UC Blue Ash College

Honors Program

The UC Blue Ash College Honors Program, designed specifically for our most academically exceptional students, launched in fall 2017. If you have a high school GPA of 3.2 and an ACT score of 25 or higher (or SAT of 1200), you will be invited to join this selective group, and we'll provide you with opportunities both in and out of the classroom that will enrich your education. Current UC Blue Ash and transfer students can also apply to be admitted to the program.

UC Blue Ash Honors is built around experiential learning. Whether it is in specially-designed honors seminars, special leadership opportunities, research projects with professors, or study abroad programs, students in our Honors program learn by doing and by reflecting and connecting their experiences to their larger academic, career and personal goals.

If you have any questions about the UC Blue Ash Honors Program, please feel free to email us at UCBAHonors@uc.edu.

A Wide Range of Benefits

  • Academic Rigor: Take special honors-designated classes with other outstanding students.
  • Special Perks: You will enjoy perks that include early priority registration for UC Blue Ash classes.
  • Experiental Learning & Leadership: Participate in a wide range of exciting opportunities to take learning beyond the classroom.
  • Honors Scholarships: Compete for scholarships available specifically for our Honors Program students.
  • Prestige: Get featured in our print and website promotions, as our best and brightest students! Plus, the Honors designation is noted on students' diplomas.

The perfect environment for excellence

Professor Helene Harte working with students
  • Rigorous Academics: UC Blue Ash is a fully accredited college of the University of Cincinnati, and follows the university's same demanding curriculum.
  • Expert Faculty: UC Blue Ash faculty members are leaders in their fields of study, publishing and presenting their research in national and international venues. They are also recognized as some of the best teachers at the University of Cincinnati.
  • Student Success: Although an integral part of a major research university, UC Blue Ash focuses on teaching and learning. That means small class sizes and attentive faculty and staff whose primary goal is to work with students to achieve their academic and career goals.

Program Structure

Full time students in any UC Blue Ash academic track are eligible for UC Blue Ash Honors. The program is designed to be flexible, and is built around these two key features.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the UCBA Honors Program will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and utilization of resources and opportunities available at UCBA, UC, and in the greater Cincinnati community to help you pursue your academic and career goals.
  • Reflect on your thinking and learning to describe ways to apply knowledge to future situations.
  • Synthesize and articulate the impact that Honors experiences and courses had on your understanding of course content and program curricula.
  • Describe your personal, academic, and professional pursuits and articulate how the ideas and experiences provided by the Honors Program inform will help you achieve them.


Through experiences, students engage in focused, experiential learning activities that are also flexible, since UC Blue Ash Honors students are enrolled in a variety of academic programs. Students need to complete two Experiences in order to graduate with Honors from UC Blue Ash College. These include:

  • Honors Seminars. Courses specially designed around interdisciplinary and experiential learning, where the focus is on discussion and exploration. The Honors Seminars align with one or more of the honors thematic areas of Community Engagement, Creativity, Global Studies, Leadership, and Research. Seminars include creative activities and projects that allow students to experience learning in new ways. Experiential learning may include site visits, fieldwork, service learning, lab work and other research, performances and exhibits, and more. The Spring 2020 Honors Seminar is Media Literacy in a Media-saturated World.
  • Honors Intermediate Composition. Special sections of UC's core writing class built around experiential and service learning that are offered in both Fall and Spring semesters.
  • Leadership Experiences. Serve as a UCBA Student Ambassador, Student Orientation Leader,  or in any number of other college leadership opportunities.
  • Research Experiences. Work with a UC Blue Ash professor on a project, or design your own, and present your work at the college's annual research conference, Mediated Minds
  • Creative Experiences. Write, design, paint, sculpt, and show off your work in the Blue Ash Review or at the UC Blue Ash Gallery.
  • Study Abroad. UC Blue Ash offers two to three well-designed and affordable study abroad programs every year, that automatically count as Experiences.

The goal of the experiences is to provide students with the flexibility to design a program that fits their interests and goals, and develop as scholars, leaders and people.


In order to connect their experiences and other UCBA Honors activities to their larger academic program and personal development, each honors student develops and updates a personal Learning Portfolio, a public website where students not only show off their work but also thoughtfully reflect on what they learned during their Experiences, and how to build on them in the future.

Reflection is a vital learning tool that helps students make connections between their different classes and activities, and UC Blue Ash is a leader in helping students integrate thoughtful reflection into all parts of the learning process

Program Requirements

All students need to complete the following requirements in order to graduate from the UC Blue Ash Honors Program:

  • Enroll and complete Gateway to UC Blue Ash Honors, a one-hour introductory course.
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.2 by the time of graduation.
  • Enroll as a full-time student at UC Blue Ash every semester in the program.
  • Complete two Honors Experiences, in addition to the Gateway course.
  • Design and regularly update a Learning Portfolio.
  • Meet regularly with Honors Advisor. 


All students enrolled in UC Blue Ash Honors automatically receive a $500 UC Blue Ash Honors Scholarship for every semester they are in the program. Students also have the opportunity to apply for special scholarships only available to honors students.

In addition, UC Blue Ash Honors Students can apply for the more than $60,000 that our college gives out every year as part of its general scholarship program.

Special Recognition

All students who complete the program and graduate from UC Blue Ash will receive the notation "With Honors from the UCBA Honors Program"on their transcript. Also, we encourage all students who are eligible to also apply for membership in the UC Blue Ash chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honors society for students at two-year colleges.

Program Admission

Students are admitted into the UC Blue Ash Honors Program through two pathways:

Incoming Student Requirements

  • First-year students with no college experience are admitted based on their high school achievements. All students with a minimum 3.2 high school GPA and a 25 ACT or 1200 SAT, who apply and accepted to UCBA, are automatically invited to enroll in UCBA Honors. The priority application deadline for Fall 2019 admission is May 1, 2019.

Application Requirements for Currently Enrolled Students

  • Cumulative college GPA of 3.2 or higher (confirmed via transcript or through the university for transition students).
  • Minimum of 12 hours of completed college credit (at UC or another university)
  • Currently enrolled full time as a UC Blue Ash student, or, if transferring, planning to enroll full time at UC Blue Ash in Spring 2020.
  • Must be able to enroll in and complete Honors 1015: Gateway to University Honors their first semester in the program. This is a one-credit hour introductory course.
  • Evidence of interest in and desire to engage with the UC Blue Ash Honors Program. 


Students who successfully complete the UC Blue Ash Honors Program and transition to UC's Uptown Campus to complete their baccalaureate program may have the opportunity to enroll in the University Honors Program, if selected. Those who enroll in the UHP will receive credit for their Experiences at UC Blue Ash.

Honors Advisors

Headshot of Carla Henderson, DNP, MSN, RN, CNE, CHSE

Carla Henderson, DNP, MSN, RN, CNE, CHSE

Last Names A-D

Walters Hall 281


Headshot of Claudia Skutar, PhD

Claudia Skutar, PhD

Last Names E-K

Progress Hall 220E


Headshot of Jody Ballah, MA, Dip.Ed

Jody Ballah, MA, Dip.Ed

Last Names L-R

Walters Hall 132


Headshot of Daniella Fisher, PhD

Daniella Fisher, PhD

Last Names S-Z

Walters Hall 375


Acting Honors Director

Headshot of Brenda Refaei, EdD

Brenda Refaei, EdD

Associate Professor of English

Progress Hall 120J


Please join us in welcoming Dr. Brenda Refaei as the acting honors director for the spring and summer 2019 semesters. Contact Brenda with any questions or concerns about the UC Blue Ash Honors program.

Honors Program Director

Headshot of Robert R. Gioielli

Robert R. Gioielli

Associate Professor of History Director, UC Blue Ash Honors Program , UCBA History



I am an environmental and urban historian whose work focuses on the intersections of social and environmental issues in the American city, especially when it comes to racial and class inequalities. I also have a significant interest in the origins and development of environmental activism, both in the United States and around the globe, and how environmental politics has both created and reinforced other inequalities and hierarchies. 

My teaching is focused on American and environmental history. In the classroom I work to help students understand how historical thinking is a vital tool for understanding their contemporary world. My environmental history classes in particular are focused on experiential learning, and encouraging students to get involved in the greater Cincinnati community through research, volunteering and service learning. Courses I have taught include American History, Global Environmental History, Race and the Environment, and Environmental Activism. I am also firmly committed to international education, and have taught through the University Study Abroad Consortium in Chengdu, China. 

Finally, I am also the director of the UCBA Honors Program, and work to provide a tremendous experience for all of our honors students. 

Environmental Activism and the Urban Crisis: Baltimore, St. Louis, Chicago. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, May 2014. Paperback July 2015. Refereed.
Refereed Publications
“Not Quite Suburban: Progressive Politics in Postwar Chicago” in Social Justice in Diverse Suburbs: History, Politics, and Prospects, edited by Christopher Niedt. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2013.
 “We Must Destroy You To Save You: Highway Construction and the City as a Modern Commons,” Radical History Review, Issue 109, Theme: “Enclosure,” Winter 2011. Refereed.
“How can any community be expected to accept such a scar?: The Movement Against Destruction and Environmental Activism in Postwar Baltimore,” in Common Ground: Integrating the Social and Environmental in History, edited by Genevieve Massard-Guilbaud and Stephen Mosley. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2011.
“Get the Lead Out: Environmental Politics in 1970s St. Louis,” Journal of Urban History, 36 (4), May 2010. Refereed.
“Suburbs vs. Slot Machines: The Committee of 500 and the Battle over Gambling in Northern Kentucky,” Ohio Valley History, 5 (2), Summer 2005. Refereed.
Public History Projects
Rethinking Porkopolis: Cincinnati and the Ecology of Slavery museum exhibition and speaker series in partnership with the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, Cincinnati, OH. September to December 2016. Project director, chief historian and curator.
Work in Progress
Race and Urban Sustainability: How White Supremacy Made the American Metropolis Unlivable, book manuscript in progress.
“Don’t Do it in the Lake: Gordon Sherman and the Public Interest in Postwar Chicago,” article in progress for edited volume tentatively titled Chicago Environmental History (University of Pittsburgh Press), William Barnett, Kathleen Brosnan and Ann Durkin Keating, eds.
“Environmental and Conservation Movements in Urban America,” under contract with the Oxford Research Encyclopedia in American History (Oxford University Press), Jon But


Contact Information

Honors Program

Progress Hall • Room 120B
Program Coordinator
Phone: 513-745-5645
Email: ucbahonors@ucmail.uc.edu