Honors program losing both directors this year

Dr. Patricia Kluthe - Director of the Honors Program

Dr. Patricia Kluthe – Director of the Honors Program

Alexandra Nicolas

Fresh faces will fill the honors program this fall, with the entire office staff leaving after this semester.

Dr. Patricia Kluthe, director of the honors program, will be retiring after a long career with Missouri Southern as a student and professor.

“I keep telling my students, change is good,” she said. “Change usually results in a positive new direction, and that’s what I’m counting on.”

Dr. Jeff Martinek, assistant director of the honors program, will also be leaving, though at this time he is unsure if his future plans involve Southern’s English department or another university.

“It makes sense for the new leadership to have a fresh start,” Martinek said.

Even secretary Ursula Tresvan will be leaving the program at the end of the spring.

However, new faculty is not the only change affecting the honors department for the coming school year.

“There’s been a lot of tension because of possible changes that may occur and it’s been tough on the people that work here,” Kluthe said.

Rumors of financial changes in the program have been circulating among students and some have expressed concern about their financial security.

“They’re making some changes, but there is a budget, there will be a new incoming class, and there will be scholarships,” Martinek said.

Changes in faculty will also be difficult for the students involved in what is described as “the college within.”

“I’m depressed Dr. Kluthe’s leaving.,” said Erin Klaus, senior criminal justice and psychology major. “She’s the greatest, very easy to talk to and helpful, she will not be able to be replaced.”

In addition to more challenging classes, Southern’s honors program prides itself in providing a positive experience along with a high quality liberal arts education.

“Your honors classes are so much better,” Klaus said. ” They’re smaller and you learn so much more.

“It’s going to be lonely in the honors office.”

There is currently an active search underway to fill the positions in the. Kluthe said interested individuals have contacted her with questions about the position.

“There’s a strong candidate pool,” she said.

With a new staff in the future, current faculty members hope the program will retain its integrity, continue to provide a top-quality experience for its members and allow faculty and students to learn from each other.

“She’s [Kluthe] certainly one of the most amazing people I’ve ever worked with,” Martinek said, “I’ve learned what it means to be a committed education professional and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”