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Editorial: Hats off to UNM for adding honors degree

The University of New Mexico is giving its honors program its due with the establishment of its own bachelor’s of arts degree.

A new honors college was launched more than a year ago and regents approved the new degree Monday. It already has an acting dean, Catherine Krause, who is out recruiting high school students.

The university’s goal is to convince more high-achieving students to stay in New Mexico rather than going out of state for their college education. UNM wants to attract more students who ranked in the top 10 percent of their class or scored a 30 or higher on the ACT. And that could help raise UNM’s profile and improve its graduation rate.

The degree will require at least 128 credit hours, 36 of which have to be honors courses, and 12 credit hours of a non-English language, courses that focus on globalization and an interdisciplinary honors thesis.

UNM President Bob Frank calls the new college “one of the most important initiatives we have.”

The university is on the right track by putting a premium on academic excellence and raising the bar. This is a good step if UNM wants to further its reputation as a destination university instead of a fall-back.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.