Honors College

Academic Advising Offices:
20 Johnson Hall
330-672-2312
http://www.kent.edu/honors

What is our praise or pride
But to imagine excellence and try to make it?
—Richard Wilbur

The Honors College is a non-degree-granting college of the university whose primary role is to provide learning opportunities, intellectual challenge and a supportive environment for bright and motivated students. The Experimental and Integrative Studies division of the college offers nontraditional learning and teaching experiences for the entire university community’s students and faculty.

The Honors College is at the center of Kent State University’s nearly 100-year tradition of providing special attention to undergraduates with outstanding intellectual and creative ability. Within the framework of the larger university, with its diverse academic programs and excellent research and library facilities, the Honors College offers students enriched and challenging courses and programs, opportunities for close relationships with their peers and faculty, and careful advising to meet their interests and goals.

ADMISSIONS

Students interested in admission to the Honors College as freshmen are encouraged to apply during their senior year in high school. Application materials include records of academic performance and scores on nationally standardized tests. The admissions staff also seeks evidence of creative ability, leadership, service and motivation.

Interested students are invited to visit the campus to meet with an honors advisor, visit an honors class and learn about academic programs of interest to them. Arrangements may be made by contacting the Honors College (contact information above). Students currently enrolled in the university and transfer students may apply for admission to the college as late as the end of their junior year.

SCHOLARSHIPS

The Honors College awards merit scholarships to selected entering freshmen who have the potential for superior scholarly and creative work at the university. Scholarship recipients are members of the Honors College and can retain their scholarships for four years if they meet specified academic expectations. Students already enrolled in the Honors College also can apply for a limited number of merit scholarships.

Entering freshmen applying for admission to the University are automatically considered for admission to the Honors College and Freshman Honors Scholarships, ranging from $1,500 to full in-state tuition, room, board and books. Most honors scholarships are awarded to students who may select any major for their undergraduate studies. Some scholarships, however, are reserved for students in specific academic disciplines (e.g., journalism, business, physics, humanities and education).

The Creative Artist Awards Competition (held annually on the Kent Campus) provides $1,500 to $3,500 to students majoring in art, dance, music, theatre and visual communication design. Recipients are selected on the basis of academic credentials and an audition or portfolio review. College students are welcome to join the Honors College as well as apply for $1,000 Honors Academic Achievement Awards.

THE HONORS CONCEPT

The Honors College is guided by two basic principles: The first is a responsibility to provide academic work that offers intellectual challenge to the best students in the university and demands of them the best effort of which they are capable. To this end, courses are designed to stretch the mind, sharpen skills and encourage high standards of performance.

The second principle is a belief that, regardless of degree program, students should be liberally educated. That is, they should understand and appreciate the language, literature and history of our culture; the social, political and economic structure of our society; the creative achievements that enrich our lives; and the basic assumptions and substance of the natural sciences. Honors students are, therefore, encouraged to select courses that provide an understanding of the arts, humanities and sciences.

HONORS WORK

Honors courses are available throughout the undergraduate years and can be used to meet requirements in all degree-granting colleges and schools of the university and to satisfy the Kent Core. All honors freshmen are enrolled in the year-long Freshman Honors Colloquium. The colloquium is designed to be a rigorous course in reading, thinking and writing about literature and ideas. The goal of the course is to develop habits of intellectual inquiry, mature understanding and effective communication that will serve the students through the college years and afterward.

Beyond the freshman colloquium, many honors courses offered by distinguished faculty from academic departments throughout the university are available each semester. Although these courses differ significantly in content, from art to zoology, they share a common form. Class enrollments are small, and students can get to know each other and their professors in an environment that encourages learning through discussion, reading, individual work and writing. These programs combine a core of honors courses common to all majors and honors courses in basic disciplines including the humanities, the social sciences and mathematics/science.

Honors students are encouraged to study on a one-to-one basis with members of the faculty. Individual honors work is possible from freshman through senior years and can take many forms. For example, it has been used by students to enrich the content of a non-honors course, to “create” a course not available in the regular curriculum or to undertake a specialized scholarly or creative project.

Many honors seniors conclude their undergraduate careers by completing a sustained scholarly or creative project under faculty guidance. This Senior Honors Thesis/Project is one of the requirements for Graduation with Honors discussed below. Theses and projects have been submitted by seniors from all of the degree-granting colleges and schools at Kent State University and have ranged over many disciplines and areas of creative endeavor. Novels and plays have been written; research has been undertaken in the natural and social sciences; historical events and periods have been critically analyzed; architectural models have been proposed for urban renewal sites; and paintings and films have been created and exhibited. Each thesis/project attests to the willingness of honors students to extend learning beyond the classroom to self-directed efforts appropriate to the conclusion of an enriched program of study.

Other opportunities for honors work are available. These include sophomore, junior and senior honors colloquia that are frequently interdisciplinary in content; enrollment in graduate-level courses during the undergraduate years; and participation in combined bachelor’s/master’s degree programs.

GRADUATION WITH HONORS

The college offers three programs for Graduation with Honors. Although each has minimum GPA requirements, the primary emphasis is on the successful completion of an undergraduate degree program, including a Senior Honors Thesis or Project. Graduation with Departmental Honors stresses upper-division work in the students’ major department. The requirements are sufficiently flexible to enable undergraduates who join honors in their junior year to participate in and complete this program. Graduation with General Honors requires sustained participation in honors work throughout the undergraduate years. Students who complete this program take approximately one-fourth of their credits in honors courses and independent study. The rigorous standards of performance required for Graduation with University Honors make this the highest recognition the university can bestow on a graduating senior.

Students who do not wish to graduate with honors may participate in honors work on a more informal basis, selecting courses and developing independent study projects to meet collegial and departmental requirements or to satisfy personal interests. Students who graduate from the university as Honors College Scholars are identified by a notation on their transcripts.

HONORS ADVISING

The Honors College has its own advising staff whose first contact with students is just before the start of the freshman year. At this time, students discuss opportunities for honors work and select courses for the fall. Freshmen maintain frequent contact with their advisors and are encouraged to develop a long-range plan to organize their academic work in accordance with their interests and career aspirations. In addition to the college advising staff, faculty throughout the university are available to assist honors students in selecting courses to meet departmental requirements for graduation. For students who are planning to go on to graduate and professional schools, the college sponsors an annual workshop dealing with application procedures and with financial assistance and fellowship opportunities.

COMMUNITY

The Honors College residence building, the Stopher-Johnson Complex, is located at the center of campus. Honors students living there have the best of both worlds—a nurturing and stimulating first-year experience with other honors students, as well as convenient access to the surrounding Kent State campus community.

The Honors Center includes the three-story Johnson and Stopher Halls, a library/computer room, gallery space, a reception lobby and advising offices. Students live just steps away from the Honors College dean and its academic advisors.

Student involvement in the affairs of the college is a tradition. For example, honors students are eligible to serve as voting members of the Honors College Policy Council. This group, composed of an equal number of honors students and faculty, participates in policy decisions affecting the college. Each year, honors students, faculty and staff cooperate to organize Honors Week, a celebration of intellectual and creative achievement. Outstanding individuals from both inside and outside the university are invited to present challenging ideas, innovative research and demonstrations of artistic talent to the university community.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) PROGRAM

Kent State University participates in the Advanced Placement Program administered by the College Board. The latter prepares tests to assess the work of high school students who have taken college-level courses at their high schools. Examinations are offered in art, biology, chemistry, computer science, economics, English literature and composition, government, history, mathematics, music, physics, psychology, statistics, French, German, Latin and Spanish. The university will grant college credit for such courses in which satisfactory scores have been attained by the high school student. The Honors College administers the AP program for Kent State; information can be found on the Honors College website.

EXPERIMENTAL AND INTEGRATIVE STUDIES

The objectives of Experimental and Integrative Studies are:

  1. To provide a means by which faculty and other qualified members of the university community may develop, offer and test  innovative courses that meet a legitimate intellectual need of students but are not regular curricular offerings of the existing academic units.
  2. To provide for the offering of courses on a temporary and topical basis that deal with matters of current social or cultural concern in a manner that presents a variety of perspectives.
  3. To provide occasionally for the offerings of courses such as Career Exploration that support university programs.
  4. To encourage interdisciplinary and integrative teaching and learning of a kind not frequently found in the traditional academic units.
  5. To encourage generally a spirit of curricular experimentation, integration and innovation in course content and pedagogy throughout the university community.

Experimental and Integrative Studies provides opportunity for faculty and staff to develop courses not presently available in the university curriculum. This is accomplished through selected topics offerings, which are now letter-graded with a few exceptions. Commonly offered under this title are courses such as Career Exploration, Film Classics and Diabetes Management. While the coursework is often rigorous and demanding, the non-traditional approach toward teaching lends itself well to exploring new modes of learning. To ensure that experimental work does not preempt students’ primary academic work, students may take only one experimental class a semester (exception: Service-Learning Contract). Each semester, Experimental and Integrative Studies publishes its own catalog (found on the Honors College website) describing the selected topics for that semester.

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