Task Force May be Assembled to Evaluate Future of CSOM Honors

thomas wesner

The Carroll School of Management is considering planning its own task force to evaluate the future of CSOM Honors, according to Ethan Sullivan, an assistant dean in CSOM and director of the CSOM Honors Program.

“We haven’t yet started a task force, but I think there’s a plan to have a task force that will take a deeper dive into the purpose of the Honors Program, and to see what happens,” Sullivan said.

Last month, Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences announced that it would be ending its Honors Program with the Class of 2021. The Lynch School of Education said last month that a task force is looking into the future of its Honors Program, although no decision is expected before Spring 2018.

CSOM Honors was founded in 1958, the same year as MCAS Honors, with similar goals of attracting more qualified applicants to BC, as well as improving their academic experience.

Sullivan noted BC’s average SAT score has increased from about 900 in that era to almost 1,400 today, but a more important change is the decline in academic disparity between students, the same reasoning outlined by Dean of MCAS Rev. Greg Kalscheur, S.J., in his letter announcing the phasing out of the MCAS Honors Program.

“That’s really what spurred the Carroll Honors Program … there was a huge variance,” he said. “And I think those top students said, we want more. And those bottom students were people who wouldn’t get into Boston College now.”

“So there was a great case to be made for honors-types of experiences for those students,” he added.

This gap has narrowed. Over time, Sullivan said he has seen BC students become more competitive. He estimated that 90 percent of current CSOM students would have qualified for the Honors Program a few decades ago.

“I do see that rationale that was written up in the Arts and Sciences letter as having truth to it, that over time the students have gotten quite a bit better,” he said.

In its current inception, CSOM Honors students have the opportunity to take honors sections of CSOM core classes, and are required to do an honors thesis. Admission to the Honors Program is offered to both early action and regular applicants, and the freshman class usually averages around 30 or 40 students.

Beyond academics, one of the benefits of the program Sullivan cited was the spirit of camaraderie it cultivates among class years, including First Serve, a community service program CSOM Honors does at the beginning of every year.

“The Honors Program starts with First Serve, so there’s some team building that’s especially helpful for first-year students to have a sense of community right from the start, to make Boston College feel smaller,” he said.