Thomas E. Bellavance Honors Program

The program is designed to bring together high-achieving students and dedicated faculty in a small university environment within the diversity of opportunity of the larger university community. It offers motivated students who are serious about their intellectual growth a variety of special classes enhanced by many cultural events and activities. The program fosters close individual contact between students and faculty and brings together talented students with many interests. Honors courses and extracurricular activities are intended to enrich and complement other educational opportunities and programs available to Salisbury University students.

To receive a copy of our Honors Program brochure and additional program information, please send your postal address to the Honors Program  with "Interested in Honors" as the subject line.

Questions about the Honors Program? Please contact Dr. James Buss, director, Ms. Joan Wallace, program management specialist for the program can be reached via or 410-677-6556.

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Meet the Honors Director

Dr. James Buss
Dr. James Buss

James Joseph Buss is director of the Thomas E. Bellavance Honors Program and associate professor of history at Salisbury University.

"It is a great privilege to work alongside some of the brightest minds on the Eastern Shore, including students pursuing Honors degrees, faculty members contributing to the program, non-Honors students taking Honors courses and community members attending Honors events. Salisbury University has a long history of supporting Honors education, and I look forward to continuing that excellence well into the future."

He is the author of Winning the West with Words: Language and Conquest in the Lower Great Lakes (2011) and co-editor of Beyond Two Worlds: Critical Conversations on Language and Power in Native North America (November 2014), as well as several other peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. His scholarly interests center on the intersections of settler memory, Native American history and public commemoration. Dr. Buss participates and serves with several national organizations connected to the advancement of scholarship on Native American and Indigenous issues, including being elected secretary for the American Society for Ethnohistory and serving as fundraising co-chairperson for the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association’s 2015 Annual Meeting. In addition, he has appeared on NPR, C-Span 2: Book TV and Zocolo Public Square to speak about his work.

Prior to moving to Maryland, Dr. Buss served as chairperson of the Department of History and director of the University Honors Program at Oklahoma City University, where he was named both Full-Time Teaching Faculty Member of the Year and Distinguished Honors Professor of the Year. Since moving to Maryland, he has been elected as an Executive Board member for the Maryland Collegiate Honors Council and treasurer for the Northeast Regional Honors Council. In addition, Dr. Buss serves on the National Collegiate Honors Council’s Assessment and Evaluations Committee.

Meet the Honors Assistant Director

Dr. James Buss
Dr. Leanne Wood

Dr. Leanne Wood joined the Bellavance Honors Program this fall semester to serve as assistant professor of music and assistant director of the Honors Program.

She holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. Before coming to Salisbury University she taught for four years in Princeton's Writing Program and led interdisciplinary seminars for the university's Freshman Scholars Institute.  In addition, she has coordinated special projects for independent student writers through Princeton's residential colleges and academic departments, including boot camps for senior thesis and dissertation writers.

Dr. Wood is also an actively engaged scholar. Her work draws upon archival materials, stylistic and topical music analysis, literary source texts, and theories of place, regionalism and the pastoral. She currently is preparing her dissertation for publication as a book - provisionally titled "But He Doesn't Know the Territory": The American Midwest in Musical Theater and Film. Dr. Wood has published previously in the journal American Music and contributed to the published proceedings of From Stage to Screen: Musical Films in Europe and United States.


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