Honors Program

Richard Badenhausen, Director
David Goldsmith, Assistant Director

Faculty: Richard Badenhausen (Director), Kara Barnette, Karlyn Bond, Bill Bynum, Peggy Cain, Michael Chipman, Russell Costa, Sean Desilets, Lesa Ellis, Leonardo Figueroa-Helland, Peter Goldman, David Goldsmith (Assistant Director), Han Kim, Matt Kruback, Chris LeCluyse, Gary Marquardt, Nick More, Lance Newman, Jeff Nichols, Kristjane Nordmeyer, Brent Olson, Giancarlo Panagia, Michael Popich, Sean Raleigh, Christy Seifert, Julie Stewart, Heidi Van Ert, Michael Vought, John Watkins

Program Description

The Honors Program provides intellectually curious students who are prepared and motivated with the opportunity to satisfy their college-wide WCore course requirements in an alternative and unique manner. By completing 6 seminars from a menu of interdisciplinary, team-taught Honors seminars, students earn an Honors degree while satisfying those requirements. Moreover, by understanding their historical, scientific, and intellectual heritage, Honors students are prepared to be articulate and responsible members of society and defenders of their own ideas. Students may also continue their study in the program and receive an Advanced Honors degree. Students who join Honors via the lateral entry option may earn an Honors certificate upon completion of 4 seminars. The program is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) and the Western Regional Honors Council (WRHC).

Program Goals

  • Critical, analytical, and integrative thinking
    • Ability to make connections between and across disciplines
    • Ability to analyze complex texts and ideas
    • Ability to engage in research design and problem-solving
    • Ability to think independently
    • Ability to demonstrate quantitative literacy
  • Creative and reflective capabilities
    • Ability to ask questions that lead to new understanding
    • Ability to reflect on the learning process and one’s role in that process
    • Ability to express oneself creatively beyond written and spoken media (i.e. visual, musical, etc.)
  • Leadership, collaboration, and teamwork
    • Ability to share power and recognize, respect, and celebrate differences in groups
    • Ability to be self-aware in ways that facilitate collaboration with others
    • Ability to take intellectual risks
  • Writing and other communication skills
    • Ability to write clearly and persuasively in an authentic voice
    • Ability to use evidence to make an argument in writing and speaking
    • Ability to engage in genuine conversation
  • Global consciousness, social responsibility, and ethical awareness
    • Ability to understand intersections of power relations and perspectives in both global and U.S. American contexts
    • Ability to understand cultural lenses and their intersections, particularly in terms of their relation to social justice
    • Ability to identify ethical issues in society, perform sound ethical reasoning, and make informed moral judgments

Admission

Students expressing a desire to enroll in the Honors Program will be ranked according to the following criteria: high school GPA and rigor of coursework, ACT/SAT scores, level of interest in the unique approach to learning in Honors, and the quality of a written statement. Although a typical incoming Honors student has had a 3.80 GPA and a 30 composite ACT score, the range of scores is quite broad. Students who wish to be in the program are encouraged to secure an application from the Honors Program or Westminster’s Admissions Staff. Lateral entry students will have previous college work taken into consideration during the admissions process. Questions concerning the application process should be directed to the Director of the Honors Program.

Benefits of Participating in the Honors Program

  • Academic distinction: the Honors designation on the student’s transcript shows graduate schools and employers that he or she has achieved academic success in rigorous classes and worked with some of the college’s finest teachers and students. The challenging, comprehensive curriculum also helps students grow as thinkers, writers, and speakers.
  • Small class size: Honors classes have an intimate, seminar-style feel and allow for close student-professor interactions and mentoring, an important benefit when students require personal and informed letters of recommendation for jobs and graduate school.
  • Excellent faculty: six Honors professors have won the college’s Gore Excellence in Teaching award, Westminster’s top recognition for faculty.
  • Enhanced support, advising, and mentoring: Honors students attend an early, supplemental day of orientation activities to help ease the transition to college life. They also have the Honors director assigned to them as an advisor in addition to their major advisor. Finally, incoming Honors students are grouped with peer mentors—upper-class Honors students with extensive experience in the program—who can help guide them during their first year at college.
  • Interdisciplinary approaches: the interdisciplinary nature of Honors seminars brings students and two faculty from different departments together, ensuring an exciting class atmosphere and preparing students for the interdisciplinary approach of most top graduate programs and professional fields.
  • Alternative Gen Ed experience: the Honors curriculum offers a unique learning experience that goes beyond the standard college general education classes in a series of specially designed seminars. Honors also offers students an efficient, flexible pathway through gen ed requirements that frees up time to fit in double majors, multiple minors, electives, extracurricular activities, intensive research projects, leadership opportunities, and other enhanced academic experiences.
  • Research opportunities: the seminar-style approach to learning, the emphasis on writing and research in classes, and the program’s support of outside research allow students to investigate their academic interests more fully and create opportunities for the presentation or publication of their work. The program also awards two substantial independent summer research grants annually to Honors students.
  • Sense of community: Honors students take core classes together and interact with Honors faculty and students through other academic and social events. This interaction helps establish a sense of belonging to the college community. The Honors Program is housed in Nunemaker Place. Built in 1977, this architecturally striking building provides Honors students and faculty with a variety of distinctive spaces, including a resource/scholarship library, the office of the Honors director, meeting areas, a lounge in which students socialize, reading and study spaces, and computer work stations. Located next to beautiful Emigration Creek, Nunemaker opens out onto a tree-lined patio where students and faculty can eat lunch, read, and relax.
  • Special study abroad opportunity: Westminster’s Honors program is a member of the Principia Consortium, which gives students access to a unique Honors educational experience at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Access to supplementary resources: for example, the Honors program listserv; the “Pizza with Profs” lecture series; the Honors program resource library; the Honors program newsletter; special enriched learning experiences such as attendance at cultural events and other field study; funding to attend and give papers at academic conferences; leadership training opportunities like the Student Honors Council; special recognition opportunities like the Honors seminar book awards; financial support to investigate graduate schools out of state; and opportunities to participate in special meetings with distinguished visiting scholars and lecturers.

Participation in Honors Courses by Non-Honors Program Students

Any Westminster undergraduate in good standing with a 3.5 GPA or higher is eligible to enroll in 300 and 400 level Honors seminars. The Honors Program is an active part of the larger college community and welcomes the energy, intellect, and diversity that students from different disciplines across the campus bring to Honors. Non-Honors Program students enrolling in Honors seminars should check with their program chairs, since these classes will sometimes fulfill certain requirements in a student’s own major. Participation in 200-level Honors seminars is restricted to students in the Honors Program.

Criterion for Remaining in the Honors Program

  1. 3.0 GPA overall

If an Honors student falls below this GPA, a probationary period of two semesters will be used to allow the student to return to the minimum GPA standards for continued participation.

Honors Certificate Requirements – For Lateral Entry Students Only

Students who join the Honors Program via the lateral entry option may complete four seminars in the Honors core sequence and be awarded a special certificate recognizing this achievement (contingent on Westminster graduation). None of these courses may be taken credit/no credit.

Requirement Description
Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. Lower Division Gateway Course Requirement 4
HON  203 Welcome to Thinking III (4)
All lateral entry students take HON 203 upon entry to the program
A minimum of at least two courses (3-4 credit hours) in the WCore or a similar general education program at a two- or four-year institution.
II. Lower Division Courses – Select three courses from below 12
HON  211    Global Welfare & Justice (4)
HON  212   Arts & Performance (4)
HON  213   Environments & the Space of Art (4)
HON  221   Science as Knowledge (4)
HON  222  Science, Power & Diversity (4)
HON  231   Human Culture & Behavior (4)
HON  232  Data/Society/Decision-Making (4)
TOTAL HOURS FOR THE HONORS CERTIFICATE 16  

Honors Degree Requirements

Students may complete six seminars in the Honors sequence and be awarded a special certificate recognizing this achievement (contingent on Westminster graduation). One of the courses in Section II may be taken credit/no credit (does not apply to HON 201/202).

Requirement Description
Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. Lower Division Gateway Course Requirement 8
HON 201 Welcome to Thinking I (4)
HON 202 Welcome to Thinking II (4)
These courses are taken consecutively in fall and spring terms, respectively.
II. Lower Division Courses – Select four courses from below 16
HON 211 Global Welfare & Justice (4)
HON 212 Arts & Performance (4)
HON 213  Environments & the Space of Art (4)
HON 221 Science as Knowledge (4)
HON 222 Science, Power & Diversity (4)
HON 231 Human Culture & Behavior (4)
HON 232 Data/Society/Decision-Making (4)
TOTAL HOURS FOR THE HONORS DEGREE 24  

Advanced Honors Degree Requirements

Students may complete the requirements below and be awarded a special certificate recognizing this achievement (contingent on Westminster graduation). One of the courses in Section II may be taken credit/no credit (does not apply to HON 201/202).

Requirement Description
Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. Lower Division Gateway Course Requirement 8
HON 201 Welcome to Thinking I (4)
HON 202 Welcome to Thinking II (4)
These courses are taken consecutively in fall and spring terms, respectively.
II. Lower Division Courses –  Select five courses from below 20
HON 211 Global Welfare & Justice (4)
HON 212 Arts & Performance (4)
HON 213  Environments & the Space of Art (4)
HON 221 Science as Knowledge (4)
HON 222 Science, Power & Diversity (4)
HON 231 Human Culture & Behavior (4)
HON 232 Data/Society/Decision-Making (4)
III. Additional Coursework 4
4 credit hours of coursework in an additional core 200-level Honors seminar above, a 300/400-level Honors elective seminar, or Honors May term courses.
IV. World Language Requirement 12
Advanced Honors Degree students must complete 3 semesters of college-level instruction in a single world language or the equivalent. The requirement can be satisfied by coursework or proof of proficiency. For example, an incoming student who begins in Spanish III and successfully completes that course will have satisfied the requirement. (May term study abroad trips may not be used to satisfy this requirement.) Honors students may also demonstrate proficiency through 12 hours CLEP, FLATS, or other proficiency exam credit in a single language. All coursework that meets this requirement must be taken for a letter grade.
V. Senior Project/Thesis 3
Completion of a senior project in the student’s major for a minimum of 3 credit hours. Students whose majors do not accommodate a senior project may enroll in HON 402 or a 400-level independent study designator in the major and complete a thesis under one of those course numbers, as long as they have a sponsoring professor. Students whose majors employ a practicum, internship, exhibition, or recital as the senior capstone experience must include a significant written component in which they reflect on that experience. The nature of such projects will be determined in conjunction with the Director of Honors and the student’s major advisor. All students completing a thesis or senior project for the Honors Degree must fill out the thesis topic approval and completion forms, which are available in the Honors office, and present their completed work in a public setting such as a regional academic conference, Westminster’s undergraduate research fair, or some equivalent venue.
VI. Capstone 1-2
HON 403 Capstone Conversations (1-2)Students completing senior projects in the major to satisfy requirements for the Advanced Honors Degree enroll in HON 403 during the semester(s) they are conducting that work. Students doing capstone work over one term will take 403 during that single term of work (for 1 credit hour), while students doing capstone work over two terms may enroll in 403 during both terms (for a total of 2 credit hours). Honors Degree students may also enroll in this course.
TOTAL HOURS FOR THE ADVANCED HONORS DEGREE 48-49  
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