Yavneh becomes first full-time director for Honors Program
Published: Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Updated: Thursday, October 27, 2011 10:10
With multiple renovations occurring on campus, it is time for even the Honors Program to get a makeover. Loyola's first full-time Honors director, Naomi Yavneh, began her work Aug. 1 in full force to revamp the program. Her first decree was to designate the official Honors Program candy —Smarties.
Yavneh said she anticipates exciting transformations and more attention to the program.
The New York native has a global resume that includes a bachelor's degree in comparative literature from Princeton University, a master's in the same subject from the University of California, Berkeley and a Fulbright scholarship to research at the Vatican. She also speaks Italian and French, and studied Ancient Greek, Latin and Hebrew.
Before starting at Loyola, she worked as associate dean of the University of South Florida's Honors College. Unlike her previous position, Loyola's program allows her to be more hands-on to expand the program and provide the attention it deserves, Yavneh said.
"Because there are 168 Honors students, I have the potential, not in a creepy way, to touch every student in the program and make a connection with them," Yavneh said.
Garrett Fontenot, history senior and Honors student said he thinks it's exciting to have one director for the program.
"The program has had two sets of co-directors in the three years I have been at Loyola, and all of those also held other positions in the university," he said.
Yavneh said she plans to work closer with the student-led University Honors Association to provide a stronger sense of community, not just in the classroom but also socially.
"Dr. Yavneh has made it a point to reach out to students at various events and really integrate herself into the program early in her time at Loyola," Fontenot said.
Yavneh said one of her goals is to make the Honors program one of the top in the country and a program "that people want to come to because we embrace Ignatian values and the idea of the whole person."
With plans for collaborative student-faculty research, Honors-specific community outreach, service learning and study abroad opportunities, Yavneh said she wants to focus on nurturing the student as a whole person.
She also said she hopes to encourage students to apply for national scholarships, such as the Fulbright scholarship she received. Just as her scholarship allowed her to research at the Vatican, Yavneh plans to expand Loyola's undergraduate research through Honors to eventually span university-wide. This would provide students the opportunity for collaborative research with a faculty member within their field of study.
Mary-Michael Lindsay can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org