Q&A with Honors program director Dr. Laurie Linhart

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself?

A: I have my master’s and PhD from Iowa State in sociology. This is the beginning of my 26th year of teaching college.

The last six I have been full time here at DMACC. Before that, I was an adjunct at Drake and DMACC. In addition, in my lifetime I have been the executive director of an alcohol and drug rehab agency.

I have also been a personal trainer. I worked at several non-profits, doing fundraising and grant writing. So, I’ve had quite a broad brush of experience in different ways.

Q: Describe the position?

A: A year and a half ago I was asked by the executive vice president for academic affairs if I would like to take on the role of Honors director. The current director back then was stepping away from the position and she asked me if I would like to intern under her for a year and then take over position.

I said, certainly, that would be great. I’d love it because I’ve been involved in the Honors program for quite a long time. The director of Honors mangages the entire district, not just Ankeny campus, so I’m responsible for the Honors program on each of the different campuses.

I’m responsible for finding qualified Honors instructors, discipline faculty, and seminar faculty and helping them execute their duties as faculty members.

I’m responsible for recruiting students for the program and making sure that they’re engaging in the program at the level that is expected. So, it is a leadership position. I have a wonderful Honors advisory council that is made up of faculty and administrators from across the district and students as well. I’m in charge of running those meetings and making sure that we’re implementing our strategic plan, which came from a program review that we went through April of 2017.

I manage the budget, make sure students have research opportunities and make sure that faculty get to go to conferences that are appropriate for what their involvement is.

Q: What are your goals for the Honors Program?

A: The program is not in its beginning stages any longer, you know we’ve kind of been through six years of implementation, and so the goals of the program are to take it to the next level.

Which means doing more and growing the program across all of the different campuses.

Ankeny has by far the most Honors program students enrolled, but there’s room to grow here and there’s room to grow, most certainly at other campuses.

So figuring out those growth opportunities, marketing the program and making sure that administrators know that it’s a worthwhile addition, a critical piece to DMACC education.

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