2014 – 2015
Office of Admissions
Emil H. Messikomer Hall
100 W. Rosedale Avenue
West Chester, PA 19383
Revised May 2014
703 S. High Street
Kevin W. Dean, Director
Elizabeth M. Nollen, Assistant Director
Marsha Haug, Admissions (ex-officio)
John Helion, Kinesiology
Mark Hickman, Communication Studies
Michael Jendzurski, Alumni Representative, HC XI
Gerardina Martin, Learning Assistance and Resource Center
Peter Loedel, Center for International Programs
Lisa Marano, Mathematics
Paul Morgan, Professional and Secondary Education
Christian Penny, Professional and Secondary Education
Matthew Pierlott, Philosophy
Brianna Plaxe, Student Representative, Middle Grades Preparation
Denise Polk, Communication Studies
Ruth Porritt, Philosophy
Harvey Rovine, Theatre and Dance
Steven Savage, Alumni Representative, HC VIII
Frauke Schnell, Political Science
Leigh Shaffer, Sociology (Emeritus)
Victoria Tischio, English
Donna Usher, Art (Honorary)
Christopher Whittall, Student Representative, Accounting and Finance
Joan Welch, Geography and Planning
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 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. The Honors Council, composed of representative faculty, staff, and students, assists the director in formulating and making recommendations about the college. Qualified students may participate in honors through one of three tracks: entering freshmen, honors seminar program, and the undergraduate certificate program in leadership and civic engagement.
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: a) minimum high school GPA of 3.5; b) top 20 percent of their graduating class; c) 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 an additional mathematics or science course, 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. The three courses at the 100/200 level, completed during the student's first year in the college, focus 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; 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 certificate program.
Specially designated honors housing exists in Allegheny Hall. Two students reside in a room that is air conditioned and has shower and toilet facilities. The honors floor features a designated lounge and technology center.
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.
Honors Seminar Certificate Program. Currently enrolled and transfer students who have earned a minimum of 30 credits and a minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA may apply for the honors seminar program, which affords all benefits of full Honors College membership. To receive transcript recognition, students need to complete a minimum of 12 hours of honors course work at the 350/450 level and demonstrate active contributions and service to co-curricular elements of the campus community. A minimum grade of C+ must be earned in all honors course work. A minimum of two 350-level or above courses is offered each semester. These seminar offerings are interdisciplinary with writing emphasis and have no prerequisites. Students may petition, on special circumstances, to substitute an HON 450-level independent study for three hours of credit.
Undergraduate Certificate Program in Leadership and Civic Engagement (15 semester hours). This certificate program is another opportunity for academically motivated students to engage in the study of leadership issues related to civic need and social action. Through curricular and co-curricular activities, students will sharpen their skill and practice in communication, leadership development, global awareness, recognition of diversity, and community service. Upon completion of the certificate requirements, students will receive certificate recognition on their official University transcript.
The certificate program is open to students who have completed a minimum of 12 hours of University-level course work and have earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00. Students seeking admission must also demonstrate a record of commitment to community service and leadership and must have initiated a WCU co-curricular portfolio. Admission is rolling and applications, obtained through the Honors College Office, are accepted at any time.
100 Self-Awareness and Development (3) 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.
110 Leadership Lessons and Civic Engagement Through Film (3) Introduction to the study of leadership and civic engagement through the examination of film. 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. Approved interdisciplinary course.
211 Decision Making and Public Discourse (3) 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.
212 Ethics and Moral Choice in a Technological Age (3) 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.
310 Theories and Strategies of Community Change (3) 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. Writing emphasis course.
311 Stewardship and Civic Responsibility (3) 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.
312 Educational Systems and Social Influence (3) 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. Diverse communities course.
313 American Government, Democracy, and Public Opinion (3) 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.
314 Science, Technology, and Environmental Systems (3) 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 (2,3).
315 Community and the Arts (3) 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.
320 Global Issues (3) 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. Approved interdisciplinary course.
322 Leadership with ELL’s in the Classroom and Community (3) The study of issues, leadership challenges, and strategies for the effective teaching of English Language Learners (ELL’s) in PreK-12 classrooms and for effective communicating with ELL’s in the community.
340 Pathways to Professional Leadership (1) Research, creative project, reports, and readings in preparation for postundergraduate experiences such as graduate or professional schools, fellowships, and assistantships. Junior standing. May not be used towards seminar requirements for honors or seminar certificate programs. Honors College members or permission of the honors director. This course may be taken again for credit.
341 Civic Engagement (1) Group processing, reflection, and assessment of service-learning projects and/or approved civic engagement project. Sophomore standing. May be taken for four semesters. May not be used towards seminar requirements for honors or seminar certificate programs. Permission of the honors director. This course may be taken again for credit.
351 Honors Seminar (3) 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 interdisciplinary and to have a writing emphasis. This course may be taken again for credit. Approved interdisciplinary course. Writing emphasis course.
352 Honors Seminar (3) 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 interdisciplinary and to have a writing emphasis. This course may be taken again for credit. Approved interdisciplinary course. Writing emphasis course.
381 Symposium in Arts and Humanities (3) Investigation of leadership issues as they are found within special topics in the arts and humanities. This course may be taken again for credit. Approved interdisciplinary course. Writing emphasis course.
382 Symposium in Social and Behavioral Sciences (3) Investigation of leadership issues as they are found within special topics in the social and behavioral sciences. This course may be taken again for credit. Approved interdisciplinary course. Writing emphasis course.
383 Symposium in the Sciences (3) Investigation of leadership issues as they are found within special topics in the sciences. This course may be taken again for credit. Writing emphasis course.
399 Directed Studies (1-3) Research, creative projects, reports, and readings in relationship to leadership development and civic engagement. Sophmore standing. Permission of the honors director.
This course may be taken again for credit.
451 Honors Seminar (3) 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 interdisciplinary and to have a writing emphasis. This course may be taken again for credit. Approved interdisciplinary course. Writing emphasis course.
452 Honors Seminar (3) 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 interdisciplinary and to have a writing emphasis. This course may be taken again for credit. Approved interdisciplinary course. Writing emphasis course.
480 Senior Project (3) Students identify and/or investigate a topic for in-depth study that involves a cross-disciplinary inquiry approach.
490 Capstone Project (3) 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. This course may be taken again for credit. Approved interdisciplinary course. Writing emphasis course.