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Honors Program to undergo leadership change

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Kirsten Hetrick, associate professor of German, National Fellowships advisor and Honors Program Director, has decided to leave Doane after nine years. Hetrick has taken a job as the Prestigious Fellowships advisor at North Carolina State University.

According to, the Honors Program provides unique opportunities to students, such as: study abroad opportunities, funding to attend two off-campus cultural events per academic year, early class registration, seminars, dinners, contests “and other events for Honors students only.”

According to Doane’s website, in order to remain in the Honors Program, students need to maintain at least a 3.5 GPA, study abroad and participate in an individual research project.

Hetrick said she first began to seek other employment opportunities once the prioritization process was announced amidst the pandemic.

“I had become increasingly concerned about - and, in some cases, outright dismayed by - decisions being made by the upper administration and those concerns intensified when the prioritization process was first announced and then later sped up in the midst of a pandemic,” Hetrick said. “It had simply become clear to me that it would be healthiest to seek employment opportunities somewhere more financially stable and with a commitment to values that are more in line with mine, as Doane's were when I started nine years ago,” she said.

Hetrick said she was thankful for the experiences she had at Doane but knew it was time to move on to the next thing.

Hetrick said her favorite aspect of her position as the Honors Program director was working with students and colleagues. 

“[My favorite part was] watching my students go off into the world and do great things, be it a Fulbright or JET, teaching the next generation or continuing on to their next degree,” Hetrick said.

Hetrick said she was most excited to continue “to work with curious, talented students on fellowship applications and exploring a new city.”

Courtney Bruntz, assistant professor of Asian Religions and Director of Asian Studies, will be taking over as the director of Doane’s Honor Program. 

“The director teaches the Introduction to Honors course, mentors students in the program (especially in terms of study abroad), organizes social activities, and recruits faculty members to teach for the program,” Bruntz said.

Bruntz has taught honors program courses before but this will be her first time directing the program at Doane. She was also involved in the Honors program at her own undergraduate institution.

“I have been interested in the program since I started at Doane five years ago,” Bruntz said. “I was in the Honors program at my undergraduate institution, and it was one of the most engaging experiences during my college career. Doane's program is unique in that it requires study abroad, and this is a component of the program that I think is really interesting and important.”

Hetrick said she wishes the best to those filling her roles at Doane as she moves on to the next chapter of her career. 

“I know that those filling my roles at Doane are going to do an awesome job and I wish them all the best,” Hetrick said.

Bruntz believes the program provides unique opportunities and is excited to begin her new position as director of the Honors Program.

“The program has had incredible directors, and I'm excited to continue their legacy,” Bruntz said. “The courses it incorporates are engaging and interesting, students in the program bring diverse perspectives, the program offers a unique opportunity to study abroad, and overall, it adds a richness to Doane. I'm excited to continue being part of this remarkable program.”

Bruntz noted that all first-year students should apply for this program.

“I encourage all first-year students to apply. Applications are due Oct. 12 at 10 a.m.. Application information can be found here: Honors Application,” Bruntz said.