Honors College

School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies

703 S. High Street
610-436-2996
610-436-2620 (fax)
Honors College
honors@wcupa.edu (e-mail)
Kevin W. Dean, Director
Matthew PierlottAssistant Director
Michelle Wills, Administrative Assistant

HONORS COUNCIL


Gerardina Martin, Executive Secretary, Learning Assistance and Resource Center
Mark Hickman, President, Communication Studies
Victoria "Tori" Jackson, Alumni Representative, HC X
Charles Hardy, History
Peter Loedel, Center for International Programs
Meg Niiler, Languages and Cultures
Denise Polk, Vice President, Communication Studies
Ruth Porritt, Philosophy
Harvey Rovine, Theatre and Dance
Steven Savage, Alumni Representative, HC VIII
Leigh Shaffer, Sociology (Emeritus)
Sharonn Taylor, Student Representative, Accounting and Finance
Victoria Tischio, English
Donna Usher, Art (Honorary)
Michael Moriarty, Student Representative, Communication Studies
Shannon Shiring, Student Representative, Languages and Cultures
Charlie Warner, Student Affairs
Matthew Whittall, Alumni Representative, HC X

Honors College Mission

Modeling a commitment to liberal arts and cross-disciplinary education, the Honors College celebrates outstanding students and encourages them to strive for a high level of academic excellence. The college prepares students to become forces for positive change in the life of the campus and the broader community through scholarship, co-curricular activities, service, teamwork, and leadership. The college motivates students to examine and refine character, become active citizens, and value life-long learning. With the motto, "To Be Honorable Is to Serve," honors is about the business of preparing leaders for the 21st century.

The University provides to students with outstanding achievements in scholarship, community service, the arts, and/or leadership the opportunity to participate in a challenging honors curriculum and to receive appropriate recognition when they complete the requirements. The Honors College aims to provide an inviting environment for academically gifted and highly motivated students to interact and form a learning community of peers, faculty, administrators, and staff that will challenge and enrich the students' college experience.

The Honors College seeks cross-disciplinary connections, in the liberal arts tradition, which develop students' natural intellectual abilities, and to challenge them to use these skills on behalf of the larger community. Qualified students may participate in Honors through one of two tracks: entering freshmen in the honors living – learning program  and upper-class students and external transfer students through the  honors seminar program. Membership is highly competitive and based on attainment and maintenance of a cumulative 3.25 grade point average, regular enrollment in honors courses, and service to the campus community.

All entering first year students in the Honors College reside on the 7th floor of Allegheny Hall. Students in good standing may retain space in honors housing throughout their undergraduate experience. Suite-style, air-conditioned rooms with bathroom facilities house two students. The 7th floor of Allegheny also hosts a designated lounge with projection system, free laundry facilities and ice machine, a music practice room with a baby grand piano and technology center equipped with video editing capabilities for Honors student use. Students also have membership in the Honors Student Association.

An Honors Council, which includes both faculty and students, sets the policies of the college. A committee of the council, working with the director, determines the admission and retention of students. Students completing the full honors program receive designation on their University transcript and the right to wear a medallion of achievement at commencement. Recognition at commencement is based on the student's academic record as of the completed semester prior to commencement. 

Program Design

The Honors College aims to provide an inviting environment for academically gifted and highly motivated students to interact and form a learning community of peers, faculty, administrators, and staff that will challenge and enrich the students' college experience. Grounded in the liberal arts tradition, the Honors College seeks cross-disciplinary connections in order to develop students' natural intellectual abilities and to challenge them to employ those gifts on behalf of the larger community. For this reason, the West Chester University Honors College considers "honors" to be more than a matter of strong grades; it implies a decision to use knowledge as an active problem solver in both the campus community and in the world. To that end, the Honors College seeks to build character and foster a commitment to life-long learning that prepares leaders for the 21st Century. 

Honors College membership comprises students with outstanding achievements in scholarship, community service, the arts, and/or leadership. Membership in honors is highly competitive with a maximum of 40 seats open to entering freshmen each fall. Current membership includes students from 61 different academic majors. Incoming freshmen are invited to apply to the college if they have a minimum 1200 SAT (combined math and verbal score) and a combination of the following:

  1. Minimum high school GPA of 3.5
  2. Top 20 percent of their graduating class
  3. A record of achievement in high school honors/AP courses

Candidates are reviewed and selected on the basis of commitment to service, leadership potential, and fit with the college's philosophy.

Membership in the Honors College enables students to enhance their strengths through a specially designed 27-hour core of cross-disciplinary courses that, with one additional course in both mathematics and science, meet general education requirements for honors students. Cross-disciplinary means that all courses in the core contain information drawn from a minimum of two academic disciplines. The honors core incorporates 100-, 200-, and 300-level courses. Students complete three courses at the 100/200 level, during their first year in the college, focusing on personal development, including physical and psychological well-being, communication, and ethics and morality in a technological age. Courses at the 300 level, completed by the middle of the student's third year, build upon the learner's knowledge of self and address broader perspectives of community and social change. Learners study significant historical and contemporary figures, literary works, and the context in which they helped model society. Students become aware of the economic realities that impact change and discover how educational and political structure, science, and the fine arts influence society. Honors certification is awarded upon completion of the core 27 hours; one course in mathematics (we strongly recommend statistics for those majors without a specific mathematics requirement); one course in general education approved science; two upper-level, cross-disciplinary honors seminars; and a capstone project. Students completing the full honors curriculum receive designation on their University transcript and the right to wear a medallion of achievement at commencement. Recognition at commencement is based on the student's academic record as of the completed semester prior to commencement.

In order to be in good standing with the Honors College, students must maintain a 3.25 cumulative GPA, be active in a minimum of one campus co-curricular activity, and regularly register for the sequence of honors core courses and seminars. Failure to maintain these requirements will cause the student to be placed on probation from honors and may lead to his or her dismissal from the College.

College probation and dismissal follow these procedures: Once a student in the Honors College has earned 31 credit hours, his or her cumulative GPA will be reviewed. If the student's average is below a 3.0, the student will be dropped from the Honors College. If a student's average is below a 3.25 but not below a 3.0, the student will be placed on Honors College probation for two semesters, during which time the student is expected to raise his or her cumulative GPA to a 3.25. If at the end of the two semesters the cumulative GPA is not a 3.25 or higher, the student will be dismissed from the college. Students also may be placed on probation if they are not actively participating in a minimum of one campus co-curricular activity or if they are not regularly registering for and completing the sequence of honors core courses and seminars. No student will be eligible for honors transcript recognition without maintaining a 3.25 cumulative GPA upon completion of the Honors College's required elements. A minimum grade of C+ must be earned in all honors course work that is counted towards graduation.

Students dismissed from the Honors College may seek reinstatement by contacting the College's director. Students may appeal the dismissal or probationary action for extraordinary circumstances by contacting the Honors Director who will take the appeal before the Honors Council for a final decision. Any student who is dismissed from Honors or voluntarily chooses to leave the College may not seek admission to the seminar  program.

Specially designated honors housing exists in Allegheny Hall.The living-learning community comprises a critical component of the WCU honors experience.  All first year students live in the honors designated residency and are afforded the opportunity to retain space throughout their undergraduate program of study. 

The Honors College actively promotes faculty mentored undergraduate student research which may lead to poster or paper presentations at local, state, regional, national and international contexts or to publication.  Students engage in grant writing skill development and gain clearance certification in human subject research.  Honors hosts a campus wide Graduate School Fair and a professional development seminar, providing students encouragement in seeking opportunities for post baccalaureate professional and/or graduate study leading towards advanced degrees.    

An intentional focus on leadership in a global community is evident by a continuing partnership in South Africa. A seminar-based research/service course, incorporating international travel, ideally occurs in spring of even-numbered years. A leadership theories course, offered each fall, draws lessons from the South Africa transformations from apartheid to democracy. Aid to South Africa has become the signature philanthropic program of the Honors College.  The annual event offers educational exhibits and raises funds in support of HIV-AIDS afflicted children in South Africa.     

Fulfillment of the Honors College’s mission to service comes primarily through a vibrant Honors Student Association (H.S.A.), the co-curricular arm of the honors experience. The H.S.A. provides students a myriad of opportunities to put leadership theory into practice for the service of others.  Students witness their abilities to enact change through their efforts in civic engagement.  Students who document a minimum 30 hours of service in a minimum of seven semesters or who achieve a minimum of 250 documented hours qualify as Donna M. Carney Service Scholars.

 

Program in Honors College

Minor in Honors College

Certificate in Honors College

All undergraduate students are held to the academic policies and procedures outlined in the undergraduate catalog.  Students are encouraged to review departmental handbooks for program tips, suggested course sequences, and explanations of procedures. When applicable, additional policies for specific department programs may be listed below.

Admissions Policies

Minor in Civic and Professional Leadership

Students must complete either HON 110 or CPL 120 before applying to the minor.  

Honors Seminar Certificate

Current and transfer students, who have earned a minimum of 30 credits and a minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA, may apply for this certificate program.

Program Requirement Completion Policies

Minor in Civic and Professional Leadership

Students may obtain minor recognition on their transcript through completion of 18 credits of coursework and 3 credits of pass/fail for completion of 6 co-curricular competencies. Students must have:

  1. An overall 2.5 GPA in the minor at the completion of coursework,
  2. Earned a grade of C or higher in all courses counted towards the minor, and
  3. Have verification of completion of a minimum of six co-curricular competencies, as documented in the student's co-curricular portfolio.

Other Policies

Minor in Civic and Professional Leadership

Students must earn a C or higher in all courses counted towards the minor.

Honors Seminar Certificate

Aside from the required coursework, students must also demonstrate active contributions and service to co-curricular elements of the campus community.    

Professors

Kevin W. Dean (1991)

Director, Honors College

B.S., Bowling Green University; M.A., Miami University of Ohio; Ph.D., University of Maryland

John G. Helion (1990)

B.S., State University of New York; M.A., Ed.M., Ed.D., Columbia University

Peter H. Loedel (1996)

B.A., B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara

Lisa E. Marano (2002)

Mathematics

B.A., Rider University; M.S., Ph.D., Lehigh University

Denise M. Polk (2005)

Chairperson, Communication Studies

B.A., Baldwin-Wallace College; M.A., Miami University; Ph.D., Kent State University

Ruth Porritt (1991)

B.A., John Carroll University; Ph.D., Purdue University

Harvey Rovine (1992)

Chairperson, Theatre and Dance

B.S., Towson University; M.A., University of Central Florida; Ph.D., University of Illinois

Victoria Tischio (1998)

B.S., M.A., Southern Connecticut State University; Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany

Associate Professor

Matthew Pierlott (2006)

Assistant Director, Honors College

Chairperson, Philosophy

B.A., University of Scranton; Ph.D., Marquette University

Assistant Professors

Mark Hickman (2009)

B.A., Marshall University; M.A., Miami University of Ohio

Gerardina L. Martin (2013)

B.S., M.M., M.A., West Chester University; M.A.Ed., University of Phoenix

CPL

CPL 120. Leadership Theories for Today's Society. 3 Credits.

Introduction to the study of leadership theory and practice as it relates to the students' civic and professional development. The course content places special emphasis on leadership practices and the relationship between leaders and followers inspired by social inequities surrounding issues of race, ethnicity, class, gender and inclusion.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement.
Typically offered in Spring.

CPL 301. Contemporary Challenges in Business Leadership. 3 Credits.

One of six junior-senior level seminars students may select from to fulfill the CPL minor. Students reflect on their personal leadership development to date. CPL 301 gives specific focus to the range of contemporary leadership challenges and opportunities within the multi-faceted fields of business.

CPL 302. Contemporary Challenges in Political Leadership. 3 Credits.

One of six junior-senior level seminars students may select from to fulfill the CPL minor. Students reflect on their personal leadership development to date. CPL 302 gives specific focus to the range of contemporary leadership challenges and opportunities within the multi-faceted fields of community development and politics.
Pre / Co requisites: CPL 302 requires prerequisites of CPL minor, Junior/Senior status, and completion of one of the following: CRJ 110, HIS 150, HON 310, MAT 161, PSC 100, SOC 200, SWO 225, or corequisites of CHE 371, COM 340, PHI 355.

CPL 303. Contemporary Challenges in Educational Leadership. 3 Credits.

One of six junior-senior level seminars students may select from to fulfill the CPL minor. Students reflect on their personal leadership development to date. CPL 303 gives specific focus to the range of contemporary leadership challenges and opportunities within the multi-faceted fields and contexts of education.

CPL 304. Contemporary Challenges in Arts Leadership. 3 Credits.

One of six junior-senior level seminars student may selecte from to fulfill the CPL minor. Students reflect on their personal leadership development to date. CPL 304 gives specific focus to the range of contemporary leadership challenges and opportunities within the multi-faceted fields of the Arts and Art Administration.

CPL 305. Contemporary Challenges in Public Health Leadership. 3 Credits.

One of six junior-senior level seminars students may select from to fulfill the CPL minor. Students reflect on their personal leadership development to date. CPL 305 gives specific focus to the range of contemporary leadership challenges and opportunities within the mulch-faceted fields of public health.

CPL 306. Contemporary Challenges in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Leadership. 3 Credits.

One of six junior-senior level seminars students may select from to fulfill the CPL minor. Students reflect on their personal leadership development to date. CPL 306 gives specific focus to the range of contemporary leadership challenges and opportunities within the multi-faceted fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics; the STEM programs.
Pre / Co requisites: CPL 306 open to CPL minors only, 60+ earned credits, and one of the following: BIO 230, CHE 101, CHE 103, CHE 107, COM 201, CSC 110, CSC 115, CSC 141, HON 314, MAT 121, MAT 162, MAT 301, PHI 125, PHY 125, PHY 100, PHY 130, PHY 170.
Typically offered in Fall.

CPL 399. Leadership Theory to Practice. 3 Credits.

Students will identify and document six leadership competencies in a co-curricular portfolio in collaboration with the Division of Student Affairs. Competencies will be assessed in the semester in which they are submitted. Students in the CPL minor must have documented a minimum of three competencies by the end of their junior year and all six competencies by the fifth week of their final semester. Students may enroll in pass/fail in the semester in which they intend to submit documentation of their final competency for assessment.
Consent: Permission of the Department required to add.

HON

HON 100. Self-Awareness and Development. 3 Credits.

Focus on methods individuals use to develop skills in the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social aspect of life. A holistic approach to both physical and mental aspects will be addressed. Methods for enhancement and maintenance of strengths will be discussed as well as approaches to risk taking.
Typically offered in Fall.

HON 110. Civic Engagement and Theories of Leadership. 3 Credits.

Introduction to the interdisciplinary study of leadership theory and civic engagement through the use of films as case studies. The course content places special emphasis on leadership practices and the relationships between leaders and followers inspired by social inequities surrounding issues of race, ethnicity, class, gender and inclusion.
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement.
Typically offered in Fall.

HON 211. Decision Making and Public Discourse. 3 Credits.

Examination of the role of ethical dialogue and debate in public policy making of rotating topics such as the environment or health care. Emphasis on logic and critical thinking as key roles in identifying problems, devising solutions, and evaluating proposed policies. Consistent with the emphasis on the public forum, students will develop public speaking and critical listening skills.
Typically offered in Spring.

HON 212. Ethics and Moral Choice in Tech Age. 3 Credits.

Approaches to ethical recommendation and moral decision-making processes. Engagement of the scientific approach by using case studies from genetics, ecology, physics, chemistry, and computer science to allow students to confront ways traditional views of ethics and moral decision-making apply to a contemporary world.
Typically offered in Spring.

HON 310. Theories and Strategies of Community Change. 3 Credits.

Spectrum of approaches to social change and significant figures who make these changes possible. Works of historical and sociological literature, including biographies and autobiographies of key figures, will be identified as a basis for observation of how thinkers of the past identified key issues and articulated solutions to those problems.
Typically offered in Spring.

HON 311. Stewardship and Civic Engagement. 3 Credits.

Foundations of market and nonmarket economies as they relate to good stewardship and civic responsibility. Fusing literature and economics, the values and limitations of market capitalism and command socialism will be addressed.
Typically offered in Fall.

HON 312. Educational Systems and Social Influence. 3 Credits.

An introduction to philosophy, history, and sociology of American education. The evolution of the school as an institution in a democratic society; its relationships to issues dealing with race, class, gender and ethnicity; the geographical implications the school has for the community and vice versa; the degree to which school should and/or can serve as agents for social change.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement.
Typically offered in Fall.

HON 313. American Government, Democracy and Public Opinion. 3 Credits.

Influence of the role of public opinion in a democracy by examination of how individuals form their opinions and how those opinions influence government and public policy making. Such areas as government structure, political thought, and sociologic and geographic influences will be covered.
Typically offered in Fall.

HON 314. Science, Technology and Environmental Systems. 3 Credits.

LEC (3), LAB (0)
Impact of technology and the environment as forces of influence on communities. The lab course will combine a historical overview with a contemporary focus on ways the science community is developing and regulating ideas for the future. Laboratory field experiences will involve data collection and observation in a variety of environmental contexts.
Typically offered in Spring.

HON 315. Community and the Arts. 3 Credits.

Investigation of the arts as agents of social change and influence. Significant historical and contemporary works from art, dance, music, and theatre will be identified for case analysis.
Typically offered in Fall.

HON 320. Honors Seminar: Global Issues. 3 Credits.

Special topics involving study at an international location. Subject matter rotates and is determined by the honors director and the Honors Council through competitive submission from University faculty.
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement.
Typically offered in Spring.
Repeatable for Credit.

HON 322. Developing Leadership with ELLs in the Classroom & Community. 3 Credits.

The study of issues, leadership challenges and strategies for the effective teaching of English Language Learners (ELLs) in Pre K-12 classrooms and for effective communicating with ELLs in the community.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement.
Typically offered in Fall.

HON 340. Pathways to Professional Leadership. 0.5-1 Credits.

Research, creative projects, reports and readings in preparation for post-undergraduate experiences such as graduate or professional schools fellowships and assistantships. Junior standing. May not be used towards seminar requirements for Honors. Honors College members or permission of the Director of Honors Program.
Typically offered in Spring.
Repeatable for Credit.

HON 341. Civic Engagement. 1 Credit.

Group processing, reflection and assessment of service learning projects related to Bonner Leader Program and/or approved civic engagement project. Sophomore standing. May be taken four semesters. May not be used towards seminar requirements for Honors. Permission of the Director of Honors.
Consent: Permission of the Department required to add.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.
Repeatable for Credit.

HON 351. Honors Seminar. 3 Credits.

First of two special topics offered fall semester. Subject matter rotates and is determined by the Honors director and the Honors Council through competitive submission from University faculty. Seminars are designed to be cross-disciplinary and to have a writing emphasis.
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement, Writing Emphasis.
Typically offered in Spring.
Repeatable for Credit.

HON 352. Honors Seminar. 3 Credits.

First of two special topics offered spring semester. Subject matter rotates and is determined by the Honors director and the Honors Council through competitive submission from University faculty. Seminars are designed to be cross-disciplinary and to have a writing emphasis.
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement, Writing Emphasis.
Typically offered in Fall.
Repeatable for Credit.

HON 353. A Nobel Idea: The Norway Experience for Promoting Peace and Developing Leaders. 3 Credits.

Exploration of strategies leaders employ as they seek the establishment of peace. Case studies are drawn from Nobel Peace Laureates.
Typically offered in Summer.

HON 355. Environmental Stewardship. 3 Credits.

Exploration of climate change in the northern hemisphere over the past thousand years, focusing on Norway, the United States, and the North Atlantic world and the challenges leaders face in environmental stewardship.
Typically offered in Summer.

HON 381. Symposium in the Arts and Humanities. 3 Credits.

Investigation of leadership issues as they are found within special topics in the arts and humanities.
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement, Writing Emphasis.
Repeatable for Credit.

HON 382. Symposium in Social and Behavioral Science. 3 Credits.

Investigation of leadership issues as they are found within special topics in the social and behavioral sciences.
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement, Writing Emphasis.
Repeatable for Credit.

HON 383. Symposium in the Sciences. 3 Credits.

Investigation of leadership issues as they are found within special topics in the sciences.
Gen Ed Attribute: Writing Emphasis.
Repeatable for Credit.

HON 399. Directed Studies. 1-3 Credits.

Research, creative projects, reports and readings in relationship to leadership development and civic engagement, sophomore standing.

HON 451. Honors Seminar. 3 Credits.

Second of two special topics offered fall semester. Subject matter rotates and is determined by the Honors director and the Honors Council through competitive submission from University faculty. Seminars are designed to be cross-disciplinary and to have a writing emphasis.
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement, Writing Emphasis.
Typically offered in Spring.
Repeatable for Credit.

HON 452. Honors Seminar. 3 Credits.

Second of two special topics offered spring semester. Subject matter rotates and is determined by the Honors director and the Honors Council through competitive submission from University faculty. Seminars are designed to be cross-disciplinary and to have a writing emphasis.
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement, Writing Emphasis.
Typically offered in Fall.
Repeatable for Credit.

HON 480. Senior Project. 3 Credits.

Students identify and/or investigate a topic for in-depth study that involves a cross disciplinary inquiry approach.

HON 490. Senior Project. 3-6 Credits.

Students will identify and investigate a problem in a community business, nonprofit agency, or research laboratory, and then work to solve the problem. Students will be expected to play an active role in the problem-solving effort and contribute a minimum of ten hours each week to help solve the problem. Students will seek interaction with the CEO, senior officer(s), and/or senior investigators of the business, agency, or laboratory, who will serve as leader models for student study. While projects are generally completed in the senior year, students may register for this course upon completion of the 27-hour core or by special permission of the Honors College director.
Gen Ed Attribute: Writing Emphasis.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.
Repeatable for Credit.