The Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences announced on Friday that it would be ending its Honors Program after almost 60 years. The Class of 2021 will be the last class to graduate in the Honors Program.
Founded in 1958, the MCAS Honors Program was created to attract elite applicants to the University at a time when it had not yet achieved significant stature. As BC has become a top national university and begun to attract superior applicants, the Honors Program is no longer necessary in its original function, according to a letter from Dean of MCAS Rev. Greg Kalscheur, S.J., sent to students.
Students currently in the program will be able to finish it out until graduation, and Honors Program faculty will have the opportunity to stay on in full-time positions in other departments.
The ending of the Honors Program at BC seems justified. The program itself, consisting of a 24-credit obligation during a student’s first two years at BC, is considered by some to be prohibitive in exploring other academic interests. For this reason and others, some students typically drop the Honors Program after the first year.
Its removal, however, raises uncertainty in other respects.
It is true that BC now attracts higher-caliber applicants than it did 60 years ago. But national rankings do not place BC in the highest regard as it does some of its competitors. The Honors Program was an incentive for elite prospective students to choose BC over a comparable or higher-tier school. With the distinction of Honors gone, it is possible that exceptional applicants will be more inclined to choose to attend other schools that offer matriculation with such a distinction.
Furthermore, it is unclear what will happen to the Honors Programs in the Carroll School of Management and the Lynch School of Education. No announcement has been made regarding these programs. It is important to note that they operate largely independently of the MCAS Honors Program, but in theory, the same logic used in ending MCAS Honors applies to CSOM and Lynch Honors, too. Therefore, it is unclear what will happen to these programs in years to come.
Featured Image by Meg Dolan / Heights Editor