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Burtt Named OWU Honors Program Co-Director

November 14, 2005

DELAWARE, Ohio - Dr. Edward "Jed" Burtt, Cincinnati Conference Professor of Zoology, has been named Ohio Wesleyan's co-director of the University's honors program.

Burtt will replace Jim Biehl, professor of English, who is retiring after more than 20-years of service to the program and University in May. Burtt will work along side Biehl and fellow co-director Amy McClure, professor of education, during the spring semester.

"Jed's familiarity with all aspects of the honors program will make him an effective advocate for the program with various audiences, from faculty and current students to prospective students and their parents, the administration, and the trustees," says Associate Academic Dean Louise Musser. "I think he will be an outstanding advocate for the program."

While taking on a new position, Burtt is no stranger to the honors program. "I have worked with the honors program since its inception," says Burtt. "I have taught tutorials singly and in collaboration with other faculty and have taught honor courses on creativity." He holds the program's importance to the future of the University in high regards. "The honors program is essential to attracting the very best students to Ohio Wesleyan and essential to challenging them once they enroll," says Burtt. "I also believe the program is essential to attracting and retaining the best faculty who can be challenged by the honors students."

Burtt will use his experience and passion in an effort to sell the program to younger faculty members. "My role will be to sell the program to both faculty and students and I have enjoyed doing that over the last ten or more years."

He also has very specific goals for ways to enhance the program. "I hope to make the honors Web site more interactive," says Burtt. "I hope to use photographs and links to show what students and faculty in the program are doing." Among the ideas he's tossing around are setting up an honors blog that would give current students an understanding of what the program entails and allow prospective students to experience the excitement and spontaneity that is often involved in the program.

Burtt also plans to increase the number of tutorials offered in the program and "create" a space for honor students and faculty to meet informally. "I would like to have a place where honors students and faculty could meet informally to discuss ideas, many having little to do with the tutorials, but a lot with being an intelligent talented individual in a complex world."

He is excited about the opportunity to attract new students and faculty to the program. "My role in the honors program will be focused on recruiting students and faculty to the honors program," says Burtt. "That means I will need to be closely involved with prospective students and I have found that a deeply rewarding experience. Getting to know students and their families as they work to make the dream of a college education happen is exhilarating. You get to participate in the fulfillment of that dream and it is especially exciting when that student arrives on campus next fall and you have a chance to interact and work with him or her as I have often had. I think it is equally exciting to work with faculty to help them realize how exciting it can be to bring a motivated, bright freshman into their research 

area and then be able to spend four years working together with that student to extend the boundaries of your particular field of scholarship. The challenge for faculty that the honors program provides is how to bring that young student into your discipline, get them excited, and sustain a working relationship that is often independent of course. It is an intellectual challenge and hard work, but very rewarding."