Two Honors Orientation Mentors smiling in front of Orientation participants

The Honors College Orientation is held twice a year: the week prior to the start of the classes for students joining the Honors College in the fall term and again in the first week of the spring term for Honors students joining in the spring. Honors Orientation is a mandatory, free 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 is generally held on the Wednesday and Thursday prior to the start of the fall term. Both days are required for successful completion of the program. The fall 2022 Honors Orientation took place on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 24 and the morning and afternoon of Thursday, August 25.

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

Fall 2022 Orientation

Fall 2022 Honors Orientation took place on August 24-25, for incoming freshmen, students transferring from other institutions, and continuing TU students joining for the fall term. There is no cost to attend Honors Orientation. Incoming Honors students received information about Honors Orientation sent to their TU email addresses.

  • Honors Orientation follows all state, USM, and TU health and safety policies. For more information visit COVID Response & Planning.
  • Incoming Honors students who elected to live on-campus moved in to their on-campus housing in advance of Honors Orientation on August 24. Scheduling of move-in times is organized through the Housing & Residence Life office, which can also answer any other housing-related questions you may have.

Honors College Common Read

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.

This year the faculty and staff of the Honors College selected What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City as the 2022 common read. Written by pediatrician and scientist Mona Hanna-Attisha, who was TU's 2022 University Commencement speaker, What the Eyes Don't See was named a New York Times Notable Book in 2018, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2018, and the One Maryland One Book selection in 2019.

“ Told with passion and intelligence, WHAT THE EYES DON'T SEE is an essential text for understanding the full scope of injustice in Flint and the importance of fighting for what's right ”

Booklist (starred review)

What the Eyes Don't See provokes questions spanning several areas of inquiry, from epidemiology to economics, political science to public health, environmental engineering to environmental justice. The following questions will guide discussion of the book at the Honors College Orientation. Please prepare typed responses to at least 10 of these questions. Some questions may only require a sentence or two while others may need a longer response. Responses will be collected, so be prepared to print them out ahead of time with your full name and Orientation group number (you'll find this out at Orientation) at the top of the page(s) that you submit.

  1. What factors coalesced to create a “perfect storm” out of which the Flint Water Crisis emerged?
  2. What could have been done to prevent the Flint Water Crisis? Propose at least two ideas. Comment on the feasibility of each idea.
  3. In what ways did our system of government potentially exacerbate the Flint Water Crisis? Do you think an alternative form of government would have been better positioned to respond to such a crisis? Why or why not?
  4. Why did so many governmental officials (at multiple levels) respond to the Flint Water Crisis with such lethargy?
  5. What is the Kehoe Rule? How did adherence to the Kehoe Rule manifest itself in Flint?
  6. What lessons did Flint in 2014 fail to learn from the DC lead crisis of the early 2000s?
  7. The costs of municipal water infrastructure, treatment, and delivery are substantial. Yet, the prices charged to consumers for water do not cover the true costs shouldered by municipalities. What factors should municipalities consider when setting prices for drinking water? How can we arrive at a fair price for water?
  8. The U.S. EPA action level for lead in drinking water is 15 parts per billion (ppb). Yet, we know from medical research that no level of lead exposure is safe. Why, then, doesn’t the EPA set the action level for lead to 0 ppb?
  9. Dr. Hanna-Attisha was fearful of disseminating “bad” science. Why? What safeguards did Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s team take to prevent this? What safeguards did they skip?
  10. In what ways could scientific research be viewed as an obstacle, rather than as a tool, for improving lives in places like Flint?
  11. Why are epidemiological studies of lead contamination in drinking water more challenging to conduct than studies of microbial contamination (e.g., cholera)?
  12. Why are some (perhaps most) scientists hesitant to be viewed as activists? Do you think their reservations are valid?
  13. How did Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s past experiences inform her response to the Flint Water Crisis?
  14. In what ways can the Flint Water Crisis inform the way we think about environmental justice?

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

Spring 2022 Orientation

Spring Honors Orientation was required for incoming freshmen and students transferring from other institutions who join TU or the Honors College for spring 2022. There was no cost to attend. Enrolled incoming students were required to register online to confirm their attendance at Honors Orientation, and details on the program were communicated to admitted students in their decision letter sent in January 2022.