The Development of Honors Colleges in Public Universities
MetadataShow full item record
Honors colleges have been an increasing development in higher education across the United States, and while investigations have been made into the place and functions of these programs, it is equally important to determine what the connection is between the larger university environment and the development of honors colleges. Reviewing archival data for a historical-comparative study of two regional, public universities in Texas, this paper seeks to illuminate the decisions which led to developing honors programs which later transitioned into honors colleges. Investigations of Sam Houston State University and the University of Texas San – Antonio’s archival records found similar efforts by both universities to raise the prestige of the institutions through the creation of full-fledged honors programs. These programs were believed to increase the academic profile of the student body, boost faculty prestige, and increase research output. These programs transitioned to honors colleges in response to both universities’ pushes towards research status, but this change was in name only and did not result in any curricular or functional changes to the programs in place. While the economic function of the honors programs and colleges exhibit an inherent logic in the universities decisions, a content analysis of the documentation showed inequalities in the types of students enrolled in the honors programs and colleges. This indicates that while the meritocratic principles of both the parent and honors institutions should allow deserving individuals entrance into an elite educational program, in practice it serves to exacerbate the gap that already exists in education between minority students and their white counterparts.
Sam Houston State University
University of Texas - San Antonio
Freeman, Brenda R (2015). The Development of Honors Colleges in Public Universities. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from