Manchester University
Oak Leaves

February 16, 2018


Dr. McKenna-Buchanan hopes to see the Honors Program retain members and introduce the Honors Leadership Council in his new position as director of the Honors Program. 

McKenna-Buchanan Named Director of Honors Program

Evan Harris

The new director of the Manchester University Honors Program is ready to make waves as he plans to take the program by storm.

In late December, Dr. Timothy McKenna-Buchanan, assistant professor of communication studies, was chosen as the new director of the program. According to Dr. Janina Traxler, French professor and former Honors Program director, the program was established in October 1986, as she said, "to allow students to pursue topics in greater depth than the current curriculum.”

McKenna-Buchanan will require many calendars to keep up with his busy schedule. “I am responsible for advising students within the program and ensure they graduate with honors,” he said. “I also ensure that students take at least 15 hours of honors-converted classes, maintain a 3.5 G.P.A., and compose an Honors Thesis, which is for juniors and seniors. They are allowed to research any topic, as long as it is approved by the committee.” To be considered for entry into the program, students must write a 500-word response to a question and have a faculty member complete a recommendation form. "Applications are available every spring and fall, so students can join any time,” McKenna-Buchanan added.

The new director believes the Honors Program helps students prepare for life after graduation. “We want to create a community of people that will be willing to help others, in and out of the classroom and into the real world,” McKenna-Buchanan said. “We also want to create a community of leaders and build better relations between professors and students.”

He also noted that the program has increased in convenience. “We have classes pre-arranged, meaning students do not have to go through the conversion process,” he said. “We really want to begin showcasing when students can apply and join the program. One convenience is early course registration (students can register earlier than usual).”

"We hope to create a Student Leadership Council, in which a group of students work on developing leadership skills, as well as find ways to become more involved with other students on campus," McKenna-Buchanan continued. "The program would like to work with 7th graders at Manchester Jr. High through a collaboration with CollegeGo Program and the Wabash County Community Foundation to allow those students to get a preview of college life.”

Why did McKenna-Buchanan want to take on the directorship of the program? “I really wanted to be in an administrative leader position that involved working with students on campus,” he said cheerfully. “I want to encourage students who are already in the Honors Program to stay in the program, and to also challenge themselves beyond the current curriculum.”

McKenna-Buchanan is challenging himself, too. “Hopefully, I can accomplish making the program easy to access for all interested students,” he said. “I also want students to know the program’s expectations for each individual. I think the major change would include the addition of the Leadership Council in the future and holding social events for honors students to get to know one another. I want to maintain the honors first-year seminar classes and ‘Lead Out Loud,’ which is focused on students developing and improving leadership skills.”

McKenna-Buchanan’s outlook on his future in the program is bright. “I want to see the program retain students,” he said enthusiastically. “It is sad that a lot of first-year students who enter the program do not tend to finish, and do not graduate with honors. We hope to possibly establish different options for honors students who took the required number of classes, but did not write the thesis.”