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College of Liberal Arts Launches Honors Program Starting in Fall

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – JUNE 25, 2014 – The College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Brownsville has established an Honors Program that will begin fall 2014.

“This program will offer our talented students an enhanced academic experience,” said Dr. David Fisher, Associate Professor in the Department of History and Honors Program Coordinator. “The program will be characterized by small, seminar-style classes led by outstanding faculty who emphasize active experimentation, research and performance.”

Participants will take classes with other motivated, high-achieving students; they will enjoy special opportunities for experiential learning that include study abroad, study away and internships.

UT Brownsville Associate Professor in History Dr. David Fisher with Liberal Arts Honors students Marisol Sanchez and Shangir Siddique on Thursday, Jun. 19, 2014 at the Cueto Building.Dr. David Fisher with students Marisol Sanchez and Shangir Siddique who have been accepted into the Honors Program.

The new Honors Program is open to current students at UTB and incoming students, including those transferring from other colleges or universities. Current UTB and transfer students must have a minimum of 12 completed academic hours and a cumulative GPA of 3.3.

UTB sophomore Marisol Sanchez, 19, who graduated from Gladys Porter High School in June 2013, has been accepted into the program. A Brownsville native, Sanchez is a psychology major.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to learn while taking on an academic challenge,” Sanchez said. “Honors by Contract will help me get the most out of my education; I will be able to take on regular courses at an Honors level.”

Honors by Contract involves students working closely with their professors and delving deeper into the subject matter, tackling it from different perspectives and engaging in unique assignments toward these ends.

All Honors Program students will attend one course together each semester. Honors I, in fall 2014, is a course in “Big History,” an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the universe and the individual’s place in it through the study of cosmology, Earth and life sciences, and human history.

Brownsville native 17-year-old Shangir Siddique, a May 2014 graduate of the UTB Mathematics and Science Academy, is among the accepted applicants.

“Big History will help me understand the world I live in and function better as a human,” said Siddique, who plans to attend medical school. “I believe that somebody who considers themselves intelligent should know how they came into existence.”

Honors II in spring 2015 will apply the knowledge and skills gained in Big History to the lower Rio Grande Valley with a particular emphasis on the human experience in terms of economic, social, political and cultural developments, and challenges on both sides of the international border.

Entering freshmen must be in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class and have a grade of 90 percent or higher in English, mathematics, science and social studies.

“Applicants are encouraged to apply even if their eligibility is approximate but does not meet the requirements,” Fisher said.

Although the program for the next year will be located in the College of Liberal Arts, students with majors in other colleges are welcome to join the program, Fisher said. The Honors Program will become university-wide in 2015 when The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley opens its doors.

“The plan ahead is to grow this program into an honors college within five years at the new UTRGV,” Fisher said. “Initially, and continuing into the future, this program will be a welcome challenge to gifted students interested in earning a more competitive diploma with an honors program designation.”

Detailed information is available online at Honors Program or contact Dr. David Fisher at 956-882-8836 or

For more information on registering for fall 2014, contact the Enrollment Center at 956-882-8295 or​​


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