UW News

November 8, 2010

Honors Program director to take on broader role in Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Undergraduate Academic Affairs

James J. Clauss, director of the Honors Program, has been named associate dean in Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

James Clauss

James Clauss

  • Increasing collaboration across campus between Honors and campus partners
  • Working to create partnerships that lead to the recruitment of diverse, high-achieving students
  • Continuing to facilitate the implementation of the new Honors curriculum and considering its potential for other areas of campus or other campuses
  • Collaborating nationally with other Honors programs
  • Continuing to build and frame the work of Honors around the region.

This expanded portfolio will also formally align the Honors Program with the Robinson Center for Young Scholars, as the director of the Robinson Center will now report to Clauss instead of to the UAA dean and vice provost. Clauss says this is a logical move because all the high school students who enter the University as part of the center’s UW Academy are automatically in the Honors Program.

For Clauss, the new role is “structurally logical” but is also a recognition of the importance of Honors as an integral part of the University. Quick to shine the spotlight elsewhere, he says the increased profile of the Honors Program is due to the talent and dedication of the Honors Program staff who have long advocated for the changes that have been made in the new curriculum. (See our story on the Honors Program curriculum.)

“It’s not untypical these days for honors programs like ours to have an expansive role on campus,” Clauss says. “The quality and innovation of these types of programs can have a significant impact on the broader University. Since I’ve been director of the Honors Program over the last three years, I’ve been meeting with many people around the University to try to bring more awareness of the program and what it can do for the University.”

What it has done, Clauss says, is attract extremely talented students to the UW who ultimately go to the departments. And he says it can also be used to test new approaches to undergraduate education. For example, the Honors Program is currently planning to assign each honors student to a librarian who will help that student with his or her general education so that he or she can create an ongoing learning portfolio. If all goes well, some portion of that program could be extended to all students.

“In that way, the Honors Program serves everyone,” Clauss says.

Ed Taylor, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, says Clauss “has supported Honors through the process of re-visioning the Honors curriculum to wonderful results. He brings an open mindset, scholarly focus and spirit of collaboration to each new endeavor. Honors and UAA will benefit from having Jim in an expanded role and the University will as well.”

Clauss says he is “really pleased” to be taking on the new role. “I’m looking forward to promoting a larger view of what honors  is about,” he says. “This is how we attract future leadership.”