On August 15, Tech’s Honors Program bid farewell to Dr. Greg Nobles, its founding director, and welcomed its second director, Dr. Roberta Berry. Founded in 2004, the program is entering its ninth year.
Nobles had lead the program for eight years and taught in the School of History, Technology and Society since 1983. During his time at Tech, he has written four books and received various awards from prestigious academic groups. According to Nobles, he felt ready to transition to other endeavors and leave the Honors Program in what he believes to be capable hands.
“In deciding to step down, I felt that I had done most of what I wanted to do as founding director, and it was a good time to let someone else bring fresh energy and imagination to the position—which, again, I am confident Dr. Berry will do,” Nobles said. “I also wanted to have more time for my own research and writing and, above all, to finish a book I’ve been working on.”
Berry has worked and collaborated with Tech since 1999. During her time at Tech, she has taught in the School of Public Policy and contributed to a number of programs at Tech. For six years, she has directed Tech’s Pre-Law program and the Law, Science and Technology Program for more than 13 years.
She believes that Tech offers a variety of opportunities for students in terms of undergraduate studies, research and community involvement, and she hopes to promote them for students involved in the Honors Program.
Berry, who has worked as the Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy, wishes to introduce students to the various colleges at Tech and advocate involvement in different disciplines.
“One of my ideas is to develop a new foundational seminar for first-year students introducing them to some of the exciting learning and innovation underway in all six colleges,” Berry said. “The goal would be for students to expand their understanding and appreciation of our rich disciplinary diversity and to recognize and explore the interdisciplinary themes.”
Another idea for the Honors Program students involves establishing a set of curricular and co-curricular paths that allow students to accomplish organized projects and report the results during their senior year.
“These are ideas-in-progress,” Berry said. “My approach to directing the Honors Program is one of collaborative leadership, drawing on the ideas and creative energy of many contributors, including Honors Program students, alumni, faculty and professional staff, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and the leadership team within the Office of Undergraduate Education and other programs and administrative offices across campus.”
On August 24, Dr. Berry was able to further interact with the new 2014 class at an orientation where Honors Program students created various designs for banners, murals, furniture and T-shirts for the Honors Program community. The students were assisted by the Honors Program Associate Director Dr. Monica Halka and the Honors Program Academic Advisor Nicole Leonard in many of the projects.
“It was fun and rewarding to plan and execute the event together with an enthusiastic, energetic and creative team,” Berry said. “Honors Program students also brainstormed project ideas, helped produce materials and served as facilitators at the event.”
Nobles stated that Berry is fortunate for the support from faculty and students involved and that she is bound to lead the program to greater things.
“I am happy to observe that the Honors Program still boasts an excellent staff, fine faculty colleagues and yet another terrific group of new students,” Nobles said. “Dr. Berry is fortunate to have this opportunity before her. I’m certain she appreciates that and I’m sure she’ll keep the program on an excellent trajectory.”