Director of Honors Search
Two finalists to complete on-campus interviews.
Two finalists for the position of Director of Honors will complete on-campus visits on October 31 and November 1 following an internal search.
The Director of Honors provides vision and leadership, and advocates for excellence in education for all Honors students at UND. The Director coordinates the program; collaborates with academic units in the development and ongoing creation of Honors courses and Honors sections of courses; works closely with faculty, staff, and advisors to inspire innovative thesis projects and campus-wide understanding of the program; and communicates the value of the Honors Program to prospective students. Working collaboratively, the Director will develop strategic initiatives and promote innovation within Honors Program admissions and curriculum while ensuring its academic quality and integrity.
Tuesday, October 31
Merie Kirby is a Teaching Associate Professor with the Honors Program at the University of North Dakota, and affiliated faculty with the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Since joining the Honors Program faculty in 2012, she has developed and taught a wide range of multidisciplinary classes, advised students, supervised Senior Honors Projects, and led student editors in creating an Honors undergraduate journal. Kirby grew up in California and attended the University of California, Santa Barbara’s College of Creative Studies for her B.A. in Literature. She earned her terminal degree, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Poetry), from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is the author of The Dog Runs On (2014) and The Thumbelina Poems (2015). She has twice received the North Dakota Council on the Arts Individual Artist Grant. Her poems have been published in several literary journals and she has collaborated with composers on both operas and art songs. Kirby also taught at the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN) and worked in the private sector as both a Technical Writer/Editor and Marketing Communications Manager for the North American subsidiary of a German photoelectric sensor engineering company. She is a past president of the North Star Quilters Guild and current president of the Greater Grand Forks PFLAG chapter.
Wednesday, November 1
Dr. David Cason has served as an educator for over thirty years. Growing up in Georgia, he found an early interest in the history of the state and its entanglement with issues of race. He spent 19 years as a high school history, gifted, and Advanced Placement teacher. After earning his Ph.D. from Georgia State University, he transitioned to school leadership as department chair of the Social Studies Department. In this role, he supervised a team of 12 faculty, and developed both curriculum and school improvement strategic plans. He then moved on to LaGrange College, where he taught courses in teacher education, teacher leadership, and general studies. In that position he served as the inaugural director of the teacher leadership graduate program, where he developed the curriculum and lead recruitment efforts.
Later, as faculty at Georgia Gwinnett College, he taught courses in education and history. He served as director of the history/social studies teacher education program. For the last five years he has been a faculty member in the UND Honors program holding the rank of Associate Teaching Professor.
Using his strong interdisciplinary background, he developed Honors courses that delt with important topics such as leadership, Civil Rights, Social Justice, and understanding conspiracy theories. His approach is to challenge students to dig deep into the history and the literature of each of these topics. Dr. Cason recently published his first book, The Life and Music of Graham Jackson, through the University Press of Florida. This is a biography of an African American musician in the midst of the Jim Crow south struggling to succeed as a second-class citizen. His second book, a biography of Georgia Governor Lester Maddox, is currently under peer-review with the University of Georgia Press.
Dr. Cason earned a BA in history from LaGrange College. He then earned both an MS. Ed. And Ed.S. in History Education from Troy University. He looks forward to taking the UND Honors program to the next level.
Position Description & Expectations
The Honors Program serves motivated, accomplished students by nurturing creativity, critical thinking, and scholarship beyond the usual academic frameworks. Through classes, co-curricular activities, service projects and advisement, the Honors Program creates a learning community that emphasizes intellectual exploration.
- The mission of the Honors Program is to gather engaged faculty and students from across campus, creating a holistic, multidisciplinary, student-centered educational experience that prepares the next generation of citizen-scholars from today's exceptional students.
- The Honors Program will cultivate the next generation of justice-oriented, critical, curious, and creative thinkers and leaders with the knowledge, skills, abilities, and commitment to have a positive impact on the world around them.
- The UND Honors Program intentionally infuses the values of diversity, inclusion, and social equity into its curriculum, programming, and faculty/staff training. Faculty and staff in the Honors Program promote mutual respect and attentiveness to our common human dignity while also highlighting the educative importance of recognizing differences in identities, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and ways of learning and knowing.
- The Director of Honors provides vision and leadership, and advocates for excellence in education for all Honors students at UND.
- The Director coordinates the program; collaborates with academic units in the development and ongoing creation of Honors courses and Honors sections of courses; works closely with faculty, staff, and advisors to inspire innovative thesis projects and campus-wide understanding of the program; and communicates the value of the Honors Program to prospective students. Working collaboratively, the Director will develop strategic initiatives and promote innovation within Honors Program admissions and curriculum while ensuring its academic quality and integrity.
This position is a 12-month appointment and will include 60% administrative duties as director of the Honors Program. In addition to the administrative work associated with this position, the chosen candidate will be expected to teach either within the Honors Program (40%) or the remaining 40% effort will be allocated by your department/college as outlined on Page 2 of your contract.
In performing the duties of Director of Honors, this individual will report to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies & Student Success and will work closely with the University Senate Honors Committee, the Honors Program Student Organization, Honors Program students, academic units, faculty, and other stakeholders.
Vision, Leadership, and Advocacy
- Be strategic, intentional, and innovative in enhancing the reputation and impact and visibility of the Honors Program at UND.
- Ensure that the UND Honors Program is strategically aligned with the UND LEADS strategic plan.
- Provide vision and leadership for the program, particularly in communicating with students, faculty, staff, and administration the importance of the program, its objectives, and its requirements.
- Manage budget, operations, and staffing to ensure high quality and efficient programming.
- Provide high impact practices/experiential opportunities to ensure equity and inclusive practices in Honors courses.
- Serve as ex-officio member on the University Senate Honors Committees.
Honors Curriculum and Faculty Engagement
- Develop ongoing faculty-driven programming.
- Coordinate senior projects with students and faculty members.
- Assist Senate Honors Committee to recruit and engage UND faculty to offer a wide variety of Honors courses and course sections.
- Develop policies and processes for Honors volunteering, internships, and other experiential learning opportunities.
- Serve as instructor of record for various Honors courses as needed (e.g., HON 489, 260, 399)
- Work with the Director of Institutional Effectiveness & Accreditation to develop, manage, and conduct assessment activities for the program, including its effectiveness in promoting student learning outcomes as well as student retention and completion.
Retention, Recruitment, and Student Success
- Educate advisors and faculty about Honors curriculum.
- Monitor enrollment in the Honors Program and schedule courses appropriately.
- Collaborate with admissions on prospective student visits, open houses, and Honors Day events.
- Work to grow enrollment and engagement with the Honors Program.
- Ensure that honors students have access to support structures to help them be successful in the program.
- Shaina Mattingly, Chemistry; Committee Chair
- Heather Terrell, Psychology; A&S Representative
- Brian Urlacher, Political Science; BPA Representative
- Wayne Seames, Chemical Engineering; CEM Representative
- Stephanie Christian, Nursing; CNPD Representative
- Christopher H. Clark, Social Studies Education; EHD Representative
- Sean Hammond, Earth System Science & Policy; JDO Representative
- Jake Vivier; Academic Core Advisor
- Nichole Dumlao, Honors student, Nursing major; Undergraduate Student Representative
- Augustas Senuta, Honors student, Commercial Aviation major; Undergraduate Student Representative