New College Brings Undergraduate Honors Programs under One Roof

Dr. Ted Harpam

Dr. Ted Harpham, an associate provost and professor of political science, will be the dean of the Honors College.

The UT System’s Board of Regents has approved the creation of an Honors College at UT Dallas to better coordinate, initiate and promote programs that advance excellence in undergraduate education.

The new college will build on the foundations of the University’s existing honors programs, and will raise their status and structure, said Dr. Ted Harpham, an associate provost and professor of political science who has been appointed dean of the Honors College.  

“Over the last decade, we’ve had a number of high-end programs for the brightest students coming to UT Dallas. This lets people see we take honors education very seriously,” Harpham said. “The Honors College will give our programs more coherence and enable us to establish our priorities in a more coordinated way.”

Dr. Douglas Dow, a clinical professor of government and politics who has been associate director of the Collegium V Honors Program, will be associate dean. Dow has been heavily involved in recruiting and advising students who apply for nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships as head of the Office of Distinguished Scholarships.

Valerie Brunell, honors program coordinator for Collegium V, will be assistant dean. Brunell has handled a variety of tasks for honors programs that range from program development to reviewing applications, scheduling honors classes, advising students and managing enrichment program and event logistics.


Valerie Brunell, honors program coordinator for Collegium V, will be assistant dean of the Honors College.

The new Honors College will house a number of programs under one roof.

Three honors programs provide a four-year cohort experience for incoming freshman participants:

  • The Collegium V Honors Program provides seminar instruction, personal mentoring and an enhanced academic environment for select students who maintain a 3.5 GPA and complete a senior thesis.
  • The National Merit Scholars Program provides personal mentoring and networking along with a generous financial scholarship for National Merit Finalists. National Merit Scholars are also eligible for membership in the Collegium V Honors Program.
  • The Terry Scholars Program provides students awarded the Terry Foundation Scholarships with intellectual, social, cultural and financial support to help prepare them for future leadership roles.

Faculty in the Honors College also work closely with the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program, whose scholars also participate in honors activities.

Five programs housed in the Honors College enrich the academic experience of students currently enrolled at UT Dallas.

  • The Office of Distinguished Scholarships provides information, guidance and mentoring to students who apply for nationally competitive scholarship and fellowship programs. UT Dallas students have received the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, Fulbright Scholars Grants, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the Critical Language Scholarship, the National Science Foundation Graduate Grant, the Phi Kappa Phi National Fellowship and the Boren Scholarship.
  • The Bill Archer Fellowship Program for Undergraduates combines classroom instruction with an internship experience in Washington, D.C., for an intensive semester of political and policy education.
  • The Phi Kappa Phi chapter is the local unit of the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines.  
  • The UT Dallas Model United Nations Team participates in national tournaments each year that simulate United Nations diplomacy. Team members have won collective and individual awards.
  • The Texas Legislative Internship Program provides internship opportunities for undergraduates during the regular legislative session in Austin.

Two other academic programs have close relationships with the Honors College. The Computer Science Honors Cohort Program targets accelerated undergraduates, and the Green Fellowship program supports students who seek research positions at UT Southwestern Medical School during their junior year.

The Honors College also sponsors: cultural outings that enable students and faculty to hear lectures, dine together and attend events in the Dallas Arts District; a round-table series that offers a forum for intellectual inquiry and discussion; and honors workshops that provide practical help with résumé preparation, interview skills, professional etiquette and visits with alumni.

Harpham, who started working with the Collegium V program in 1998, said having an Honors College will show prospective students the high priority that UT Dallas places on nurturing academic excellence. 

“UT Dallas has grown in so many ways, and we continue to draw top students. The Honors College will help us to promote, stimulate and reinforce excellence throughout the University,” he said.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].