Honors Goes to London

This fall, a group of five students will pilot the Ithaca College Honors Program's very first London honors semester. According to associate professor of speech communication Bob Sullivan, director of the honors program, "The honors program has recently tripled in size, and we're working to continue to attract and retain these excellent students." Giving honors students a chance to study abroad in the context of the program seemed a natural next step. Professor Sullivan can't help but be excited about this new program. "The London Center is an amazing resource, located in arguably one of the most exciting cities in the world, and it gives us a real opportunity to internationalize our honors program."

The academic core of the semester, themed "living London," introduces students to the notion of the city as a living organism that can be studied and observed. The key element in bringing this concept to life is the required honors seminar, London as Text, taught by Bill Sheasgreen, director of the Ithaca College London Center. Professor Sullivan explains: "The academic goal of London as Text is to create a powerfully immersive experience that is guided academically, so it transcends the notion of tourism." Specifically, the seminar offers a true experiential learning opportunity: "Students will use the city as the material to be studied. So, much of the time, rather than meeting in a classroom, they will be out in the city, engaging with it, studying it, asking questions of the city, and of themselves. The seminar leader will develop exercises and expeditions intended to help students, who will be working in small groups, to map, observe, listen to, and later report on their findings."

Honors students will also choose two additional courses from a variety of liberal arts course offerings to deepen their understanding and to enrich their educational experience. "Imagine studying a Shakespearian play or British history or architecture while being steeped in that very place. There will be powerful synergy between the London as Text seminar and the academic courses students take while they are abroad," says Professor Sullivan. "The net effect will be an international experience of the very highest quality."