Students share ideas in Utah


Jana L. Haas

Nine South Dakota State University students and three SDSU faculty attended the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference (NCHCC) held in Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 1-3.

The conference, held every year in a different location, centered on sharing ideas about honors college programs at member institutions representing all 50 states.

Students and faculty attended presentations focusing on developing a student organization and making honors programs more successful.

“There was a lot of nuts and bolts discussion at the conference about what works and what doesn’t,” said Dr. Robert Burns, head of the SDSU Honors College.

“A lot of students and faculty associated with honors programs want honors to work everywhere. We share ideas and innovations. What works on your campus might be understood and initiated at other campuses, as well,” he said.

Ladene Stanec, junior nursing major, participated in this year’s conference.

“The most educational part was a session called ‘Students in Honors.’ We learned from others students what they had at their schools and what worked for them and what we should be doing at our school.”

Matt Diischer, senior music education major, said, “We got to see many presentations, which gave all of us who are officers [of the SDSU Honors College Student Organization] ideas to improve the Honors program here at State.”

The students attended presentations relevant to their major. Diischer learned about analyzing Shakespeare symphonic poems. There was a variety of presentations, including one on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series.

SDSU students and faculty also presented at the conference.

Sarah Cady, Diischer, Becky Jungman, Sami Seim, and Stanec presented a special program using the theme of Archie Bunker’s neighborhood. The students initiated a game, utilizing interactive learning, to teach diversity and demonstrate the difficulties that disadvantaged persons have realizing their goals.

Toby Uecker and Kathy Schmidt delivered a presentation about honors college housing. SDSU currently has an Honors College floor on 4th floor Pierson Hall for students in the program.

Uecker, Schmidt, Burns, Dr. Nels H. Granholm, and Dr. Daniel C. Kemp participated in a SDSU panel that discussed evaluating an honors program.

Students Jared Clark and Josh Unken also attended the conference.

The group visited Park City, Utah, and the Temple Square and the capital building in Salt Lake City.

“The best part was getting lost on the Utah Tracks in Salt Lake City,” said Jungman, vice president of the SDSU Honors College Student Organization.

Students flew from Sioux Falls to Utah and stayed in a hotel in Salt Lake City. The trip was funded through the budget of the SDSU Honors College.

“We always come home from the conference with a wealth of new ideas and a reassurance that we are indeed on the right track. The honors program is an ever-evolving process. There are always new ideas and goals out there to aspire to and achieve,” Burns said.