Arizona State

The University of Utah’s Bargain Honors Program

The University of Utah’s Bargain Honors Program

High-quality education in the form of Honors Colleges in Public Universities is becoming ever more common. Within the University of California system most have, including UCLA, UCI, and five of the six colleges of UCSD, special honors programs. The reason behind the growth of these honors programs is public universities want to keep their best students at home, in state, and challenged by a curriculum many believe can only be obtained from the most selective universities.


The Honors College and ASU’s Barrett’s Honors Program

If you want a solid alternative to the elite private college experience, without the $230,000 price tag, then public college honors programs warrant consideration.

Though honors programs within many public colleges have been around for years, including University of Michigan’s LSA Honors Program, and University of Virginia’s Echols Scholars Program, many students and their families are unaware of the opportunities honors programs provide.

The National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), (, describes an honors program as a small college within the bountiful resources of a large university that provides personal attention, top faculty, scintillating seminars, numerous research opportunities and internships, and oftentimes scholarship money.

Public University Honors (PUH) (   provides criteria to measure the ‘overall excellence’ of an honors program, Listed in order of importance:

  1. The number of honors classes necessary to fulfill  graduation requirements (the more the better)
  2. Prestigious scholarships (Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, Truman etc.) awarded honors participants  
  3. Special honors housing 
  4. Select honors study abroad programs
  5. Priority registration.   

With this criteria in hand, PUH recently ranked honors programs, noting that among the top programs, ‘distinctions’ were slight: for example, differentiating among housing on campuses quickly becomes subjective. In any case, among the larger honors programs, those with more than 1,800 students, the top five were:

  1. University of Michigan, LSA Honors Program
  2. Arizona State University, Barrett Honors College
  3. University of Georgia, Honors Program
  4. Penn State University, Schreyer Honors College
  5. University of Minnesota, Honors Program

While Arizona State’s (ASU) regular undergraduate school accepts 89% of applicants, and is best known for its Earth Sciences department, which ranks 17th nationally,  ASU’s Barrett Honors Program requires a minimum SAT score of 1300 (out of 1600), or an ACT composite of 29, a GPA of 3.75+ (unweighted) and an essay.  In other words, Barrett’s is one of the most select colleges in the country set within a land grant mega university.

Arizona State’s honors program was created by the Arizona Board of Regents in 1988, one of the first eminent honors programs in the country. After a $10 million gift to ASU from Craig Barrett, the then CEO of Intel, and his wife, who was an ASU alumna, the Honors College assumed Barrett’s name. The Barrett campus comprises seven residence halls all of which have classrooms for seminars and classes held exclusively for honors students.

Looking at the above PUH criteria for ‘overall excellence’ in an honors program, Barrett’s Honors Program satisfies all of them. Freshmen entering Barrett’s Honors Program are required to take 30% of their total graduation credits in honor’s courses. This ensures rigor and more access to smaller class size and faculty. Additionally, the Barrett Honors students are among the best in the country. ASU was awarded 26 student Fulbright scholarships (out of 60 applications) for 2013-2014. That is third among all the colleges in the country, just behind Harvard and the University of Michigan. Barrett’s also leads in recruiting National Merit Finalists: in 2006, it had over 180 National Merit Scholars enroll.

Barrett Honor’s students also have access to dedicated Honor’s Faculty Fellows along with over 1400 honors faculty across all the ASU colleges. Its housing is spacious and central, the dining hall offers exceptional range and quality, while the Honor’s Hall contains its own exercise gym, coffee shop, computer lab, and lounge area. Beyond this Barrett has a ‘three pronged advisory system’, exceptional research opportunities and funding, and even its own endowment.

Despite all this, Barrett’s gets no respect: among the top 50 public university honors programs it is perceived as 48 (Public University Honors). However, when measured by the students for ‘overall excellence’, it always ranks among the top three.

If you are feeling alienated and underappreciated by the run for the Ivies, or the other highly selective schools dotted across the country, public universities might prove to be an antidote. Apply, visit and consider them. They might be the perfect alternative to launch you toward your own drive for excellence.

Best Practices of a Student-Focused University

Though heavy research and publishing demands might constrain faculty teaching efforts, many universities are becoming more effective at encouraging undergraduate learning by implementing ‘best practices.’

Research into best undergraduate educational practices by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU)  yielded a list of ten: 1st Year Seminars; Required Common Courses; Learning Communities; Writing Intensive Courses; Collaborative Projects; Undergraduate Research; Global Learning; Community-Based Learning; Internships; and, Capstone Projects. The full list, along with a quick synopsis of each practice, can be downloaded at the AACU website:   

When researching a college, a rule of thumb is the more ‘best practices’ offered, the more engaged its undergraduates are and the better prepared they will be upon graduation.    

Of the ten best practices, five, which might be considered the paramount ‘best practices,’ are frequently found at many schools, at least many of the schools I have researched over the last year, and warrant more detail:

First Year Seminars: While some first year seminars might cover orientation or study skills, most are geared towards small seminar classes consisting of fewer than 15 students, taught by a professor, featuring specific topics or readings that require close examination, discussion, analysis, and extensive writing assignments. The small size encourages participation, frequent encounters with the professor, and again, lots of writing that is carefully developed and critiqued. The 2009 National Survey on First-Year Seminars notes over 87% of universities currently offer 1st year seminars. Brown University, for example, has dozens of 1st year seminars for its freshmen. Many state universities, especially Honor’s Programs such as Barrett’s Honors College at Arizona State University, offer first year seminars as well.

Writing-intensive Courses:   The importance of learning to write well, and extensively, cannot be overemphasized. Richard Light, a professor from Harvard’s School of Education, draws a direct correlation between the amount of writing in a course and its level of student engagement.  Student writing doesn’t need to be restricted to just a course, but can and should be interdisciplinary. Most universities also have writing centers that supply aid to all undergraduates in need: Swarthmore College’s writing center will assist in anything from a 5-paragraph essay to an esoteric physics research paper.

Undergraduate Research:  If you’re planning to apply to medical school, or most graduate programs for that matter, conducting undergraduate research is essential. Learning how research is funded, conducted, and published is fast becoming the rite of passage in many undergraduate schools. Most of the departments in Boston University offer numerous opportunities for undergraduate research. Pomona College and Swarthmore require all undergraduates to conduct independent research with a faculty mentors before graduating.

Internships: Gaining internships with companies or institutions prior to graduation is also fast becoming the rigor at many schools. Over 86% of Clarkson College’s (NY) recent graduating class participated in internships. Some, such as Northeastern (MA) and Kalamazoo (MI), have full-fledged coop programs that integrate work experience into their curriculum. In departments such as communication at Northwestern and Boston College, working in the media is expected by majors before the end of junior year. The more internships/work experience students gain, the better.

Capstone courses and projects:  Mastery of a subject is best demonstrated through an honor’s thesis, comprehensive exams, and independent projects requiring application of core concepts of a discipline. Reed College requires most its undergraduates take a comprehensive exam in their junior year followed by a capstone research thesis that is presented and defended before a panel of professors from Reed and outside universities. In essence a bachelor’s from Reed signifies capabilities similar to those of PhDs.

The more rigorous the ‘best practices’ offered by universities you have under the microscope, the better prepared you will be to meet and surmount the challenges encountered beyond college

Best results arise from best practices: they’re worth looking for in any college under consideration.

Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.School)


  •          Virtually everyone can innovate
  •          d-School rankings on Bloomberg
  •          Non-degree program features three key precepts of innovation

 “Innovators aren’t exceptional as much as they are confident.” (WSJ, 17 October 2011, R5)

 “…virtually everyone has the capacity to innovate. It’s just that somewhere around fourth grade most of us stop thinking of ourselves as creative…so our ability to innovate atrophies.” (Ibid.)

These are the beliefs, along with a $35 million gift from German software entrepreneur Hasso Plattner, the co-founder of SAP, that have stirred David Kelley to create the d.School at Stanford. The program does not award degrees and is open to Stanford graduate students to learn what it takes to become more innovative. It warrants mention in this column because to survive in the years ahead every student will need to innovate and create both within the classroom and afterwards within their chosen careers.

The recognition by businesses of training  is measured in the popularity and growth of d.Schools. Bloomberg Business Week lists programs at, with d.Schools found on a range of campuses from Arizona State, to an alliance between MIT and  Rhode Island School of Design.

David Kelley wants us to resurrect our latent talent and stretch our limitless imagination around an ‘experience,’ a ‘design challenge.’ He knows that within each of us there is an ossified creative engine; it needs to be kicked into gear and we need to start ‘design thinking.’ That’s a lot of buzzwords that might seem daunting, but they shouldn’t. Design thinking works, and it’s a set of skills that evolve through experience. There is a mythical dimension to the creative process that innovative concepts appear as flashes, or bolts, from the heavens: certainly Hollywood had a bit to do with this perception, but the realities are that innovation is a developed habit and, again, most of us contain the key elements.  Three precepts must be instilled in us to unlock innovative thinking. Mr. Kelley tells us ‘we must be open to experimentation, become comfortable with ambiguity, and don’t fear failure.’ By the way, Stanford d.School actually has a K-12 lab where a lot of these processes are being used to create innovative curriculum and more effective teaching methods.

Here is how Mr. Kelley’s teaching model works. First a student is given a design problem. Yet, rather than just setting off to work on the problem, the student must define the problem in his or her own words, through research, and direct observation. The key is to get a visceral sense of what it is one is attempting to solve, why, and what are the constraints? Defining the challenge also allows for the problem to gel. The second step is ‘ideation.’ Groups of students, and beyond, with disciplines of all sorts: engineering, language, computer science, political science…the list goes on, collaborate in an attempt to brainstorm and visualize a solution.  In such a mix of views, conflicting and contrasting solutions arise and are encouraged. It is through such entanglements that truly innovative paths are illuminated. Moreover, going through this process of search and consideration gets students use to dealing with the wide open nature of innovation, and, more importantly, builds self -confidence with the innovative process.

The third step is ‘prototyping’. This can be done through a series of sketches, or CAD (computer aided design) modeling, or even creating 3-D images or models. It’s not important how the prototype is composed, what is important is to create as many as possible that can be tested, modified, and retested. The innovative process, done successfully is very hands-on and iterative. The more prototypes, the better:  it’s important to fail early and often to get to a plausible solution. This is the heart of design thinking.

Some of the fruits of the process include a number of spinoffs; d.light design produces solar powered lamps for developing countries; and, Alphonso Labs markets an iPhone application named Pulse for news reading. Altogether, wants you to get out and innovate. Yes, some innovations arise through associating two unrelated ideas, but even association is often abetted by questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting. These skills, in turn, can be honed through practice. You have the capability and capacity to innovate. Build confidence through action and your creative prowess will be boundless.  

Stanford 대학의 Hasso Plattner Institute of Design(d.School) 소개        

  •          모든 사람은 획기적일 수 있다
  •          의 Bloomberg 순위
  •          비학위 과정으로 혁신을 위한 3가지 원리를 제공한다

“혁신은 예외적인 것이 아니다…모든 사람은 혁신의 능력을 갖고 있다…단지 4학년 쯤에서 우리 모두가 스스로 창의적이라는 생각을 버렸으며…그래서 혁신할 수 있는 능력이 쇠퇴한 것이다.” (WSJ, 17 October 2011)

독일인 사업가 Hasso Plattner은 이런 신념으로 $35 million을 투자하며 스탠포드 대학 내에 d.School을 세우도록 David Kelley를 부추긴 것이다.  이 프로그램은 학위과정이 아니나, 스탠포드 졸업생들에게 혁신이 무엇인지를 알게 한다.  필자도 확신하거니와 앞으로의 세상은 모든 학생들이 공부나 직업에 있어서 창의적이고 혁신적이어야만 살아 남는다.

d.School의 인기도는 이 학교의 성장과 Bloomberg Business Week lists에 나타나며 (, Arizona State대학과 그리고 MIT, Rhode Island School of Design과도 연계되어 있다.

David Kelley는 우리에게 경험을 바탕으로 한 재능과 한계를 넘어 ‘design challenge’를 갖도록 원한다.  즉, 우리 모두 안에는 잠자고 있는 창의적 엔진이 있으며 ‘design thinking’을 하도록 시동을 걸어야 한다고 한다.  이러한 주장이 질리게 하지만, 그럴 필요는 없다.  디자인 사고를 할 수 있으며, 경험을 통한 기술의 집합이라고 할 수 있다.  창의적인 과정으로 나타나는 혁신적 개념은 번개가 천둥처럼 하늘에서 내려온 것이라 믿지만, 사실 혁신은 발달된 습관이며, 우리 모두가 이런 요소를 갖고 있다.  혁신적 사고를 위해서는 3가지 행동수칙이 일어나야 한다.  Kelley에 따르면, 실험에 노출되어야 하며, 모호성에 편안해 해야 하며, 실패를 두려워 하지 않아야 한다고 한다.  한편, Stanford d.School은 이러한 과정으로 이미 K-12 전 학년을 위한 혁신적인 교과과정을 계발하기 위한 교육실험실을 갖고 있다.

Kelley의 교수 모델은 다음과 같다.  첫 단계는 학생이 디자인 문제를 받는 것이다.  그러나 이 문제에 바로 시작하기 전에 학생은 문제에 대해 리서치와 직접 관찰을 통해 본인의 말로 정의를 내려야 한다.  열쇠는 문제에 대한 본능적 느낌이며 한계를 깨닫는 것이다.  그리하여 문제가 풀리도록 하는 것이다.  두 번째 단계는 ‘ideation’이다.  학생들의 그룹은 모든 전공들로 이루어져 있다: 공학, 언어, 컴퓨터 공학, 정치학 등등…  이 모든 종류의 학생들이 문제 해결을 위해 협동하고, 브레인 스토밍, 시각화를 한다.  이러한 여러 견해의 집합에서 갈등과 대조는 해결을 위해 조장된다.  이렇게 얽히고 섞인 관계에서 혁신적인 길이 열리게 된다.  더욱이, 조사와 고려를 거듭하면서 학생들은 혁신의 개방성을 이해하게 되고, 무엇보다 이러한 혁신의 과정에 자신감을 갖게 된다.

세 번째 단계는 ‘prototyping(정형화)’이다.  이 단계는 스케치, CAD (컴퓨터 디자인), 모델링, 3차원 이미지를 통해 이루어 진다.  정형을 만드는 것이 중요한 것이 아니다.  가능한 모든 것이 테스트되고, 고쳐지고, 다시 테스트되는 것이다.  이와 같은 혁신적 과정이 성공적으로 이루어지고 또한 반복되는 것이다.  정형이 많이 만들어 질수록 좋은 일이다.  또한 일찍 실패하고 다시 그럴듯한 해결을 만드는 것이다.  이러한 점이 바로 디자인 사고의 핵심이다.

이러한 과정의 열매는 d.School의 수많은 작품을 낳았다.  d.Light 디자인은 계발도상국에 태양열 전등을 보냈으며, Alphonso Labs는 새로운 독서를 위한 iPone의 app인 Pulse를 만들었다.  d.School은 여러분을 혁신적으로 만들어 내는 것이다.  정말 어떤 혁신은 전혀 관련없는 두 생각을 연결할 때 나타나기도 한다.  이러한 연결은 질문과 관찰, 네트워킹, 실험을 통해 종종 이루어 진다.  한편, 이러한 기술은 연습을 통해 연마된다.  여러분도 혁신의 능력과 재능을 갖고 있다.  행동을 통해 자신감을 갖고 여러분의 창의적인 기량을 펼치길 바란다.

Public versus Private Research Universities

  • Recruiters Favor Public Schools (Wall Street Journal)
  • Public School (in-state) Better ROI (return on investment)
  • Student Satisfaction
  • Changing Majors

When the Wall Street Journal surveyed top corporate recruiters who hire more than 43,000 new university graduates a year, the answer as to where the recruiters found the most promising graduates warranted consideration. These companies are putting their recruiting money where their mouths are. (To get a better sense of this you can find the article at Their top five schools were all large public universities: 1. Penn State; 2. Texas A&M; 3. University of Illinois; 4. Purdue University; and 5. Arizona State. All admit over 50% of their applicants, with Arizona State admitting a whopping 90%. How in the world could these recruiters be so enamored with students from institutions that appear to be so unselective?

One answer offered by Zac Bissonnette in his Debt-Free U (Penguin Books, New York, 2010) is a good student can get a good education just about anywhere. When you have a campus with over 15,000 students enrolled, statistically there will be a critical mass of smart, studious students to draw upon. A lot of these students, in many cases, have the qualifications many top employers seek. At Arizona State, many of the professors also have research and other connections with the recruiting companies; such accommodations help these public universities gain an edge for their graduating students.

While gaining employment is a solid reason to consider public universities, another is that public school costs are subsidized by the state. Consequently, the return on investment (ROI) for going to a public school, in most cases, is much higher than the ROI of a private school. The March 2009 Business Week, which considered the ROI of undergraduate business programs noted, “While the top-ranked private schools such as No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Wharton get all the attention, it’s the big state schools (and their lower tuition costs) that fare the best on this measure.” In the article Business Week divided the average starting salary for a business major student by the total tuition and fees: public school grads took home almost $6 for every dollar spent, while private school grads received just under $1.90.

Undoubtedly, getting value for your educational dollar is very important. Yet, don’t private schools better meet student expectations than public ones? In a Noel-Levitz survey conducted in 2007, over 400,000 students from more than 740 institutions, including 4-year private, public, and 2-year colleges, were asked if they were satisfied with their college experience, and if they had the opportunity to re-enroll would they? The percent satisfied at the 4-year public and private schools was a statistical tie at 52% and 53% respectively. The likelihood of re-enrollment question was also extremely close with 56% and 59% saying yes for public and private schools. In essence, both public and private students appear almost equal in their satisfaction with their respective schools.

Another consideration for many students when selecting a school is the number of strong departments across a range of majors. Approximately 80% of students will change their majors (often more than once) sometime during their undergraduate career. Attending a large public research university will have the latitude to accommodate this. There are private universities (certainly Boston University comes to mind with its 18,000 undergraduates and well over a 100 majors) that can, but generally most private schools are smaller and don’t have the scope to offer a wide selection of majors and departments found in public research universities.  

Arguments supporting going to a private or public research university abound. The final decision, of course, is yours. The key is to make it rationally. You want to have a valuable and edifying undergraduate experience while, at the same time, not ending your undergraduate years with thousands of dollars of debt. Choose wisely and be aware of the costs and benefits of all the schools on your list.   

공립대와 사립대학 비교

  • 리쿠르터들은 공립대 선호한다
  • 공립대 (주립) 투자가치에서 우수하다
  • 학생들의 만족도와 전공변경에서도 공립대가 우수하다

Wall Street Journal이 매년 43,000이상의 신입사원을 모집하는 최고 기업의 리쿠르터들을 조사한 결과는 졸업생들에게는 고려할 가치가 있다.  이 회사들에서는 이 전문가들의 말에 따라 신입사원 채용의 비용을 쓸 것이기 때문이다.  (자세한 자료는 웹싸이트 에서 알 수 있다).  이들이 추천하는 탑 5 의 학교들은 모두 큰 공립대학들이다: 1. Penn State; 2. Texas A&M; 3. University of Illinois; 4. Purdue University; and 5. Arizona State.  이들 대학의 응시자들 중에서 50%이상의 사원을 뽑았으며, Arizona State 에서는 응시자의 90%가 입사했다.  어떻게 명문대가 아닌 대학에서 이렇게 많은 신입사원들을 뽑는 것일까?

한 가지 대답으로 Debt-Free U (Penguin books, New York, 2010)을 쓴 Zac Bissonnett는 좋은 학생들은 어디에서나 좋은 교육을 받을 수 있다는 점이다.  여러분이 15,000명이 넘는 학생 수의 대학에서 잘 하려면 똑똑하고 열심이어야 한다.  이런 학생들은 리크루터들이 찾는 자격을 갖추고 있다.  Arizona State에서는 많은 교수들이 회사와 협력 리서치를 하고 있다; 이런 편의성은 이 대학졸업생에게는 혜택이 따르는 것이다.

취업률이 좋다는 점이 공립대의 한 가지 장점이며, 또한 공립대는 주정부의 보조를 받는다는 점이다.  그래서, 투자환수(ROI)가 사립대보다 우수하다.  March 2009 Business Week에는 경영대학의 투자환수에 대해 알려주고 있다; 우수 사립대 (No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Wharton)가 관심의 초점이 되는 반면, 큰 주립대학들은 좋은 대우를 보장한다.  이 잡지의 기사에서 경영학 전공자들의 평균 봉급을 비교하고 있다: 공립대는 $1투자에 따른 $6를 받는 반면, 사립대는 $1.90 아래였다.

교육투자에 대한 가치도 중요하지만, 여러분은 공립대와 사립대를 비교하며 어느 쪽이 여러분의 기대에 부응할 지 고려해야 한다.  2007년도 Noel-Levitz조사에서 4년제와 2년제를 합하여 740개의 대학으로 진학한 400,000명이 넘는 학생들을 조사하였다.  그들의 대학 만족도와 만약 기회가 주어진다면 다시 졸업한 대학에 등록할 것인가?에 대해, 만족도는 4년제 공립대와 사립대는 각각 52%와 53%였다.  재등록할 비율은 56%와 59%이었다.  결론적으로 만족도는 비슷한 결과이다.

 또 한가지 고려할 점은 다양한 전공의 우수한 학과이다.  왜냐면, 80%의 신입생들이 한 번이상 전공을 바꾸기 때문이다.  그렇다면, 큰 공립대학 재학생은 이런 경향을 만족시킬 자유가 있다.  물론 큰 사립대( 18,000명이 재학하는 Boston University)도 있지만, 보통 사립대학은 선택의 폭이 넓지 않다.

사립대냐, 공립대냐, 의견은 분분하다.  당사자인 여러분이 결정해야 한다.  열쇠는 이성적으로 해야 한다는 점이다.  진정 가치있고 품격높은 교육과 동시에 수천달러의 빚을 지고싶지 않다면, 현명하게 선택해야 한다.