) floor is open Monday-Friday 8 AM - 5 PM. Swipe access is available from 5 PM-12 AM Mon-Thurs for honors students with an admin available for support from 7-9 PM. This pilot began Spring 2022. Be sure to use your Iowa One card for access.
- 3rd Floor - The 3rd floor space is open Monday-Friday 8 AM - 5 PM with available swipe access after 5 PM and on weekends. Be sure to use your Iowa One card for access. Students will find study spaces, an ITC Center, and a 3rd floor patio to utilize. The patio closes at 5 PM. We share the 3rd floor space with Belin-Blank and IRCC. Visit https://classrooms.uiowa.edu/study-rooms for additional available study locations.
The National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), founded in 1965, is a nonprofit organization that supports the community of educational institutions, professionals, and students who participate in collegiate honors education around the world. The NCHC provides publications, honors program/college reviews, professional development, an annual professional conference, and networking opportunities to its members, as well as experiential travel programs and honors student awards and scholarships.