ELLENSBURG, Wash. (October 1, 2012) -- The William O. Douglas Honors College (DHC) at Central Washington University has enrolled a total of 183 students for the 2012-2013 academic year, including 48 first-year students, more than at any point in its more than 35-year history.
“Because of its support for the Douglas Honors College, Central is attracting some of the best and brightest students from throughout the Northwest,” said Matthew Altman, director of program. “Average high school GPAs and standardized test scores for entering DHC students have increased in recent years, and this year is no exception. We’re bringing more high-performing students to Central.”
The DHC is also known for its guest speakers, its frequent cultural field trips, and the students it sends annually to present their work at the Western Regional Honors Council Conference. From 2008 to 2012, 53 DHC students attended the conference, and each year the college sends the largest student delegation.
Altman said that the DHC is also making a greater effort to recruit local high school graduates into the program.
To boost enrollment, the university worked to overhaul its honors curriculum, changing from a Great Books program to a thematically based series of courses in the humanities, arts, and social and physical sciences. The new program was unveiled in fall 2009, and it is open to both recent high school graduates and transfer students. One incentive is the partial tuition waiver that each honors student receives.
The new DHC curriculum is composed of two parts. The core curriculum is distinctive among programs in the Northwest for its interdisciplinary coursework, small class sizes, and the participation of faculty from throughout the university. In the upper-division courses, students perform research with faculty mentors and write theses of publishable quality, an experience that prepares them well for either graduate school or the job market.