URI’s Honors Program Gets A+ Director

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KINGSTON, R.I. — July 24, 2006 — Richard “Ric” McIntyre ’79 has gone to the head of the class this month at the University of Rhode Island. The economist has been appointed the new director of our Honors Program. (More information about the program follows.) He feels right at home, having taught honors courses on and off since 1992. The Wakefield resident has also coordinated an honors colloquium on globalization.

“Professor McIntyre is a brilliant teacher and scholar who is forward thinking,” said M. Beverly Swan, provost and vice president of academic affairs. “He challenges everyone to think in new ways. I cannot think of a better person to provide leadership for our honors program at this time. He serves the students–and the university–well.”

McIntyre joined the University in 1987, teaching international and labor economics courses and earning the University’s teaching excellence award in the process. His latest book, Class and Convention: Political Economy and Labor’s Rights will be published next year by University of Michigan Press.

He enjoys encouraging and motivating students. “The last three years have been the best,” he says of his work with honors students.

The economist succeeds Galen Johnson as director and knows that filling Johnson’s footsteps will require big shoes. “Under Galen there has been an explosion in the numbers of students taking honors courses, completing the program and applying for and winning national and international scholarships. Replacing Galen isn’t easy, but I’m excited to both build on past successes and take the program in new directions,” McIntyre says.

He plans to network with many across the campus to achieve some goals he has set for the program:

• To internationalize the honors curriculum and enhance the honors experience through study abroad.

• To increase the diversity of the honors student body.

• To make use of web-based technology to enhance the colloquium, but not distract from it.

• To support Walter Von Reinhart, associate professor of German and new coordinator the Office of National Scholarships by strengthening membership in the selection committees.

• To work with the University’s Making A Difference capital campaign to fund the colloquium and the directorship.

URI’s Honors Program: What’s it All About?

The University of Rhode Island’s Honors Program is like a three-legged stool. Each leg supports the program’s goal of enriching rather than accelerating the student’s academic experience. Nearly 900 students and 75 faculty members are involved.

1) Honors courses, limited to 15 to 20 students, take on interdisciplinary subjects designed to broaden understanding.

2) An annual colloquium, offered since 1963, explores current, recurrent, or emerging issues. Internationally recognized speakers, often combined with surrounding events, provide the public with an understanding of the topic. About 75 honors students enrolled in a complementary honors course read related materials and discuss the topic, often with the visiting experts.

3) The Office of National Scholarships helps select and mentor students for participation in all major national scholarship competitions.

To qualify, entering freshmen must have graduated in the top 10 percent of their class. Upperclassmen must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or better.

While Honors Programs across the country are traditionally rooted in the liberal arts, the University continues to expand its interdisciplinary offerings, attracting nursing, pharmacy, business, and environmental sciences students.

Last spring, 55 graduating seniors wore an honors medallion, signifying the completion of 15 honors credits including an independently designed research project, joining 350 alumni from the program.

URI News Bureau Photo by Nora Lewis.