Dean’s Corner

Messages from the Dean

July 17th, 2019

Greetings from the Honors College!folds-bennett

We are excited that all of you will be in Charleston in just a few short weeks and especially look forward to welcoming 268 new students to the Honors community. We wish you a safe journey back to campus.

I want to make you aware now as you plan your schedules that the mandatory Honors Plenary will occur on Monday, August 19th. A plenary, by definition, is a “meeting of the whole.” The word derives from the Latin root plenarius,” which means “full” or “absolute”.  Often at academic or professional conferences, the opening session is called a plenary session.

At the Honors Plenary, we celebrate the beginning of the new year. More importantly, I will provide all essential information about our plans for the year, about Honors policies and requirements, and about a range of opportunities and activities that have been designed with your interests and needs in mind.

Freshmen and Sophomores (i.e., 1st and 2nd year honors students) will attend from 4-5pm
Juniors and Seniors (i.e., 3rd, 4th, 5th year honors students) will attend from 5-6pm

Both sessions will take place in the Silcox Gym (Corner of George and Meeting; entrance off George Street). The sessions are tailored to the needs of Freshmen-Sophomores and Juniors-Seniors, accordingly. Therefore, you must attend the session designated for your class.

This is a mandatory event for all Honors Students to stay in good standing and retain priority registration status and access to opportunities set aside exclusively for honors students. Furthermore, we will expect all honors students to be fully aware of the information we provide in the sessions, information essential to your navigation through the honors requirements and opportunities.

Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before your assigned time so that you may sign in and find a seat. With nearly 500 students in each session, we will have a packed house! Each session will last no longer than an hour.

I look forward to seeing you on campus and to working with you throughout this upcoming academic year.

Dr. Folds-Bennett


TFBGreetings from the Dean’s Office!

Welcome back to campus after the break. I hope you had a restful holiday and spent quality time with family and friends. I was glad to catch up on a little sleep!

As always, life is busy in the Honors College.  We have several particularly important new initiatives and critical deadlines that I wanted to call to your attention.

Curriculum Review – The Honors College Faculty Committee will undergo a thorough review of the Honors Curricular Requirements this spring. We need input from YOU! Please join us this Thursday, January 22, 7-9pm in Berry 104 for a Student “Fishbowl.” With Zach Sturman and Ryan Spraker as facilitators, students will brainstorm ideas for the Honors Curriculum and faculty will eavesdrop – we promise not to intervene, just to listen!  Food will be served!

Berry Residence Hall – We have had a successful first year in Berry Hall and look forward to building on this success next year.

**For those of you currently in Berry Hall, I hope you will choose to live with us again next year. You may choose to live in your same room/suite (even if on 3rd floor). The deadline for “re-upping” is January 30th.

**If you have lived elsewhere this year, as an honors student, you will have priority placement in Berry if you would like to live there next year. Please email if you would like to switch to Berry so I can make sure that Residence Life knows you have priority. The deadline to sign up for on-campus housing is February 28th.

**Live in Berry this summer! Our community is now year-round. If you would like to stay in Charleston this summer to do research, complete an internship, or work, you can live in Berry. The rate is $28 per day (double) or $32 per day (single).  This rate is much cheaper (and much more convenient) than subletting on the peninsula. Plus, we’re going to have fun! Cookouts, movie nights, puzzle contests, trips to the beach, etc. are just a few of the activities we have planned.

**I encourage all of you to consider being an RA in Berry next year. We have several openings. There will be an information meeting today (Jan 20) at 4pm in Berry 103. The application deadline for RAs is Feb 6th. Go to Residence Life’s website for application instructions.

Entrepreneurship Living-Learning Cohort – We have a new entrepreneurship initiative in our community! Starting in the fall, a group of upperclassmen and first year students to live together in an entrepreneurship cohort. Everyone will take a new Honors Entrepreneurship class, will have access to “idea lab” space, and will receive mentors. We are looking for students from all majors – computer science, business, science, humanities, social sciences. We need coders, business planners and IDEAS for new products and services!  If you are interested, please email

Summer Institute –  This summer we are very excited to announce that we will offer two interdisciplinary courses. The first, in Summer I, will be Public Health Law, taught by Professor James Hodge, Sandra Day O’Conner School of Law (and Honors College grad). The second, in Summer II, will be co-taught by Honors Alums Dr. Stephanie Wheeler (professor of Public Health, UNC-Chapel Hill) and Dr. Melissa Siegel (professor of Migration Studies, U Maastricht, The Netherlands). The course will be entitled “Global Perspectives on Poverty, Inequality and Vulnerability.”  We will also offer 1-2 basic honors in Summer II, although we have not decided yet what they will be.

Summer Enrichment Grants – The Honors College offers Summer Enrichment Grants on a competitive basis to students who are seeking academically challenging summer programs that align with their long-term goals. The grants range from $500-1000. We will release the applications for these grants on February 9th so stay tuned.

Honors College Scholarships – The Honors College offers scholarships to go toward the cost of attendance on a competitive basis. The call for applications will go out on February 9th.  The scholarship amounts range from $500-$2500/yr.


Trisha Folds-Bennett, PhD
Dean of the Honors College


As the fall semester gets under way in earnest, we welcome 215 new honors students to our “family” and the return of nearly 500 honors upper-level students. Compared to the relative quiet of summer, I always love the energy and sense of renewal that the fall semester brings. As always, honors students are abuzz with stories about their summer research, internships, study abroad, public service, and coursework. I wish there were more hours in the day to devote to hearing about all they have accomplished in such a short period. This time of year is always a reminder of why I love being a part of the Honors community.

Our new class of students is remarkable. They have travelled all over the globe, have accumulated impressive academic credentials, have served communities both near and far, and have displayed a wide range of talents and interests. I’m grateful that they have chosen to make CofC Honors their home for the next four years and look forward to working with each of them to realize their full potential.

We begin fall 2014 with great anticipation about several new initiatives. First and foremost, we have a new home! After the untimely demise of Rutledge-Rivers in fall 2013, we were given the option of moving to a new residence hall. We chose the Joe E. Berry Residence Hall, and it is beginning to feel like home. Thanks to the support of offices across campus – Offices of the President, Student Affairs, Business Affairs, Academic Affairs, Academic Experience, Admissions, and Physical Plant – Berry was refurbished this summer. The residential floors have wonderful gathering spaces, including fully stocked kitchens and TV lounges with 55-inch flatscreens. The 1st floor has an open floor plan with many areas for teams of students to study together and work together on creative and entrepreneurial projects. We also have a classroom and faculty/staff offices on the 1st floor and, for the first time, a student-managed art gallery.

Besides our new digs, we have many other exciting changes:

  • We welcome Beth Meyer-Bernstein, Associate Professor of Biology, as our Associate Dean. Dr. Meyer-Bernstein will bring to the Honors College her experience directing the Neuroscience Program and as a Principle Investigator on several federal grants. She will direct the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities program for the entire campus and specifically for Honors will oversee internships and other high-impact programs, the Medical Humanities program, and assessment. She will also serve as an honors faculty advisor for a cohort of honors students. Dr. Bernstein has already become an important and integral part of our team!
  • We are pleased to announce the continued growth of our mentorship program with several mentoring and leadership programs in development, including Pre-Law, SPECTRA, Medical Humanities, Social Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship, and Equipping Leaders. Current students should stay tuned via the HUB for announcements about these programs and how they might apply to participate.
  • We have spent a good bit of time this summer revamping our honors advising program. I’m happy to report that all honors students will be assigned to a specific faculty advisor related to honors who will offer comprehensive, 4-year support and mentorship to supplement departmental advising.
  • We have reframed and expanded our community engagement program, formerly known as the Literacy Outreach Initiative. The new program—“Honors Engaged”—is designed to provide current students with the tools and connections to have a positive and lasting impact on the Charleston community. All of our freshmen participate in the program and many of our upper level students continue to participate through leadership roles and ongoing commitments to the organizations with whom we partner. Nothing is more energizing than to witness our students working alongside members of the broader community to ensure that the long-term goals of effective programs and projects are actualized.
  • One of the most gratifying aspects of my job in the Honors College is to witness the success of our students. This year, we had honors students who received Goldwater, Udall, Fulbright, Fulbright Summer Institute, JET, DAAD, and Rotary awards. Over 90% of the students in our 2014 graduating class had completed an internship, nearly 60% had studied abroad, and more than half had either presented at a professional conference or published their research. Thirty-eight of our 107 seniors applied to graduate or professional school, and 87% were admitted. These students are headed to Emory, University of Virginia, Wake Forest, Duke, Utah State, Virginia Commonwealth, and MUSC.  We continue to hear from alumni who are currently in graduate or professional school at Yale, Oxford, UNC-CH, WFU, Victoria, Duke, and Johns Hopkins. CofC is a great place to be, and it is an excellent launching pad to future success as well.
  • We look forward to the launch of the Comprehensive Fundraising Campaign this fall. To date, the Honors College has had considerable success in securing funds for new scholarship programs thanks to the generosity of alumni, parents, and friends – the Swansons, the Huges, the Culhanes, the Hays, the DeWolfs, the Howells, the Permenters, the Pinckneys, the Webbs, and the Boykins have helped us to establish scholarships that have contributed to the recruitment of highly talented students and to the support of academic excellence for current students. I’m deeply grateful to these wonderful partners in our efforts to engage our very motivated, bright, and creative students.


For those of you who are reading this overview and thinking that you would like to be a student in the Honors College, a supporter of our scholarship, leadership, and mentoring programs, or a community partner, please do not hesitate to contact us by sending an email to We would be happy to talk with you about joining the “Honors Family!”


Trisha Folds-Bennett

Dean of the Honors College


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