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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dr. Jennifer Bonds-Raacke named associate dean for UNCP’s Esther Maynor Honors College

As an undergraduate and later as a faculty member, Dr. Jennifer Bonds-Raacke saw the value of honors programs.

Jennifer Bonds-Raacke“As an honors college student, I was able to make connections with faculty members and do research that took my scholarship to another level,” Dr. Bonds-Raacke said.

At her first faculty post, Dr. Bonds-Raacke was instrumental in founding an honors program.

“I was involved in all aspects of creating the program from curriculum development to community service projects,” she said. “In this position, I will be able to draw upon my experiences about what worked and didn’t work.”

Dr. Bonds-Raacke, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Counseling, has been named associate dean of the Esther Maynor Honors College at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

In her second year on UNCP’s faculty, Dr. Bonds-Raacke has already established an outstanding record for guiding undergraduate research. Among her other duties with the Honors College, she will direct honors theses, said Dr. Jesses Peters, dean of the college.

“I believe Dr. Bonds-Raacke is just the person to help us achieve our goals. Her presence will also help be a great asset in recruiting, advising, and retaining honors students.

“I very much look forward to working with her,” Dr. Peters continued. “We both want the Maynor Honors College to be a program that all of the UNCP community can be very proud of.”

Dr. Peters said two priorities for the Honors College are adding co-curricular activities linked with the honors living/learning community and to establish a major service learning and/or volunteer project for the honors college students.

“Dr. Bonds-Raacke’s experience with honors programs before coming to UNCP will help us to expand and enhance the educational opportunities available to our students,” Dr. Peters said. “Her presence will also be a great asset in recruiting, advising, and retaining honors students.”

Dr. Bonds-Raacke said she looks forward to the challenge.

“I feel like this is a really good fit because it is something I have a passion for,” she continued. “I have done a lot of those relationship building activities as an undergraduate and with undergraduates.”

 “Student engagement is incredibly important to college life and success,” she said.

As for directing the research of UNCP’s Honors College students, she is well prepared for success. At the recent Pembroke Undergraduate Research and Creativity Forum, Dr. Bonds-Raacke and colleagues in the Psychology Department advised a remarkable 17 student research projects.

“I really get excited about involving students in research,” she said. “There is something about mentoring students and seeing them discover the scientific process that is very rewarding.”

Dr. Bonds-Raacke conducts considerable research in the areas of 1) the psychology of teaching; 2) the psychology of mass communications; and 3) decision making. That research has resulted in numerous presentations and journal articles.

From Memphis, Tenn., Dr. Bonds-Raacke earned her undergraduate degree from Christian Brothers University and her Master’s of Science and Ph.D. in experimental and cognitive psychology from Kansas State University.

She said her experience in higher education mirrors that of many UNCP students.

“Like many of our students, I was one of the first in my family to go to college,” she said. “I really love the students here, because they have a special appreciation for overcoming obstacles and realizing opportunities.”

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