Huixingzi Tang / Courier Brian Kennedy, associate professor in English Division and new faculty coordinator for the Honors program in Pasadena City College on September 27, 2017.
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He dresses in a formal business attire and dawns a black dress shoe, while carrying a bag filled with his planners and notebooks. Inside his planner consists of day-to-day activities that range from grading class assignments to business-related duties. His demeanor, likewise, is a caricature of other professors who dress professional by society’s view of an authoritative figure.

Along with Dr. Brian Kennedy’s work of teaching the rudiments of argumentative writing to basic grammar structure in his classes, entails another responsibility: to advise and run the Honors program.

In the previous year, Derek Milne, a professor at PCC, was the honors coordinator. With him being on sabbatical this year, Kennedy was offered the role to run the program.

“I like being busy and I like contributing to the Honors program,” said Kennedy. “It’s a lot of follow-up. I get emails from students, I get emails from faculties who teach in the program, and I deal with outside people [like the] administrators.”

Running between the next honors meetings to discussing with faculty departments about the additions of more honors classes, his objectives for the program are endless.

As more students are interested in pursuing STEM-related majors, the program’s goal this year is to create more honors-level offerings in the natural sciences and mathematics.

“Serving the STEM students is one of my major emphases this year,” he said. “We have a lot of STEM students in our program, and we want them to get the best we can give them.”

Specifically, one of the program’s goal is to add more honors-only courses in calculus, considering that the classes are over-filled every semester.

“Math is working a sequence of honors courses,” he continued. And the calculus series is exactly what we’re working on now.”

With more than 1,000 students registered in the program, many enroll in rigorous classes to attain honors credit and prepare to transfer to a four-year university.

In addition to taking demanding classes, some go to a further extent and prepare to present their research findings at the Honors Transfer Council of California (HTCC), which is held at the UC Irvine every spring.

When preparing for the HTCC, students are required to work with their professors to submit a 25-word project description and 250-word proposal abstract, stated on their website.

Students that successfully complete 15 honors credit are offered priority transfer consideration to universities such as UCLA or Pomona College. Those who complete their requirements are certified for UCLA’s Transfer Alliance Program (TAP), a program designed to “foster academic excellence at the community college level.”

“Getting TAP certified triples the chance of getting into [UCLA],” he said. “960 students applied to UCLA last year. Of those, 137 were TAP students, and 101… students got admitted—that’s 77 percent.”

Students can also receive assistance at the program’s monthly workshops, whether it be preparing for the HTTC or writing college applications. There are also events hosted, where various college representatives discuss their outline and requirements to transferring.

“There’s a lot of budget planning [for these type of events],” he continued. “We have a lot of events such as the Honors transfer fair, workshops for the HTCC, TAP workshops, and [college] applications through the year.”

On enrolling in the Honors program, Dr. Kennedy expressed the benefits of being apart of a community that emphasizes hard work and intellectual growth.

“The universities evaluating your transcript sees this as a nice addition,” he said. “It shows that you have scholarly interest and that you have ambitions as a student, and how you’re willing to go outside the normal course of what we expect you to do.”

As applications are open every semester, those who are interested in the Honors program can apply and submit their application at the program’s office located at IT-209.

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