The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Chatham University honors program undergoes changes

Emily Brooks
The Rea House house of Chatham’s Shadyside campus, home to the Chatham honors program.

Chatham University’s honors program is finding its footing as it navigates some changes, including updated requirements and a new director for the program. 

The requirements from prior years are maintaining a 3.6 GPA, completing three honors-level courses and volunteering for 15 hours per academic year. Recently, there’s been the addition of the new Traditions of Excellence pilot program and discussions regarding the future of scholarships affiliated with the honors program. 

Dr. Alexandra Reznik, assistant professor of humanities and the Women & Gender Studies program coordinator, is now the director of the Chatham honors program (CHP). She implemented the inaugural CHP Reads, which requires students to read a novel prior to the start of classes as part of the Traditions of Excellence program. Students discussed the text during orientation. 

After that, though, some students said they felt there was a lack of communication regarding CHP. Honors student Victoria Streeton ‘27 said there was a period of time when she said she heard nothing regarding ways to participate after her orientation. 

“I like being in the honors program… I just wish I was more involved in it, and I don’t know how to get more involved in it because it’s in the hands of professors right now,” Streeton said. 

In October, there was a series of updates shared via email with honors students explaining some of the changes in the program, as well as upcoming course requirements under the direction of Dr. Reznik. Students also were informed about a new event slated for November. 

Morgan Rapsky, president of the class of 2026 and chair of the Honors Living Learning Community, expressed her concerns about the stress that is placed on students’ academic wellbeing. 

“I really hope that people in the honors program really understand that everyone’s life is already academics, and we need to be providing opportunities for honors students that support their mental health and support them forming a community with one another and support overall wellness, not just doing good at school,” she said. 

Dr. Reznik stated she is developing a list of requirements for academic, community service, leadership and research expectations and will communicate these expectations when they’re ready. 

Dr. Reznik also explained she is aiming to provide meaningful programming before the fall 2023 term ends, as well as finalizing decisions regarding requirements for honors students. 

“My biggest concern is the lack of communication and consideration for the thoughts and opinions of students who are already in the program. It appears that there are shifting standards moving forward, so upperclassmen are being held to standards that are different from those when we initially came in for the project,” Rapsky said. “I don’t think it is at all ethical to be changing the standards after you already committed to this university on the promise of the scholarship money.” 

Though there will be changes for incoming students in the following year, those who are currently receiving honors program scholarship money will continue to receive those funds. 

During an email interview, Dr. Reznik clarified that the current students who have the $1,000 per year scholarship will continue to receive that money if they maintain a 3.6 GPA, as well as fulfill other honors program requirements. 

The class of 2027 is the last of the honors program to be receiving scholarship money on the premise of being involved with the program. After that, all incoming students and transfer students will not be provided funding for scholarships through CHP. 

Dr. Reznik explained that the funds were not lost but that it was a deliberate decision made to create more equity in student enrollment. The funds were said to limit the number of students who could participate in the program in prior years, so to be more equitable, the funding will be reserved for initiatives that benefit all students eligible to be in the program. 

Information about the honors program can be found on under “Services & Departments” and “Honors Program.” Additionally, students are encouraged to reach out with any concerns or questions to [email protected]. Dr. Reznik said she aims to take student feedback into consideration so she can continue to clarify and refine information about CHP that will lead to more stability in the future.

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About the Contributors
Sarah Naccarato
Sarah Naccarato, Digital Editor
Sarah Naccarato ‘27 is a communications major with a concentration in journalism. A Pittsburgh suburb native, Sarah accidentally discovered Chatham on a school trip and has since been finding more people with similar and equally weird interests. Sarah enjoys writing a little bit about everything. Outside of the Communiqué, she enjoys nature, reading, driving with music and the windows down, making weird art and watching a little too many movies. For inquiries, Sarah can be best reach via email @[email protected] or on Instagram @sarah.n.17.
Emily Brooks
Emily Brooks, Layout Editor
Emily Brooks ’27 is a Media Arts major with a concentration in Graphic Design. Emily is from Washington, Pennsylvania. She chose Chatham University for the small campus and experience of living in a city. Emily specializes in visuals and graphics for the Communiqué. Outside of the Communiqué, she enjoys creating art, live concerts, thrifting and frequenting coffee shops. Emily can be reached best at [email protected] or via Instagram @emnbrooks.

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    Emily BroooksNov 14, 2023 at 12:15 pm

    this story is kewl