The centerpiece of the All-College Honors Program is the thesis, and all Honors students must satisfactorily complete this requirement. Each thesis student follows a detailed thesis handbook, meets with the program director four times, and works closely with a faculty adviser throughout the semester to plan, draft, revise, and refine the written thesis, which must be at least 35 pages of text.
In addition to the preparation of the written document, which is evaluated by two rubrics, each student must defend his or her thesis, which showcases the student’s considerable accomplishment and provides another opportunity for evaluation. The defense is heard by the student’s adviser, a second reader, and a member of the Honors Advisory Committee. During the defense, each faculty member completes a different rubric that evaluates the quality of the student’s presentation, breadth of knowledge, ability to answer questions, and use of technology. Because the thesis and the thesis defense are evaluated by several faculty—sometimes as many as eight—the Honors thesis exercise provides ample evidence of the students’ sense of responsibility, knowledge, critical thinking skills, written expression, oral presentation skills, and integrity. From these multiple assessments, the Honors Program has consistently demonstrated that its students are highly motivated and skilled researchers, thinkers and presenters.
The aggregate data for Honors theses written in the fall, 2015, show that 85 percent “exceeded” standards, with a quarter of these receiving perfect scores. The top Honors thesis receives the Kristin M. Brady Award at the annual Honors banquet.
Pictured above: Liz Piotrowski ’16, Honors Student Board president and Honors Student Association president, accepted into SUNY Upstate Medical University
Submitted by: Sara Morris, associate vice president, academic affairs