Honors program brings lectures to its council

Whitney Clum

The Honors program is inviting students to classes without homework, notes, or credit.

As part of an initiative hoping to connect teachers and students across campus, the Honors program has begun a series in which a guest lecturer speaks at the Honors Council meeting about either a passion project or an interesting topic that would not normally be covered in the classroom. The series of lectures gives teachers a chance to have discussions with relatively small groups of students while also giving honors students the chance to have some face-to-face time with professors they would normally never interact with outside of electives.

“We did a pilot presentation in the fall, our first ever, in the Honor Student Council meeting,” said Professor Kerry Wynn. “This was all his [Honors President Jack Williams] idea, to have this lecture series. Eric McHenry came in and talked about poetry, what makes a poem scary.”

A typical lecture in this series would be anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes long. In the previous mentioned lecture, Professor McHenry came in, read a poem he authored and another poet’s work, the n discussed what elements are needed to make a poem truly scary.

“The lecture, it was interesting to listen to something unique,” said sophomore psychology major Sammi Ford. “It’s different than anything I’ve experienced in any other organization [I’m] excited to see what they have in store.”

Wynn also said that the lecture series added to the sense of community at Washburn.

“There are schools where faculty is focused on research-they teach less,” Wynn said.

The lecture series, set to continue in the spring semester, is one of the many activities put on by the Honors Student Council, a group students are automatically placed in after  joining the honors program. While students are welcome to take honors classes without being in the program, applying for admission into the program and therefore the council lets them have input into how the honors program or events like the upcoming etiquette dinner is run.

“I want the rest of the university to know what we do,” said Wynn. “We are kind of hidden, like these talks…I think there are people who would come in, do the work, and be interested in what we do.”

When asked what kind of topic she would like a mini lecture on next, Ford said that she would enjoy one about animals.

“[I want to see] the Topeka zoo,” Ford said. “I want someone to come with cool exotic animals.”

Wynn is hoping that this program will bring academic discussions to Washburn about a variety of topics.

“What we’re doing at Washburn is coming together and talking about academic topics-these are intellectual discussions,” said Wynn. “If you’re into watching Stranger Things on Netflix, you can talk about influences on script, why they used one plot device or another.”

Eventually, Ford would can see the lectures possibly be opening up to the university at large.

”I would like it to be maybe an honors sponsored lecture series,” Ford said.