The Honors Program supports recent nation-wide efforts to promote undergraduate research. Honors students at Kentucky State University have the opportunity to present papers at local, regional, and national honors conferences. The Kentucky Honors Roundtable (KHR) is composed of honors programs at all public universities in Kentucky; the Southern Regional Honors Council (SRHC) is composed of honors programs throughout the Southeast; the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) is the largest honors organization in the country, composed of honors programs throughout the United States.
At these conferences students in the KSU Honors Program meet honors students and faculty from other institutions at the local, regional, and national level. The conferences include social, entertainment, and academic activities. The academic side of the KHR and the SRHC conferences is almost exclusively devoted to sessions in which honors students present papers or participate in panels. All sessions provide time for questions and exchange of ideas. Honors students thus gain invaluable experience in public speaking, debate, and civil discussion. They broaden their horizons by meeting honors students and faculty from other institutions and backgrounds.
Papers presented at recent conferences ranged from the philosophical “Jeopardizing Life for the Survival of Justice” to such scientific topics as “The Effects of Tobacco Protein on the Fungus Nosema.” Examples of panels included “Music, Mortgages, Modern Agriculture, and Medical Research: Ethical Dilemmas,” which explored issues in professional ethics and “Patriots, Loyalists, and Revolution in New York City, 1775-76: A Reacting to the Past Game,” which used the debates over independence in New York at the beginning of the Revolutionary war as an example of the increasingly popular pedagogy of historical role-playing (called Reacting to the Past).
Overall, the experience of attending honors conferences is an integral component of the “honors experience”—the kind of education that stretches the mind, puts a premium on commitment to inquiry, emphasizes the virtues of attentiveness, intelligence, and reasonableness in dealing with novel situations, and fosters collaborative learning.