Moving Beyond the Comfort Zone: Mentoring Honors Students

Author: Carole Chabries

Published Date: 5/4/2021

Categories: Faculty and Staff Spotlights on Teaching


scott hendrix photo
Dr. Scott Hendrix
Last year, students taking the Honors course History 225: Medieval Europe, China, and the Islamic Crescent experienced the empowerment that comes from guiding their own learning: they decided what was important to talk about, led discussions themselves, and had ample class time for lively, engaging interactions.
 
Why?
 
Because their instructor believed in them.

 
An Associate Professor of History, Dr. Scott Hendrix is a strong proponent of the CU’s Honors Program and the space it opens for students to push themselves and stretch their thinking. Even when teaching during the coronavirus pandemic, complete with physical distancing and virtual learning, he maintained his commitment to students’ autonomy and their ability to be guided by their curiosity by encouraging them to ignore the discussion prompt he’d given them if they wanted to discuss something they felt was more important.
 
To his students, it’s no surprise that Dr. Hendrix emerged as the clear winner of this year’s Honors Mentor Faculty Award, presented by the CU Honors Council.
 
The award recognizes faculty who maintain critical approaches to their material while putting student learning at the center of the classroom. Eleni Caprio, outgoing president of the Honors Council, notes that not only is Dr. Hendrix really good at personally connecting with students, he’s also clearly excited to be part of the Honors Center. That excitement carries into his classroom, bringing energy, clarity, and a deeper level of engagement to conversations with students. The Honors Council noted in particular that Dr. Hendrix’s “approach to learning includes an emphasis on personal exploration that showcases the importance of taking charge of one’s education,” helping ensure that Honors courses have practical application that students themselves identify and act on. This kind of intellectual readiness is part of what makes Carroll University Honors students stand apart, both in classes on our campus and in their extra-curricular experiences.
 
Ms. Caprio and Abby Rogich, incoming Honors Council president, encourage all students to consider joining the Honors Program. Reach out to the program to learn more.
 
If you’re an instructor with a passion for student-centered learning and challenging conversations, contact Associate Dean Dr. Max Rondolino to learn about teaching in the Honors Program.