In June 1997, the Board of Higher Education established Commonwealth College, a free-standing honors college of distinction at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In addition, the Board of Higher Education approved the development of an integrated network of Commonwealth Honors Programs throughout the public higher education system under the leadership of Commonwealth College.
STCC started its honors program in 1990 with several seminars: Arts in Action in the Humanities, American Biographies (in the Social Sciences) and Library Research Methods (A Humanities elective). Only The Library Research Methods Colloquium was required. Over time, other seminars have been developed including Idea to Market, Afflictions and Maladies, Seeing Beyond Seeing and the Science of Sex & Sexuality. A variety of other seminars are available and are offered on a rotating basis each semester.
For a variety of reasons, and to support student schedules and needs, add-on components are also available. These are commonly (but not limited to) professional programs, such as nursing and dental assisting, and many regular classes have approved add-on components available. Students can also collaborate with faculty to create unique honors add-on components for courses that do not have an honors section. This process offers students the chance to design an additional 20% load with the agreement of their faculty member. Students then submit the contract to the honors program committee for approval by the end of the second week of the term.
In some situations, students and faculty have collaborated on creating an independent study for the student. Again, that requires the student to submit a contract completed by both student and faculty member to the honors program committee.
Over the years, scores of students have earned the 15 credit honors certificate, and even more have earned nine credits of honors recognition. Students who take honors classes, either as symposia or as add-on will find the letter 'h' next to honors course names on their transcripts.
The purpose of the Honors Program at Springfield Technical Community College is to take a leading role in achieving the mission and goals of the whole college. The program strives to meet the needs of academically motivated students by providing resources and options that allow each individual to reach her/his potential in the curriculum of her/his choice.
The Honors Program at Springfield Technical Community College is directly accountable to the Chief Academic Officer of the institution. The Honors Coordinator works closely with an advisory group, The Honors Advisory Board. The Honors Advisory Board is composed of faculty, staff, administrators and student representative(s), and is charged with reviewing new courses proposals, approving independent study applications, reviewing the program requirements, and assisting in the recruitment of faculty and students to the program.
The STCC Honors Program carries institutional membership in the National Collegiate Honors Council, and the Northeast Regional Honors Council and students are encouraged to apply for opportunities to present at regional and national conferences.