Kent State University Honors College 
Parents & Friends Newsletter
November 20, 2020
A Message from the Dean
Fall 2020

Dear Parents and Friends,

I hope this newsletter finds you doing well. As our students pack up and prepare to depart for home where they will complete the Fall semester remotely, I am struck with how this Fall seemed to pass with amazing speed, and at the same time seemed so long. This academic year is truly the most unusual one I have ever known, and yet some aspects of it are very familiar. The lovely Ohio autumn days, the beautiful campus, those are familiar. What is different? Conversion of all our large spaces to safe distance seating for students to sit, new technology instructional equipment in every teaching space, masks on all of us, cleaning protocols, small group activities, and the widest array of virtual online events on the calendar that I could ever have imagined…

Our students, faculty and staff have really risen to the challenge of keeping the community as safe as they could, and our ability to get all the way through to our planned on-campus end-date this Fall is greatly due to this team effort. Look at the photo in the banner of this newsletter - a sign of these times: that is an honors instructor in our Honors College library, getting ready to teach an in-person hybrid class in our converted library space (now a big classroom). You can see her mask, and the brilliant autumn colors… it is definitely an unusual semester.

Some huge jumps in the way a university operates have had to happen, and in an amazing series of steps with seven-league boots, this university has made those jumps. Literally hundreds of faculty redefined their teaching delivery style, learning the latest software/hardware techniques to teach remotely. The IT division of the university (I don’t think those folks have ever stopped working) has excelled in problem solving, and just last week announced the latest - Microsoft TEAMS access for students. The virtual events schedule has been full; every day there are events to join. Honors had an unprecedented success with “Career Conversations” this year with remote delivery, and a very successful virtual book discussion group, too. We were able to offer small group in-person gatherings for pumpkin decorating, card-making, and other community outreach activities. No, it wasn’t the Fall semester we all wanted, but we were resilient and we got through. Honors students have enrolled in an unprecedented number of course projects with faculty for Spring semester, a sure sign that they are rising to this challenge and faculty are ready to help them achieve great things.

In previous newsletters, I have talked about the need to develop resilience in our students, and I can say that this semester I saw a lot of resilience! The reduced in-person social activity was the most difficult problem, and yet many students did take part in the virtual events offered in Honors and throughout the university. By sticking to a carefully thought-out plan, KSU was able to keep students moving forward, moving towards their goals. It has been hard for them, as perhaps you can imagine - being 18-22 and in a pandemic with state-wide health regulations. This is a shared, (albeit remotely shared), memory they will all have, and look back on as they move forward to overcome new challenges.

We have a lot of information in this newsletter that you may find useful and perhaps will be a conversation-starter for you when your student comes through the door. We are very proud of them, and we are of course, really looking forward to seeing them in the Spring semester.

May you have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

Best regards,

Dr. Alison Smith
Honors College, Dean
Kent State University

3rd Annual Career Conversations Series
Honors College Connects over 300 Students to Prominent Alumni

The Honors College hosted its 3rd annual Career Conversation Series this Fall. Due to COVID-19, these conversations were virtual and brought Honors College students and alumni volunteers together via Google Meet. This gave students the unique opportunity to connect with alumni across the globe - from New York City to Los Angeles, from Chicago to Austin – allowing students to hear from individuals who, under normal circumstances, could not make the trek to our home here in Kent.
Each of the 19 sessions featured alumni panelists from the same industry. Honors College staff and students were able to ask the panel questions about their field, Kent State education and work experience. Several students even followed up afterwards for 1:1 informational interviews to learn more.
Through this effort, we engaged nearly 300 students and over 50 alumni. Student attendees found this very valuable to their own career journey as comments included:
“I LOVED getting to hear the insight from others working in the field
and receiving their tips and tricks.”

“Very insightful, I learned a lot about the real world for my industry.”

“So informative, interesting, and helpful!”
More information about Career Conversations can be found here
Fall 2020
Community Engagement

 Although many aspects of building community on campus are different this year, the Honors College has implemented a few new events as well as continued traditional events in a new way. We engaged about 40 students is small group sessions of pumpkin decorating as an in- person, socially-distanced event each Friday afternoon throughout the month of October.

Students living in the Honors Living-Learning Communities of Stopher, Johnson and Centennial Court B received a warm cookie delivery from Insomnia Cookies as part of our efforts to continue our Cookies and Registration events on Thursday evening, October 22 prior to Spring Registration beginning at midnight on October 23. The Honors College also has 30 students participating in our bi-weekly Honors Virtual Book Club meetings this semester; the group is currently reading Dune by Frank Herbert.
Pictured Above: Honors students
showcase their painted pumpkins
during a weekly Honors College
pumpkin decorating event, hosted
throughout the month of October.
Lambda Delta
'Spooky Sprint' and Akron Children's Hospital Drive

Alpha Lambda Delta: The National Honor Society for First-Year Success, held it’s first-ever virtual 5K in October. Proceeds from the 'Spooky Sprint' benefitted Kent Social Services.

ALD is currently raising funds for Akron Children’s Hospital. For more information and to donate, please visit the Akron Children's Hospital website.

Commuters in the Honors College
Honors Leadership Academy Welcomes Commuters;
Commuter Check-In Events Held Throughout Semester

This academic year, we were proud to extend the Honors Leadership Academy opportunity to commuter students, as what is now deemed as Commuter HLA ( Honors Leadership Academy). We accepted eight commuter HLA students for the 2020-2021 academic year, in which the goal has been to introduce commuter students to leadership opportunities at Kent State and beyond; our goal is also to identify ways in which we can improve the Honors College commuter experience at Kent State. We have enjoyed working with the Commuter HLA students this semester, and we look forward to working with these students again next semester.

During the Fall semester, the Honors College also held three virtual Commuter Check-In's for honors students, in which we've engaged with multiple commuter and off-campus students. The events were held October 1, October 22, and our most recent event was held November 19. The theme for this most recent event discussion was " What are you thankful for?", as we enter into this Thanksgiving holiday season. 

Pictured Above: Honors on-campus residents and commuters participating in the 2020-2021 Honors Leadership Academy attend their first in-person class together, while other classmates unable to attend the in-person class meeting are able to observe and participate in the class 'live' online (i.e. the projector screen in the background).
First-Year Experience
Students Spread Holiday Greetings to Community

Last week, honors students enrolled in First-Year Experience (FYE), created greeting cards for community organizations. The students were encouraged to select who they would like to receive the cards. Honors students have selected local nursing homes, Akron Children’s Hospital, and also active-duty military personnel.
KSU Gives
Honors College Support Fund

This year, with the uncertainty COVID-19 has brought to the world, the future is being challenged for many of our Honors College students. The Honors College Support Fund provides our talented, dedicated students the opportunity to realize their dreams by earning their KSU degree, even when times are tough. ESPECIALLY when times are tough. 
The Honors College Advisory Board members and generous alumni and friends of the Honors College have already been giving throughout the month of November, placing us at 80% of our total $30,000 goal for emergency funding for our Honors College students.  
In addition, previous Interim Dean of the Honors College Don Palmer and his wife Anne, have pledged $10,000 to match gifts to the Honors College Support Fund, and there are still matching funds available! 
Please consider making a gift to help us reach our goal in providing emergency tuition assistance for honors students this year. 
Your $25 gift becomes $50; $50 becomes $100! 
If you find you are able to do so, please join us in helping to ensure all Honors students can complete their hard-earned degrees and go on to make a difference in the world. 

University Information & Resources
Your Connection to KSU!

In order for you to remain up-to-date on all Kent State University matters, the Honors College has compiled the following links. These links are being consistently updated, so check back frequently.
Coronavirus Updates: