Welcome from Professor Wallis

Welcome to Fall 2017, Honors Students.  If you are a returning student…hello again, so glad you are back at SAC and back in the Honors Program.  If you are a new student…welcome, we are so glad you made the decision to be part of our Honors Academy.

I am Dehlia Wallis and I am the Coordinator for the Honors Academy.  I am also a professor that teaches Honors Psychology and Honors EDUC 1300.  This is the start of my second year as Honors Coordinator, though I have taught Honors Courses for several years.  I am honored to work with each of you in the Honors Academy!

The start to the Fall is always an exciting time of new opportunities.  I encourage you to settle in to your semester with good time management from the beginning and start getting yourself connected to SAC and other students at SAC.  Ever think about joining a student club?  Are you coming by the Honors Center regularly?  We want to make sure you are benefiting from the support, collaboration and fun that happens in the center daily.

In closing, I wish each of you a wonderful semester and I want you to know that my door is open to each and every one of you. If you have a question, need help, have a suggestion, etc….my office is in Chance 124C.

Here’s to a wonderful semester,

Professor Wallis

Honors Roundup

Dear new incoming fall 2017 students:

We have emailed you a link to sign up for the Honors Roundup!  The “Roundup” is a welcome orientation for all honors students joining the program this fall.  You will have the opportunity to meet with professors, your advisor, and current honors students.

We will speak to you about expectations of the program, how to become a successful honors student, and the what to expect out of college.  Please check your Alamo account! (In some cases, we may have only had access to your personal email account.  If you do not see the invite in your Alamo inbox, check your personal and let us know we need to update our emailing list to include your Alamo account!).

*While the Roundup is not mandatory, it is very important as it will enable you to understand what our program is about and start the school year ahead of the game!

Our Genesis

In the beginning, San Antonio College had a small honors program (the Raul Murgia Presidential honors program) of about 30 students.  In 2011 the previous director stepped down to become the chair of the English Department, and the program faced termination in light of budget cuts brought on by the Great Recession.

Drs. Jon Lee and Erik Anderson, both professors of history, (who had been teaching the equivalent of capstone classes) spoke to SAC College President Dr. Ziegler about taking over the program and transforming it into a large Honors Academy that would be able to service much more of SAC’s diverse student population.

Erik Anderson and Jon Lee, early developers of the SAC Honors Academy
Erik Anderson and Jon Lee, early developers of the SAC Honors Academy

The goals of the new program would be to: create a community of success that reflected the student population at SAC, promote graduation and transfer among all students, and prepare students for success following transfer to senior institutions. The Academy would serve all SAC students, but would target those from the underserved high schools in the area.

In the fall of 2011, 33 students and four honors faculty began this journey.  The main challenge during this time was a lack of space and funding.

In 2012, Lee and Anderson were approached by SAC’s grant committee to apply for the Jessie Ball Du Pont grant, an award of $152,000.  The program was approved and was able to purchase technology, office supplies and compensation for faculty as well as release time for the coordinator, Dr. Lee.  Also that year, the program was given the former Disability and Support Services computer lab to use.

With each passing year, the program has grown and been successful in its goals.  As of December of 2014: 54% of the first year cohort and 26.2% of the second year cohort have graduated with an associate’s degree.  According to THECB, the graduation rate for all SAC students that year was 11.2%.  The cohort students have also dramatically increased from an initial size of 33 students to 241 students in 2014.

This year, between previous and new cohorts, the program supports roughly 350 students.  The space has been renovated, and a new honors center opened in January of 2015.  Also, in 2014, SAC  administration provided funding for a part-time advisor. Ten new faculty members have joined the team and continue to work diligently teaching honors courses, becoming better advisors, and providing better resources for the honors students.