Associate Dean Doherty on the Honors Program

April 26, 2016

Leanne Doherty

We caught up with Leanne Doherty – Associate Dean at Simmons and Director of the Simmons Honors Program!

What do you teach at Simmons?

I teach courses in American politics and policy, including The Politics of Pop Culture and American Public Policy.

Fill in the blank: When I was in college I ___

Was very, very busy – I worked, played basketball, had a social life and took a full course load. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

What's your favorite book?

Pleasure reading for me is definitely a treat, so I usually enjoy reading all sorts of fiction. Justin Cronin’s The Passage Trilogy is outstanding. And yes, the series is about vampires, but the vampires are made by the government, so it's not cheesy. Seriously.

Do you have a hidden talent?

In high school, I was a member of a madrigal singing group. I guess a hidden talent would be singing songs like this.

What's your favorite quote?

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Tell us about the Honors Program at Simmons.

It's a very exciting time to be a member of the Honors Program – we've redesigned the program to align more closely with the Simmons PLAN. The Honors Program is an interdisciplinary studies program that develops holistic thought leaders for the 21st century through rigorous curricular and experiential programming. The Honors Program engages motivated students, enhancing the undergraduate experience of students in all majors by guiding them through complex intellectual tasks and problems.

All Honors students are advised to seek depth in their major discipline and to enhance this knowledge through exploration of other departments and programs. Students in the Honors Program are part of a "community of scholars" and are offered an enriched curriculum that is presented in small seminars and team-taught courses. This community includes professors who are teacher/scholars; bringing their own research and community engagement into the classroom and creating intellectual settings that challenge Honors students to push themselves beyond what they thought possible. Outside of the classroom, the Honors Program gives opportunities for students to expand their knowledge through study abroad opportunities, access to undergraduate research programs, connections to Honors alumnae/i and engagement with the city of Boston.

What's the best part of directing the Honors Program?

The students make this job so special. Whether we're working on a project together, talking about curriculum and study abroad opportunities, or participating in extra curricular activities at Simmons and in the community – they make every day a new experience for me. I always learn something new from them.

What inspired you to make your move to teach at Simmons?

I've been at Simmons for 16 years, Associate Dean for 4 years and Director of the Honors program for 6 months! Simmons was the type of institution I always wanted to be a part of when I was studying in graduate school. The students are at the center of everything we do as faculty and administrators, which places us in a unique group of colleges that truly focus on the student holistic experience.

What's your Simmons moment?

Every commencement is my favorite Simmons moment. I love to watch students complete their academic journey, knowing what an amazing accomplishment it is to graduate. I am always so proud to know I have been a little part of that journey.