Two Honors Orientation Mentors smiling in front of Orientation participants

The Honors College Orientation is held twice a year: prior to move-in for students joining the Honors College for the fall term and again in the first week of the spring term for new Honors students for the spring. Honors Orientation is a mandatory program designed to introduce incoming students to the foundations of undergraduate honors education, and provides opportunities to:

Orientation for Honors students admitted for the fall will be held on the Wednesday and Thursday prior to the start of the fall term. This year the program will take place on the evening of August 19 and all day August 20. A more detailed schedule will be available in advance of the program. Spring Orientation for students admitted for the spring term is typically held during the first week of classes.

Honors Orientation is separate from campus-wide New Student Orientation overseen by the office of New Student and Family Programs. That orientation is mandatory for all students and incurs a fee. Contact New Student and Family Programs with any questions regarding New Student Orientation.

Fall 2020 Orientation

Fall Honors Orientation is required for incoming freshmen and students transferring from other institutions. There is no cost to attend. Enrolled incoming students are required to register online to confirm their attendance at Honors Orientation. Registration is available via the link above.

  • Honors Orientation will follow all state, USM, and Return to TU Taskforce guidelines. This means students will be required to wear masks or face coverings for any in person portions of the event and social distancing guidelines will be followed. For more information on these guidelines, please visit the Return to TU website
  • Incoming Honors students who elect to live on-campus will be notified of their move-in date and provided details by the Housing and Residence Life Office. Anyone who is not an incoming Honors student - including continuing Honors students and other incoming students living in Douglass House but not admitted to the Honors College - will have separate move-in dates and times. All students must follow their move-in timeline provided by the Department of Housing & Residence Life.


A common read is a required part of the Honors Orientation experience in August. This program provides an opportunity for Honors students to explore issues that contribute to broad intellectual development while fostering intellectual ties between Honors students, faculty and staff.

The 2020 Honors College Read is Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream by Joshua Davis. Students are responsible for securing their own copy of the book. Copies are available for purchase from several online retailers such as Amazon and ebay, at many independently-owned retailers, and from your local library.

SPARE PARTS is one of those rare stories that grabs hold and doesn't let go. It's hilarious, sad, and beautifully told. It will make you think hard about what it means to be American and where we will find the next generation of talent. ”

Chris Anderson, author of THE LONG TAIL

The goals of the Honors College Read are:

  • Provide incoming students a chance to connect with other students
  • Provide incoming students simulated classroom discussion experience led by faculty
  • Provide students with a learning opportunity that relates to the academic expectations of the Honors College
  • Create an opportunity for critical thinking and ethical engagement
Honors Read Questions

Discussion questions for the Honors Read will guide your conversation about the book at Honors College Orientation. Incoming students will prepare a written, typed response to some, if not all, of these questions. Some questions may only require a sentence or two while others may need a longer response. Responses will be collected via Blackboard.

  1. What did you learn about the research process?
  2. What do you think the goals of research are?
  3. What were the most significant hurdles that the students overcame in the research process? Why? Were there different hurdles for different students? Why?
  4. What do you think were the most important factors that led to the students' success? Why? What were their most significant failures, and why?
  5. Explain how this book impacted (or did not impact) your perspective on America's immigration controversy and its policies.
  6. Should students, faculty, and staff work to become better allies to those negatively impacted by the U.S. immigration policies and to individuals and groups that are xenophobic, discriminatory, and racist? If so, what does that work look like? If not, how should we seek to gaurantee the human rights of those who face discrimination due to their citizenship status, racial, ethnic, gender or other identity?
  7. In an interview, Dr. Allen Cameron said "The hardest obstacle they have is low and wrong expectations." What does he mean by that statement? How does it apply to these students? How does it apply to Carl Hayden High School? Does it apply to you, and if so, how?
  8. How do we develop more empathy to those that are different from us, and to those that are the least, lost, and last members of society? How do we teach empathy to others?
  9. One of the Carl Hayden High School teachers said in an interview that: "It is not about the robots. It's about the people." What do you think he means by this observation?
  10. How does this book, this story, impact your thoughts on what it takes to succeed in research? Do you plan to undertake undergraduate research? Why or why not? If so, what do you think that you most need to successfully undertake research (you may choose more than one thing)?

Spring 2021 Orientation

Spring Honors Orientation is required for incoming freshmen and students transferring from other institutions who join TU or the Honors College for spring 2021. There is no cost to attend. Enrolled incoming students are required to register online to confirm their attendance at Honors Orientation. Details on Spring 2021 Orientation will be communicated to admitted students in their decision letter in January 2021.

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