Honors Scholars

Where ideas are transformed into action

At the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, we’ve gone beyond the traditional “honors” model to create something truly extraordinary – a close-knit academic community focused on developing leadership skills and tackling social challenges.

Our students transform knowledge into action. They belong to a supportive, 60-person cohort that engages with the campus and local community. They define success not as “getting ahead” but as discovering their unique gifts, paths and destinies—and helping others to do the same. Through this experience, students are challenged to apply concepts, methods, theories and skills to complex social issues. They engage in community-based research and are mentored by a select group of outstanding faculty.


Discover if Honors Scholars is right for you.

Admission Requirements

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Contact Dr. Beth Wengler, program director, to learn more.

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Enhance your college experience.

Become an Honors Scholar

A Distinctive Curriculum

The curriculum is comprised of five discussion-based courses, called seminars, taken over the course of four years. Connected by the idea of “Community,” these interdisciplinary courses fulfill requirements of the CSB/SJU curriculum and combine easily with most majors and minors. Honors Scholars for Community and Collaborative Leadership includes student learning outcomes from both the CSB/SJU Integrations Curriculum and those specific to the Honors Program. 

The four-year program centers on developing leadership skills and strategies for enhancing the common good of the community.


The Social Change Model of Leadership Development

The Social Change Model (SCM) of Leadership Development views leadership as a purposeful, collaborative, values-driven process, instead of a title or position. Leaders commit to improving the groups or communities of which they are part. In this approach to leadership, a “leader” is anyone who wants to work with others to make a difference. This collaborative process means that groups must have trust and requires that group members act in ways that are consistent with their own beliefs and values as well as the group’s goals. 


Community-Based Research

Community-based Research takes place in community settings and involves community members in the design and implementation of research projects. 

Principles of Community-Based Research:
  • CBR is a collaborative enterprise between researchers (professors and/or students) and community members. It engages faculty, students and staff with diverse partners and community members.
  • The goal of CBR is to achieve social justice through social action and social change.
  • CBR validates multiple sources of knowledge and promotes the use of multiple methods of discovery.
  • In most forms, CBR is also participative (change is easier to achieve when those affected by the change are involved) and it’s qualitative.
Contact Honors Scholars
College of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s University

Dr. Beth Wengler
Director, Honors Scholars
Associate Professor, History
CSB Richarda N7

Dr. Emily Esch
Associate Director, Honors Scholars
Associate Professor, Philosophy
SJU Quad 362G