The Honors Program strives to build a community of scholars by offering courses that are much more discussion based and interactive, rather than merely lecture driven. Students are given more responsibility for being engaged in their courses, often being asked to lead discussions on the course themes. Students are encouraged to participate in undergraduate research, present their findings publicly, and develop a love for learning. As a community of scholars, we challenge one another to think more deeply, ask difficult questions, and think critically about the world around us.
Students are given opportunities to develop leadership skills through workshops, courses, and service projects. The Honors Program offers Exploring Leadership, a semester-long leadership development series, each spring. This series is designed for primarily sophomore and junior-level Honors students to enhance their leadership skills through a combination of seminars that combine the practical and the theoretical. Additionally, students have the opportunity to run for the Honors Students Leadership Board. The HLB is a small group of students within the Honors Program that work to develop programming incorporating feedback from members of the program in order to engage more students in program activities. Students will also be offered opportunities to participate in service projects (including a week-long service trip to Rochester, NY) and eventually organize and plan projects for other students.
Encouragement and Inspiration
An important component of the Honors Program is the opportunity to attend lectures and presentations by internationally renowned speakers. In collaboration with the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership, students have been part of an informal question & answer session with such persons as Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and author of Night; Immaculée Ilibagiza, Rwandan genocide survivor and author of Left to Tell, Gerda Weissman Klein, Holocaust survivor and author of All But My Life, and Margaret Lowman, author and tropical rain forest canopy biologist. Students are offered incentives and encouragement to participate in a variety of study abroad opportunities, including short-term trips connected to courses. In addition to these opportunities, students are encouraged to develop research skills through mentor relationship with faculty and assistance in developing undergraduate research projects.
Being part of the Honors Program is more than a designation on a student’s transcript. We require that students remain active participants in the program, attending a set number of Honors events each year to maintain their good standing in the program. Freshman students participate in an Honors Retreat in conjunction with their Freshman Seminar course, Franciscan Values and Traditions. We take our goal of building a community of scholars very seriously, yet we also realize that it is important to socialize together as well. Throughout the year, the Honors Program hosts game nights, finals week study breaks, and informal discussions. We also have a wonderful Honors Lounge which offers students a place to unwind, meet with one another, enjoy a cup of coffee, study, and relax.