Sage Honors Program Announces Acceptance of Student Research to National Conference

June 20, 2014 at 3:49 pm

TROY, NY - The Honors program at Russell Sage College (RSC) is proud to announce the acceptance of student and faculty work to the 2014 National Collegiate Honors Conference, November 4 – 6 in Denver, Colorado.  The conference brings together honors administrators, faculty, and students from a variety of higher education institutions around the country to present research, collaborate across institutions, and engage in program development. Russell Sage students attending include Margaret Brenenstuhl (majoring in Public Policy, Advocacy, and Civic Engagement), Sierra Miller (Sociology), and Jessica Loskowitz (Nutrition), with faculty contributions from Andor Skotnes, Ph.D. (professor of History), David Baecker, M.F.A. (associate professor of Theatre), and Tonya Moutray, Ph.D. (Honors director and assistant professor of English Literature).

The Honors program at Russell Sage has seen extraordinary growth in the past three years with a near 50% increase in enrollment to over 70 students.  The growth is attributed to innovative new classes, relevant co-curricular events, and the accessibility of the program to students in credit-heavy professional programs.  It received a program assessment grant from the National Collegiate Honors Council last year.

One innovation in the curriculum, and the topic of the RSC panel, is the Oxford Style Tutorial (OST), which pairs three students and a professor in a writing and research intensive, student-driven course of study. Based on the Williams College model, the OST at Sage has become a signature of the Honors program, mostly because students are drawn to the topics that professors are deeply passionate about.

Recent OST courses include “Socialism,” taught by professor Andor Skotnes, “Cosmic Black Holes,” taught by professor Frank Vozzo, Ph.D., and William Kennedy’s “Albany”, taught by professor Michael Musial, M.M., M.A. The latter course had the distinction of having William Kennedy himself, Albany’s Pulitzer-prize winning author; visit with the students taking the course.

“A highlight of the course was the opportunity to meet with Kennedy in his Dove Street residence, the historic rooming house that was the site of Legs Diamond’s last few days - and ultimate demise - while he was on trial in nearby Troy,” said Musial, associate professor of Music. “The combination of literature, access to the author and the historic place, made for a terrific learning experience.”

Another feature of the Honors program is the unique seminars, often team-taught and interdisciplinary in nature. They are popular with many RSC students and have even been taught by President Susan Scrimshaw and former Provost Terry Weiner. Recent titles include “Developmental Trajectories in Harry Potter,” “Tennessee Williams’ Women” and “Hamlet in Hyperspace.”  An upcoming course, “It’s Not Just Florence: Nursing and Literature,” has been developed by professor Moutray with professor Kathy Buono, Ph.D., as a humanities-based literature course for the nursing major at RSC.

“The Nightingale course is going to be a popular course with our students for a very long time, connecting the technical materials of the nursing major with the heart and soul of what it takes to be a nurse,” explained Buono, assistant professor of Nursing.

In addition to community programs held in historic Wool House where the honors participants are housed, the program makes theatre trips to New York City, co-sponsors programming with the Helen M. Upton Center for Women’s Studies, and co-hosts talkbacks after performances and cultural events at RSC.

Media contact: Deanna Cohen, director of external relations, The Sage Colleges, (518) 244-4593 (O), (518) 598-4927 (C), email:


Interdisciplinary academics, community engagement, international exposure, and artistic and athletic endeavors are among the pillars of the educational experience at The Sage Colleges. Sage enrolls more than 3,000 students in bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs at the coeducational undergraduate Sage College of Albany in Albany, N.Y.; the undergraduate Russell Sage College for women in Troy, N.Y.; and the graduate-level Esteves School of Education, School of Health Sciences and School of Management, with programs on both campuses.