Honors Program new director sees collaborative future

George Gumerman

The new director of NAU’s Honors Program is planning to increase the number of learning experiences for highly motivated students.

George Gumerman, chair of NAU’s anthropology department for more than five years, said he will tap into his collaborative management style to build on the program’s strong foundation.

Gumerman, nicknamed Wolf, said he will begin by initiating campus-wide discussions seeking new ways to provide learning experiences that provide opportunities for students beyond graduation.

“I want to work with others to create a vision for the future of honors,” he said. “But I do envision a program that includes lots of internships and experiential learning in this incredible location ripe with natural and cultural diversity.”

Gumerman cites possible partnerships with social services and national parks as ways to engage students in inquiry and research while preparing them for the their future. He also plans to construct more international and interdisciplinary opportunities for students, as well as learning prospects that evolve into thesis projects for students.

Plans to ramp up fundraising efforts to support the program are also on Gumerman’s mind. “I think we can be recognized as one of the top honors programs in the nation,” he said.

NAU’s Honors Program attracts more than 500 students. It provides a variety of academic perspectives, interdisciplinary learning opportunities and small seminars taught by award-winning faculty. It is a living and learning community that includes Cowden Residence Hall, designated for students in the Honors Program.

“Wolf is a very talented and experienced academic leader with an incredible track record of collaboration, establishing and building on partnerships and in securing external funding,” said Karen Pugliesi, vice provost of Academic Affairs. “We are excited about his intent is to build upon the program’s accomplishments to date, discover news way for students to learn and take it to the next level.”

Gumerman said he became interested in becoming a part of the Honors Program when he was “blown away” by the students’ talent showcased in their Undergraduate Student Symposium last April.

Gumerman began his NAU career as lecturer in 1993.

Anthropology Regents’ professor Robert Trotter has become the new chair for the anthropology department.

For information about honors, go to nau.edu/honors.