Find out why Wright State is combining graduate, honors college

Wright State University will combine its graduate school and honors program into a single College of Graduate Programs and Honors beginning in January.

Wright State provost Amy Thompson said the combination will mean Wright State undergraduate students in the honors program will have more access to mentoring and research. Graduate students will also benefit, Thompson said, as a position will be added to help the dean of the college with curriculum and programming specifically for the graduate programs.

Thompson said the combined college can also create a pathway from undergraduate studies at Wright State to graduate school. It should not cost the university extra money to execute, she said.

“We’re able to recruit better, we’re able to communicate with current students and pipeline them into graduate programs,” Thompson said. “We’re still able to dedicate services to two distinct student groups.”

Thompson said during her presentation that honors program enrollment has fallen by 24% since fall 2015 and graduate school enrollment fell by 36% since fall 2015. Wright State has seen a significant decline in student population, with overall enrollment falling 42% between fall 2016 and fall 2022 at its main campus, according to Ohio Department of Higher Education numbers.

Shu Schiller, interim dean of the Graduate School, will be overseeing the new college, especially as the honors program head is planning to retire.

Student trustees Chris Jenkins and Rahul Shah both said they were excited about the new college.

Jenkins said he’d discussed the idea with honors and graduate students he knew, and all were excited about the idea. He said some students told him they were questioning why they were still in the honors program, and the new college was an incentive for them to stay.

“As an honors student that’s planning to go into my Ph.D. program at Wright State, I really like this idea,” Shah said.

Trustees also applauded the idea, saying it would help bring students into the honors college and keep them at Wright State.

“Very well thought out, very inclusive in terms of all the various stakeholders that are involved you brought into this. It’s very student centric, particularly for the honors students, and so well done,” said trustee Dawn Conway.

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