The Wilkes University Honors Program cultivates opportunities for self-directed, self-motivated, intellectually curious students to join others with shared interests and aspirations in a collaborative learning community.
Generally, honors course components enable students to pursue breadth, depth, complexity and/or interdisciplinarity within their undergraduate education, helping to cultivate knowledge and skills that advance students’ intellectual, personal and professional development; their contributions to the Wilkes campus community; and their preparation for post-graduate success, whether through employment or continued education.
Honors components should constitute approximately 15-20% of a student’s work in a class. This could be quantified by proportion of final grade and/or by proportion of total assignments.
Options: Potential Modes of Learning
- independent work, such as a research, case study or creative project within the student’s discipline (in-depth learning)
- exploration of broad themes and/or enduring questions across disciplines (breadth of learning)
- experiential learning, such as internships, field work and study abroad
- service-learning (conscious and purposeful integration of service and learning elements)
- residential learning community (conscious and purposeful integration of living and learning elements)
- intercollegiate undergraduate academic competitions, presentations/conferences, and/or publications
- experimental or innovative pedagogy
Options: Potential Topics
- trends, issues and/or best practices within the student’s discipline
- communities, ideas, practices, methodologies and/or values unfamiliar to the student
Options: Potential Skill Outcomes
- problem solving
- project management
- critical reading (ability to evaluate evidence-based arguments and judgments)
- critical thinking (ability to make evidence-based arguments and judgments)
- clear and persuasive writing
- clear and persuasive oral presentation
- artistic literacy
- metacognition (analysis of not just what is known, but also of how it comes to be known)
- comfort with ambiguity, uncertainty and the unfamiliar
The Wilkes University Honors Program endorses the core values of academic rigor (beyond academic expectations of regular section offerings), leadership, integrity (demonstrated learning of ethics and values), self-awareness (emphasis on self-reflection), importance of building community and appreciating diversity. Honors course components should reflect one or more of these core values.
&H (“And H”)
An &H section is added to an existing course in which both honors and non-honors students are enrolled to signal that the honors students have the opportunity to earn honors course credit. To earn this credit, honors students must be enrolled specifically in the &H section and they must satisfactorily complete work complementary to the existing syllabus. An honors student is allowed only one grade of 2.5 in an honors course to receive honors credit. All other honors course grades must be a minimum of 3.0.
H (“standalone Honors course”)
An H section signals that all students enrolled in the course complete work that would yield honors credit for that course. Non-honors students could enroll in such a course with instructor permission, but while they would need to complete all of the same work as the honors students, they would receive only non-honors credit. An honors student is allowed only one grade of 2.5 in an honors course to receive honors credit. All other honors course grades must be a minimum of 3.0.
Note: For courses that have Honors ("&H") sections, students must register for the &H section to get Honors credit. See full listings for upcoming semester here, and look for H/&H/HNR courses.
Honors students must adhere to the following terms to remain eligible to participate in the program, to retain access to the program’s resources and opportunities and, ultimately, to meet all Honors Program completion requirements:
FYF 101 H – Honors First-Year Foundations – 3.0 Credits
Incoming Honors students take a special creative-writing based FYF class that develops collaborative community while cultivating skills in writing, speaking, problem-solving, and critical thinking as well as a comfort with encountering the ambiguous, uncertain, and/or unfamiliar. Students who do not achieve a minimum grade of 2.5 for the FYF 101 Honors course in the fall will be required to take the spring 300-level Honors creative writing course. Wilkes students who have been accepted into the program as current students – after at least one semester at Wilkes - will also be required to take the spring 300-level Honors creative writing course.
HNR 390 – Honors Capstone Seminar – 1.0 Credit
This 1-credit interdisciplinary capstone seminar serves as a culminating experience for all prospective Honors Program graduates. The course is intended to explicitly engage students in reflection on what they have learned at Wilkes and how they can advance those skills and insights along their future personal and professional trajectories. Consequently, the course depends on students’ consistent investment in critically assessing what they have learned during their undergraduate education, how that can be communicated to others, and what that makes possible for future endeavors.
Student learning outcomes include
- Communicating characteristic topics, methodologies and professional concerns.
- Associated with their respective disciplines to non-expert audiences.
- Collaborating with others, both within and outside of their respective disciplines, to accomplish shared goals.
- Planning and managing long-term projects, balancing personal responsibility with coordination with team colleagues.
- Organizing and delivering coherent presentation of work, from proposing prospective tasks to articulating evidence-based outcomes.
- Specifying and critically assessing continuities as well as discontinuities across personal Wilkes educational trajectory and future endeavors.
18 additional honors credits, six of which must be at the 300 level or above
- A full semester abroad earns a waiver of 6 honors credits at the 300 level.
- A summer term abroad earns a waiver of 3 honors credits at the 300 level.
- Related independent study project (advised by instructor in relevant discipline) upon return earns 3 honors credits at the 300 level (through either fall HNR 395 or spring HNR 396).
- One internship, either during a full semester or over a summer term, earns a waiver of 3 honors credits at the 300 level.
- Related independent study project (advised by instructor in relevant discipline) connected to internship earns 3 honors credits at the 300 level (through either fall HNR 395 or spring HNR 396).
Minimum Cumulative GPA
- 3.0 after two terms at Wilkes
- 3.2 after four terms at Wilkes
- 3.3 after six terms at Wilkes
- 3.4 after eight terms at Wilkes/to meet all Honors Program completion requirements
A student is allowed only one grade of 2.5 in an honors course to receive honors credit. All other honors course grades must be a minimum of 3.0.
Students falling below the required cumulative GPA threshold will be given one full term to return their cumulative GPA to the minimum required.
Students are always encouraged to draw on the expertise of all Wilkes University community resources, such as academic support and health and wellness services, when encountering academic, personal or other challenges.
First-Year Honors Learning Community
All first-year honors students living on campus reside together in honors housing. This enables students to begin connecting with each other in an environment conducive to their shared values and aspirations. While you may live in the hall of your choice during your remaining years at Wilkes, many choose to continue living in community with other honors students.
Good Standing: Honors Program Community
Participating in Honors Program-sponsored activities, including meetings on campus with prominent guest speakers and engaging with prospective honors students, helps to cultivate knowledge and skills that advance intellectual, personal, and professional development, contributions to the Wilkes campus community, and post-graduate success, whether through employment or continued education. Our weekly newsletter, “The Honors Buzz,” announces these opportunities throughout the academic year.
All honors students must participate in at least one honors-sponsored activity per term. This commitment is waived during a study abroad term.
Good Standing: Student Conduct
Honors students must remain in good standing with regard to student conduct. Any student found guilty of violating university policies is also subject to review by the Honors Program Advisory Council.
Wilkes University Honors Program students are encouraged to use their Enhancement Grants to fund participation in co-curricular opportunities such as undergraduate research and professional conferences, international study experiences, independent research, and unpaid internships.
Questions about what type of funding is available to you should be directed toward the Honors Program, by a visit to the office (Stark Learning Center 120-122) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). An Enhancement Grant can be used to support experiences such as international or domestic study-away, internships, or other opportunities beyond what your field of study requires. Funding cannot be issued in cash, nor can it be used for Wilkes tuition or fees.