The KU Honors Program observes two main traditions for the initial semester of our first-year students. The first, Convocation, begins the fall semester by welcoming new students into the program and kicking-off their KU experience. The second closes the semester, and new honors students present the results of their learning from their first-year seminars to faculty and peers. This year, on Sunday, December 2, 2018, KU Honors will host the seminar symposium in the ballroom of the KU Memorial Union from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm.
First-year honors students all attend a one semester hour seminar as part of the coursework for their inaugural semester at KU. These sessions cover over forty different areas, with topics ranging from the relationship between music and chemistry to the parallels between German and Chinese industrial development to recreating a century-old Greenland kayak. The seminars introduce our students to the Honors Program, the resources offered by the University of Kansas, and one of their academic areas of interest. While closely examining a specific topic, students develop their skills in reading, writing, research, and in-depth discussion. The instructor of the student's seminar also serves as the academic honors advisor for the enrolled students.
“The seminar symposium gives us the opportunity to celebrate our new students’ first semester and all that they’ve accomplished so far,” said Dr. Anne Dotter, one of the program’s senior advisors who works with many students from the very beginning of their Honors’ journeys. “As such, it is a celebration of their learning and an affirmation of their belonging to the Honors program.”
Because the seminars cover such a broad spectrum of topics, this is also a chance for students to see what their peers have been working on all semester. The seminar symposium functions as a mini-conference, and students share their writing as well as poster presentations of their research. “It is a pre-professional development opportunity for our students,” said Dotter. “It helps them hone their communication skills, and contributes to launching them on their paths for graduate school or a career in research.”
The seminar symposium is open to the public, and all are encouraged to attend and see what the newest members of the KU Honors Program have been working on this semester.