April 29, 2020

Honors Wednesday Memo

Opportunities and Information for Honors Students

edited by Brad Rentz

Volume 3, Issue 31

April 29, 2020 


Message from Dean Jeff Vahlbusch

Dear Honors students, friends, colleagues,

To mark and celebrate the final day of classes in this very challenging semester, here is a tribute to students and faculty (and the work they do together) written by my colleague and friend Dr. Chris Osmond, Associate Professor in the Reich College of Education, Department of Leadership & Education. Let’s call it "Reverie on an Empty Campus."

I was out playing with my five year-old son on the deserted campus today — as has become our rhythm, weather permitting, on Tuesdays and Thursdays — and we ended up playing Pokemon soccer in the courtyard of the Honors College, where I always end up having at least a couple of class meetings outside every spring that I am fortunate enough to teach an HON seminar. 

And believe it or not, the aching losses of this semester hit me a new way. I love teaching outside. The whole boogie of it: the saying no for weeks before you say yes, because it’s too cold, because the ground is wetter than they think, because bees, until finally one perfect day right around the third week in April you say what the heck, let’s do it. 

And bam, suddenly there you are, right in the middle of an admissions brochure. The pastoral idyll of college, everyone draped all over the lawn with paperbacks splayed and sunglasses and having to talk just a little louder over the folks throwing disc ten yards away. Heaven on earth. 

I miss students! They are like the water that philosopher Susanne Langer uses to picture dynamic form. No one drop of water may seem very big — but taken together, working together, drops shape the world that tries to contain and thwart them: they carve rocks and thunder past, creating canyons. Their motion is their form and their beauty. And their absence is deafening.

I would not dare contradict the experts and will abide this silent spring as long as we must. But I can’t wait until our students come back.

[Dr. Osmond is also Associate Director of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, Director of the Minor in Medical Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences, and a revered and long-time teacher of Honors College courses.] 


Dr. Chris Osmond, Honors faculty and associate professor in the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies, teaching HON 2515: Narratives and the Caring Professions in the Spring 2019 semester. 


Upcoming Opportunities:

Annual Celebration of Student Research and Creative Endeavors

The Office of Student Research (OSR) accepted 239 abstracts for this year’s celebration. Abstracts are available to read and review on the OSR website in the place of an in-person celebration this Spring. To view, read, and explore students’ abstracts, click here.

Counseling Center Workshops

The counseling center is offering new Quick Access Virtual Workshops! These workshops focus on student mental health themes such as anxiety, relationships, managing difficult emotions and self-esteem. To register for a workshop and learn more, visit our website

Summer Fall Academic Strategies Courses

Students can take an Academic Strategies class as a way to explore majors and careers, or to learn essential skills for succeeding in college and beyond. For a complete list of courses and more information, click here.

Graduate Courses at Appalachian

Consider taking a graduate level course or pursuing a graduate certificate or degree program! Applications for the non-degree graduate program at Appalachian State are due by Monday, May 11, 2020. To learn more, visit our website.

Cookies with Jeff

Today from 3 to 5 p.m. Topics: catching up; anything you want to talk about; how we are all coping, with tips for doing so; cookie recipe ideas; celebrating the imminent end of the strangest and most anxious semester; Honors College community building from now until the end of summer; Honors College student steering committee!

To access the Zoom call with Jeff, click here or check your inbox for further information.


Stay in the Know:

Climate Stories

The Climate Stories Collaborative invites you to follow their third annual showcase of student climate stories works, taking place this year through their Instagram page.  The exhibition began on April 15, so you can go check out the currently featured projects now! For more information, visit our website.

Outdoor Programs Backyard Scavenger Hunt

On Thursday, April 30, 2020, round up your "Quaranteam" (folks your quarantining with) and join us for a virtual scavenger hunt from your own backyard! We will be awarding prizes to the top teams. Prior registration is required for the event. For more information and how to register, click here.

App Builds a Home is Back for Year 2

In this time of crisis and shelter-in-place guidelines, a safe home is more important now than ever. App Builds a Home is honored to help local families build affordable and safe homes. Potter home Year 2: We will begin the 2nd ABAH house for Sheila Potter, an App State employee, this coming fall. We will kick off the Potter home build with a Blitz Build in September. To learn more, and how to get involved, visit our website.

Don’t Throw it Away Cancelled

Appalachian & the Community Together (ACT) will not be hosting its annual Don’t Throw it Away event this year. The ACT office is currently working with local community organizations who are accepting donations of items that are typically donated during DTiA.  If you are unable to take your items with you when you move out of your residence hall or off campus apartment, please consider donating them. For more information on where and how you can donate your gently used items, click here.

App Summer Festival

The annual Boone, NC-based celebration of music, dance, theatre, film and visual arts cancels summer 2020 season due to the impact of COVID-19 and is offering reformatted online programming. Information regarding refunds and plans moving forward can be found on our website.


In the Honors (Appalachian) Spotlight

Honors students face challenge with creativity and ingenuity


The photos above feature Chloe Starr (bottom left), Sarah Caudill (top left), Daniel Brehm (top right) and Elizabeth Williams (bottom right). These are latest in photos from the many Honors thesis defenses that are taking place virtually in these last weeks of the semester.

In late March, Appalachian State University moved to virtual modes of learning due to concerns posed by COVID-19. Faculty and staff across campus have been simultaneously re-creating related, on-campus academic experiences, everything from thesis defenses to a reading clinic, through online platforms.

In the Honors College, thesis defenses typically abound at this time of year and this year is no different. Amidst COVID-19 Honors students are constructing virtual thesis defenses that are boundless by including individuals who could not otherwise attend. In a myriad of ways, Honors students are doing what they do best—facing challenge with resourcefulness, creativity and ingenuity. As Dean Vahlbusch is known to say, “In the Honors College, we don’t think outside the box — there is no box.”

Click here to read the full story, App State’s shift to online platforms creates new opportunities, by Megan Bruffy in Appalachian Today


Honors’ Sophia Yang featured in story about Appalachian State International Student 


Photo above features Sophia Yang, an Honors senior and a Appalachian international student from Beijing, China. Yang, who is double majoring in chemistry and exercise science with a minor in biology, will graduate from Appalachian in May. Photo submitted

They’re far from home but not alone. Approximately 50 international students attending Appalachian State University remain in Boone — some in residence halls, others in their apartments — while most of the university’s student population has returned to their homes because of stay-at-home orders related to COVID-19. Yang has attended Appalachian for four years and will graduate in May with dual bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and exercise science and a minor in biology. This story about international students during COVID-19 by Jan Todd, features Yang. In it, Yang reflects, “At Appalachian, I have learned healthy ways to cope with tricky situations and to maintain a positive outlook. I don’t know if I’d be equally equipped to handle this COVID-19 situation without my App Experience,” she said. “There are so many happy memories, camaraderie and wonderful relationships I can choose to focus on, and those will define my time here at Appalachian.”

For the full story, click here.


To Stay in the Know and Learn About All Opportunities in Honors, please visit https://honors.appstate.edu/announcements


Appalachian State Honors College on Social Media!

Check us out on Instagram also! Find us by searching “Appalachian Honors College”


Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook at Appalachian Honors: https://www.facebook.com/Appalachian-Honors-482157301971520/ 


Have news to share? Submissions to the Honors Wednesday Memo can be made by emailing honors@appstate.edu. Any content received by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday will be considered for the following week’s issue.