Location: 703 S. High Street
Director: Dr. Kevin W. Dean
Assistant Director: Dr. Gerardina L. Martin
Administrative Assistant: Ms. Michelle Wills
The University provides outstanding students the opportunity to participate in a challenging honors curriculum and to receive recognition at commencement when they complete the requirements.
Grounded in the liberal arts tradition, the Honors College is a cross-disciplinary curriculum designed to develop students’ intellectual abilities, become creative problem solvers, build character, and foster a commitment of lifelong learning that can develop the leaders of the 21st century. Membership is competitive and based on maintenance of a cumulative 3.25 GPA, regular enrollment in honors courses, and service to the campus community. We offer three pathways to membership in the Honors College.
The Core Program (for incoming first year students) consists of 27 hours of cross-disciplinary core courses surrounding the theme of community investment and leadership development that, along with a course drawn from mathematics and one from the sciences, fulfills the University’s general education requirements. In the fall, students take HON 100 and HON 352 and then complete two additional core seminars through their 5th semester. Certification for honors is achieved by the completion of these core courses, a minimum of two upper-level honors seminars, and a capstone project. Seminars are special topic courses that rotate on a semester basis and include such subjects as “Leadership in South Africa,” “The Human Experience of Play,” “The Rhetoric of Poverty,” “Climate Change and Environmental Stewardship,” “Peer-Assisted Learning,” and “DNA and the Social Construction of Race.” The capstone project, taken in spring of the junior year or in the senior year (once completing all core seminars), allows students to put theory into practice by inviting them to identify and investigate a challenge/unmet opportunity in a community business, nonprofit agency, or research laboratory, and then work to develop and implement an action and assessment plan to address the need
First year students, earning a minimum 3.75 cumulative grade point average in their first semester, can apply for the Honors College Bridge Program. Students contact the Honors College, complete an application, and participate in a virtual interview in early January. A select number of students are invited to alter their spring schedule by adding in two honors core seminars, putting them on track with their peers who entered the core program. Bridge Students take HON 100, in addition to two additional core seminars in the fall of their second year, thus enabling them to complete the honors curriculum within their normal time plan to graduation.
The third path, the Honors College Seminar Program (HCSP) is available for students who did not enroll in honors during their first year at the University. Eligibility requires students to have completed a minimum of 30 hours of college level coursework and achieved a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.25. The application appears on the Honors College website; applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Admission to the HCSP affords students all related privileges of honors membership and requires completion a minimum of 12 hours of special topic (HON 320 and above) seminars for full certification.
The Honors College houses the 18-credit minor in Civic and Professional Leadership (CPL). Students campus wide can declare the minor once they complete HON 110 – Leadership and Civic Engagement through Film (offered fall semesters for first year students, earning them an interdisciplinary “I” designation for general education) or CPL 120 – Leadership and Diversity (offered fall and spring for any student, earning them a diverse communities “J” designation for general education). The minor contains a capstone (CPL 300 level) course, typically taken in the students’ senior year, where students explore a leadership topic related to their vocational interests.
All incoming first year students in the honors core program live in university designated space as a living/learning community in Allegheny Hall; optional residency after the first year remains through graduation. Upon availability, non-core honors students may request placement in designated honors housing.
The Honors College and students celebrate global citizenship and international study. All Honors based international programming builds from the philosophy of interpersonal engagement; students spend time interacting with international partners where they often form memorable and lasting relationships. Since 2001, student/faculty research and service-learning groups have traveled in alternate years to South African each May. Students provide intellectual service, conducting ethnographic interviews, based on such topics as grandmothers caring for grandchildren due to the loss of their own child due to HIV-AIDS, orphan teen heads of households, and vocational training for employment opportunities. Students experience further interpersonal engagement with a soup kitchen, elementary school children and residents of Nkosi’s Haven, an HIV-AIDS hospice for children and their mothers. In 2015, a delegation traveled to Oslo, Norway. There students and faculty explored issues of environmental sustainability, historic preservation and the Nobel Peace Prize. A regularly offered fall seminar focuses on the Nobel Prize, the Honors College – in partnership with the Division of Student Affairs – hosts a fall Nobel Leadership Series and students received an invitation by the Norwegian Nobel Peace Institute (NNPI) to annually nominate a candidate for the Nobel Prize. In fall 2019, a WCU Honors student served as an intern for the NNPI and that program resumes in fall 2022.
Honors faculty actively collaborate with students engaged in a robust Honors Student Association (H.S.A.), open to all students campus wide. With over twenty-five committees, H.S.A. provides leadership development and service opportunities across a wide spectrum including such areas as: the Honors Choir and Jazz Combo, intramural teams in multiple sports, international outreach, environmental sustainability, alumni outreach, public relations, Traveling Across Generations, and the signature philanthropy Aid to South Africa. The H.S.A. receives regular commendation from the Division of Student Affairs as a top University Service Organization.
For further information about the Honors College - requirements, offerings, housing, and the co-curricular activities of the Honors Student Association, Please Consult: The Honors College Website