The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

COLUMN: `Breakfasts’ program should be open to all students

Plenty of good reasons exist for an honors student program to be around. It helps universities attract the students who get good grades.

As one of those students who got good grades in high school, a small part of the reason I chose UW-Eau Claire over the others was the various perks offered through its honors program.

Many students who are not in the honors program here are just as smart or smarter than I am. Some very intelligent people just don’t fare well in our grade-based educational system and we’ve all heard the saying that “grades don’t matter.”

So for whatever reason, there are many students who don’t have the opportunity to be in the honors program. And this fact eats away at my conscience whenever I take advantage of a really great opportunity that’s only offered to honors students.

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Honors electives, which are special honors sections of regular departmental courses, don’t bother me as much because at least all students have the chance to take the class.

But honors colloquia, which are interdisciplinary courses designed for honors students, often are on very interesting topics that I wish non-honors students could take.

I realize the university’s budget is tight, and I don’t think funds or resources are available to offer courses like this to all students. So I’ll just have to keep feeling bad about how much I enjoy colloquia.

However, I think “Breakfasts with Professors” is one opportunity offered only to honors students that could be provided for all students.

Each week, a group of 20 honors students can sit down to a continental breakfast of doughnuts, muffins, bagels, croissants, milk, juice and coffee and discuss a pre-established topic with faculty, staff or administrators.

Topics of these breakfasts include: “Creationism” with a biology professor; “Women’s Studies: Politics or scholarship?,” with a Women’s Studies professor; “Trends in global marketing: Impact of e-commerce,” with a management and marketing professor; “Global health: The gap between the rich and the poor,” with a family health nursing professor; and “An introduction of UW-Eau Claire’s new dean,” with the dean of arts and sciences.

An incredible amount of learning can occur in these breakfasts. It’s an opportunity for students to find out about a department they’ll never take a course from, or learn about a topic that isn’t covered in class or is too current to read about in textbooks.

It also can be a professor’s chance to practice presenting a research project in front of a group of questioning students.

The hour-long breakfasts begin at 7 a.m., so only the most interested honors students sign up. The rest remain in bed.

The breakfasts are provided by donations through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

There is no reason this type of program couldn’t be opened up to all students. I think many honors students would agree with me that we don’t need to hog these learning opportunities.

After all, how many students will really bother to get up before 7 a.m. on a school day, regardless of when their first class begins? My guess is maybe 40 or 50 students will really want to get up that early to learn about any topic.

There must be some individuals or businesses that would want to donate a little money so all students could have the chance to share a cup of coffee with the featured faculty, staff or administrator.

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COLUMN: `Breakfasts’ program should be open to all students