Please find below a response to the recent Op Ed by Toni Marcheva.
I am writing in response to the column written by Toni Marcheva about the new Honors College complex planned for the north edge of campus. We certainly welcome any and all input as we move forward to re-envision our program. Rather than separating ourselves from the rest of campus, we will continue to leverage the world-class UA resources, and connect students with the best minds on campus to provide an exceptional educational experience.
The new building is meant to further enhance the current Honors College and not to mimic the Barrett Honors College at ASU. While the new structure will include dining, housing, classrooms and office space, these features will not cloister our students from the rest of campus. For example, the planned classrooms will have a total of approximately 120 seats, enough for us to provide unique and customized learning environments for some students, but the majority of residents will still spend most of their classroom time away from the Honors College. They should have a very similar experience as students living in our current Honors dorms, with the added convenience of integrated dining and nearby recreation facilities. I also believe that these facilities, which will be open to all UA students, will attract students from Eller and the law school.
With regards to the location, the new honors building will be situated on the northern edge of campus.
While we would prefer for the new facility to be located closer to the center of campus, this is just not feasible. The new building is approximately a half mile from Old Main, the same distance as our current Honors dorm, Arbol de la Vida, and an eight-minute walk. Also, it is located along Fremont Avenue, which funnels into one of the underpasses traversing Speedway Boulevard, providing a relatively convenient corridor onto main campus.
I certainly agree with your writer that one of the strengths of the current Honors College is its ability to fully integrate honors students into the UA campus, and we will ensure that this continues to be the case. The article, “Honors college bolsters programs to help students succeed,” in your April 14, 2017 edition describes our vision for the Honors College, and illustrates how the honors experience will serve to further strengthen the connection between Honors students and their academic colleges. We have been soliciting student input throughout this process, through surveys, focus groups and student participation on the relevant committees. We will continue to involve students in any and all decisions, and I hope that students will contact me directly with their concerns or stop by during the Honors Dean time on Mondays and Fridays.
Elliott Cheu, Ph.D.
Interim Dean, Honors College