Honors Program Curriculum
The curriculum includes a set of five Honors courses connected by the theme “Community.” Through these interdisciplinary courses, students will learn to apply concepts, methods, theories and skills to complex social issues. The Honors Program includes student learning outcomes from both the CSB/SJU Integrations Curriculum and those specific to the Honors Program.
The four-year program involves undergraduate research, experiential learning and developing proposals and strategies for enhancing the common good of the community.
Freshman Year—Honors 1: Community and Identity
This introductory course explores why gender, race or ethnicity – in isolation – is insufficient to conceptualize either individual or social identity. Students will learn to think critically about their own gendered, racial and ethnic identities; the social and cultural factors that shape and contribute to each; and how they affect issues of power and justice in the contemporary United States. Students are also introduced to the value-based, collaborative theory of leadership that is central to each of the five Honors courses.
Sophomore Year—Honors 2: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Communities of Scholarship
This course is team-taught by instructors from two different Ways of Thinking. Students will engage with the key concepts of a liberal arts education – which include acquiring a broad base of knowledge and integrating that knowledge across different domains – in an effort to recognize the intellectual value of different disciplinary perspectives and the usefulness of merging material and methods when studying an issue, forming a belief or making a decision.
Sophomore Year—Honors 3: Communities and Systems
In this course, students explore how constructions of race, gender and ethnicity shape cultural rules and biases and how these constructions vary across time, cultures and societies. They’ll also critically analyze how these forms of identity raise questions of justice with regard to access and participation in communal life. Specific topics, national and cultural contexts and time periods will vary by instructor.
Junior Year—Honors 4: Community, Research and Social Change
This course uncovers the privileges and responsibilities that come with community membership. Students will put their theories into practice by identifying an authentic opportunity or challenge that would enhance the common good, researching it from all angles, producing research papers and making oral presentations to community stakeholders.
Senior Year—Honors 5: Liberal Arts in Action
The final Honors course and senior capstone integrates their previous course work and leadership development through project-based learning and an integrative essay. Based on their research in Honors 4, students will design, execute and evaluate a project that enhances the common good of the community.