Goals and Objectives of the Honors Program

Goals

Because the Honors Program is simultaneously a scholarship program, an academic enrichment program, and a cultural enrichment program, it has more than one set of overall goals.

The honors scholarship program has the following goals:

  1. To identify the best students in each year's applicant pool and, by means of scholarship awards, to encourage them to matriculate
  2. To encourage the best of our students, once enrolled, to remain at the college (this goal pertains especially to the in-course scholarship competition)
  3. To affect positively the intellectual atmosphere on campus by enrolling a large number of academic leaders, i.e., the honors scholars
  4. To affect positively the social and cultural climate on campus by enrolling a large number of honors scholars, many of whom rise to leadership positions in campus organizations

The academic enrichment program has the overall goal of providing intellectual opportunity and enrichment for scholarship students and other high achievers once they enroll here. This overarching goal comprises the following components:

  1. To provide an interdisciplinary academic experience for honors scholars as they enter the college by means of a course that introduces them to a subject area as well as to at least two disciplinary approaches to it
  2. To foster independent thinking, research, and writing in honors scholars as well as other students, by means of summer research grants, departmental honors, and senior fellowships

The social and cultural enrichment program has the following goals:

  1. To foster friendships among the honors scholars as a group
  2. To increase the range and quality of interaction among the honors scholars themselves and between the honors scholars and the faculty
  3. To broaden the cultural horizons of the honor scholars by providing access to a variety of musical, theatrical, and cultural events in the surrounding area--events that might otherwise be unavailable because of distance or cost

Objectives

Unlike the Rhetoric and Humanities Programs, the Honors Program is simultaneously a scholarship program, an academic enrichment program, and a cultural enrichment program. In addition, most of the opportunities offered by the Honors Program are options, not requirements. But the following seem to be our academic expectations for all students, including honors scholars, who participate in the Honors Program:

All honors scholars will perform academically at a high level throughout their college career, as demonstrated by their carrying fifteen hours each semester and by meeting or exceeding in each semester the grade average required of their scholarship rank (3.0 Cushing and Patrick Henry scholars; 3.15 Venable scholars; 3.3 Allan scholars; 3.0 Harrison scholars).

Honors scholars who participate in the Introductory Honors Seminar and in occasional upper-division honors courses will learn

  • how researchers in various disciplines go about the task of generating, criticizing, and verifying knowledge
  • how to relate information and ideas learned in one discipline to those learned in other disciplines
  • how to participate meaningfully--to learn and to contribute to others' learning--in a seminar setting

Students (including some honors scholars) who participate in the Student Summer Research Program will learn

  • to write a clear, detailed, articulate research proposal
  • to explore and master an interest piqued but not satisfied in available course work
  • to express cogently in writing the results of their research
  • to take charge of their own learning and move beyond a dependence on their teachers

Students (including some honor scholars) who participate in the Senior Fellowship Program or the Departmental Honors Program will learn

  • to explore and master an interest piqued but not satisfied in available course work
  • to undertake and bring to completion, independently and in a disciplined way, a large-scale intellectual investigation
  • to take charge of their own learning and move beyond a dependence on their teachers
  • to express cogently, both orally and in writing, the results of their research
  • to develop scholarly habits essential for success at the next level, in graduate and professional school