Location: 703 S. High Street
Honors College Website
The University provides to 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.
The core curriculum (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. 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 allows students to put theory into practice by inviting them to identify and investigate a problem in a community business, nonprofit agency, or research laboratory, and then work to solve the problem.
The Honors Seminar Certificate Program (HSCP) 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 HSCP affords students all related privileges of honors membership and requires completion a minimum of 12 hours of special topic (320 - 400-level) honors seminars for full certification.
The Honors College houses the 18 credit minor in Civic and Professional Leadership (CPL). Open to all students campus wide students 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 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 2021. .
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 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.