FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS and RELATED OBSERVATIONS about FMU HONORS
If the following doesn't answer all your questions (or even if it does!) feel free to come speak with FMU's Director of University Honors, Dr. Jon Tuttle, in Founders Hall 146: 843-661-1521, firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. HOW DOES FMU HONORS COMMUNICATE WITH ME?
Incoming freshmen identified by our Admissions Office as Honors-eligible should receive a letter in late spring containing, among other things, an application and brochure for FMU Honors. You should also get a letter regarding special sessions for Honors students during Summer Orientation. If you have not received such mailings but feel you should have, do not hesitate to contact the Director (above).
Upon admission and then acceptance to FMU Honors, most communication (including information about early pre-registration and social events for Honors students) will be conducted via email, so it's crucial that the Director and the Honors Administrative Assistant, Beverly Owens, have your correct email address.
Current and transfer students, once they've applied to and been accepted by FMU Honors, will also want to make sure their preferred email remains on file.
If you cannot access e-mail, give your name, local address, and local phone number to Ms. Owens (email@example.com) and let her know that's how you want to be contacted. Honors information is also posted on two bulletin boards - one outside the Honors classroom (CEMC 241) and one on the first floor of the Leatherman Science Facility.
2. WHAT CONSTITUTES BEING, REMAINING, OR BECOMING “HONORS-ELIGIBLE”?
Entering freshmen are Honors-eligible with an SAT score of at least 1100 (combined Math and Verbal) or a composite ACT score of 24. Other students who believe their academic, artistic or other achievements qualify them as Honors-eligible are encouraged to apply.
Current or transfer students must have a gpa of 3.25 and apply for admission to FMU Honors before being allowed to enroll in Honors courses.
Remaining in Honors depends upon completing a certain number of Honors hours while maintaining a minimum overall gpa (see below). Students whose grades fall below Honors-eligible thresholds will be granted a one-semester Honors probation to correct the problem and encouraged to meet with the Director during that probation.
To maintain eligibility, FMU Honors students must complete Honors hours as follows:
of the first 12 hours, 3 should be Honors at 3.0 gpa
of the first 30 hours, 6 should be Honors at 3.25
of the first 60 hours, 12 should be Honors at 3.25
of the first 75 hours, 15 should be Honors at 3.25
of the first 90 hours, 18 should be Honors at 3.25
Students who do not achieve these hours/grade point averages will present a one-semester plan for correcting the deficiency and be placed on probation during that semester. Students who do not achieve their plan will be considered ineligible.
3. DO I NEED TO APPLY TO BE ACCEPTED INTO THE HONORS PROGRAM?
Yes--beginning Fall, 2014. During the Summer 2014 Orientation Programs, if not before, incoming Honors-eligible studentswill be identified and provided with an application.
4. WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO IN ORDER TO GRADUATE “WITH UNIVERSITY HONORS”?
You must meet the following requirements:
Complete all regular University and departmental or school requirements.
Maintain an overall GPA of 3.25 or above, including transfer courses.
Complete a minimum of 21 hours in Honors Courses, with a GPA of 3.25 or higher in all Honors Courses taken. Of the 21 hours, 3 must consist of the Honors 397/Colloquium and 3 must consist of Honors 491/Independent Study or an acceptable substitute. Grades below B in the Honors Colloquium and the Honors Independent Study do not count toward credit for the Honors degree, although they do count toward regular degree requirements.
Students who graduate "With University Honors" are recognized at the Commencement Ceremonies with FMU Honors medallions.
5. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HONORS CLASSES AND HONORS SECTIONS OF REGULAR CLASSES?
Each semester, several Honors courses (HNRS 200, 201, 202 symposia, HNRS 250-290 Special Topics Courses, and others) are offered; these are courses available only to Honors students. All of these courses earn elective and/or General Education credit towards graduation, as well as towards graduating “With University Honors.” Not all earn credit toward a particular major or minor.
Other courses (for instance, English 200-H) are special sections of "regular" courses. These Honors sections are capped at 15 students, and involve more interaction among the students and faculty. Many Honors classes are taught in the Honors classroom, a seminar-style room with lounge area, a SmartBoard and Keurig coffee maker.
The content of Honors courses is sometimes more difficult, owing to the ability of the students taking them, but more typically they are simply "different" in that the instructor, assuming a level of maturity and preparedness in the students, may rely more on seminar-style conversation or Socratic dialogue than on traditional lecture-and-test formats. To put that another way: they are frequently more fun, more engaging, more substantial than "regular" courses.
6. WHAT ARE HNRS 200, 201 AND 202, THE HONORS SYMPOSIA ? CAN I TAKE THEM MORE THAN ONCE FOR CREDIT? AM I REQUIRED TO TAKE THEM?
These courses are 1-credit hour symposia in different discplines. All are graded S (Satisfactory) or U (Unsatisfactory). A symposium, in this case, refers to a discussion forum. They depend on student interaction and conversation, usually in response to a particular text or event, and generally involve less actual homework (though probably some written personal responses). In HNRS 200/Science Symposium for instance, students attend weekly lectures sponosord by departments in the Natural Sciences, then meet and discuss what they've heard. HNRS 200 is offered in both Fall and Spring and can be taken for elective credit up to 3 times. It is not required to graduate “With University Honors.”
The HNRS 201/Humanities & Social Sciences symposium will likewise ask students to attend a weekly event--a play, gallery opening, lecture, musical performance, etc.--and respond both in writing and the following weekly conversation. Some responses may in fact be creative, rather than critical. HNRS 201 is offered each Fall and can be taken twice for credit; it is not required to graduate "With University Honors."
The HNRS 202/Business Leadership symposium is designed for students intending a career in politics, public service or the private sector. Students will usually meet with an area civic leader or discuss a topic (downtown development? Taxation? Ethics?) relevant to such professions. HNRS 202 is offerered each Spring and can be taken twice for credit; it is not required to graduate "With University Honors."
7. WHAT IS HNRS 350, THE MODEL UN EXPERIENCE? CAN I TAKE IT MORE THAN ONCE FOR CREDIT? AM I REQUIRED TO TAKE IT?
In HNRS 350, students will assume the role of delegates representing a foreign country in a United Nations simulation in New York City for one week late in the Spring semester (FMU pays travel costs). Unlike most Honors classes, students cannot simply register for HNRS 350, but must be selected through an application process. Students can take 350 twice for credit. It is not required to graduate “With University Honors.” For more information about the application process and the course itself, contact Dr. T. Alissa Warters (FH 125; 843-661-1616; firstname.lastname@example.org ).
8. WHAT IS HNRS 397, THE HONORS COLLOQUIUM? CAN I TAKE IT MORE THAN ONCE FOR CREDIT? AM I REQUIRED TO TAKE IT?
The Colloquium is offered every Spring--more often, if necessary--and deals with special topics from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Sometimes it is team-taught; always, professors from more than one discipline are involved in at least some of the class sessions. Past topics include “The Divine Arts,” “An Interdisciplinary Introduction to African Studies,” “Climate Change and Society,” “Religions and Culture,” and “The Vietnam War and American Culture.” The Colloquium carries 3 hours of elective credit. Since the Colloquium topic is different each time it is offered, you may take it twice for elective credit. You might want to do this because it is typically a highly-rewarding experience, because you need additional hours towards the 21-hour requirement, or because you earned a grade below a B the first time you took it. You are required to take the Colloquium, and to earn a grade of B or higher, in order to graduate “With University Honors.”
9. WHAT IS HNRS 391, THE HONORS INDEPENDENT STUDY WORKSHOP? CAN I TAKE IT MORE THAN ONCE FOR CREDIT? AM I REQUIRED TO TAKE IT?
HNRS 391 is offered every semester. It is an optional course designed to help students prepare for their Honors Independent Study (HNRS 491), and should be taken the semester before 491. Working with the Honors Director, students decide on and plan for their Independent Study project, select and begin working with their Study Directors, and then prepare and submit an acceptable Proposal to the Honors Committee. HNRS 391 is assessed as “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” and carries 1 hour of elective credit. It can be taken for credit only once. It is not required to graduate “With University Honors” (although 491 or an acceptable substitute is).
10. WHAT IS HNRS 491, THE HONORS INDEPENDENT STUDY? CAN I TAKE IT MORE THAN ONCE FOR CREDIT? AM I REQUIRED TO TAKE IT?
HNRS 491 allows you to pursue independent academic work, normally in the area of your major, under the guidance of a faculty member. It usually takes the form of a major research project / paper, although some recent projects have been creative (i.e., directing one-act plays, arranging and performing a piano concert). You must have completed 12 hours of Honors courses before enrolling in the Independent Study.
You may choose to take 391 the semester before 491, to guide and help you through the preparation process, though you are not required to take 391. Working with your Study Director--a faculty mentor--you must complete a proposal (forms available from Dr. Tuttle) detailing the project you are planning to undertake. In addition to your Study Director (who must provide a letter of support), you need signatures from two other faculty readers, one of whom must be from a different discipline, and from the discipline-appropriate department chair or school dean.
Students who choose not to enroll in 391 but who wish to successfully complete the Independent Study usually begin planning and working on the project, in consultation with the faculty mentor, at least one semester before the semester in which the student is formally enrolled in 491. If you choose not to enroll in 391, you need to come and talk with Dr. Tuttle about your Independent Study well before the semester when you plan to complete the work, as there are important steps involved in planning for an Independent Study.
Whether or not you are enrolled in 391, you must submit your 491 proposal three weeks before the end of the semester BEFORE the semester in which you are enrolled for 491. Examples of successful past proposals are available for you to use as examples; completed thesis projects are catalogued in the Rogers Library and available for your perusal. Some funding is available to defray expenses incurred in completing your Independent Study.
Successfully planning and completing the Honors Independent Study is probably the single most challenging hurdle to jump in your quest to graduate "With University Honors." Perhaps for that very reason, students who have been successful in the past testify that the Independent Study was one of their most rewarding experiences. You are required to complete the Independent Study (or an acceptable substitute – see below) with a grade of B or higher in order to graduate “With University Honors.”
11. CAN I GET CREDIT IN MY MAJOR FOR MY HONORS INDEPENDENT STUDY?
Yes. The proposal form asks you to designate whether you prefer to receive credit for HNRS 491, or for 497 Special Studies in a particular academic discipline.
12. CAN I TRANSFER HONORS CREDITS FROM ANOTHER INSTITUTION?
Yes, if the courses are designated as "Honors" by an NCHC-affiliated institution and accepted by FMU for full credit or elective credit. To graduate "With University Honors" from FMU, a transfer student must take a minimum of 12 hours of Honors Courses at FMU, including the Honors Colloquium, the Honors Independent Study.
13. WHAT IS THE “HONORS CONTRACT” OPTION? HOW DOES IT WORK?
This option can help students (typically juniors and seniors) who intend to graduate "With University Honors," but who cannot find Honors courses that fit their schedule or degree requirements. The contract stipulates what extra work you will undertake in a "regular" course to receive Honors credit. Normally, the Honors Contract option should be applied only to upper-level courses which are not offered as Honors sections. Except under extraordinary circumstances, a student may take only 3 of the required 21 hours as an Honors contract.
14. WHAT IS THE WASHINGTON SEMESTER PROGRAM?
FMU Honors students are eligible to apply for a fellowship in the Washington Semester Program, sponsored by the Honors College at the University of South Carolina. Students accepted as fellows have the opportunity to live in the heart of Washington DC and gain valuable work experience as full-time paid interns in federal government or private sector offices while earning 15 hours of Honors academic credit. Honors students at any South Carolina institution of higher education are eligible to apply for the Washington Semester Program. Fellows must be degree-seeking students and are usually juniors. The Program operates in both the spring and fall semesters. Students accepted into the Program must become transient students at USC for the DC semester. They will earn academic credit for the following courses: POL 497H (Special Studies: Washington Semester, 6 hours); ENG 498H (English Internship: Washington Semester, 3 hours); PSY 310H (The Psychological Focus: Leadership, Washington Semester, 3 hours); and THEA 101H (Introduction to Theatre: Washington Semester, 3 hours). Acceptance for the Washington Semester is competitive, but FMU has an excellent record of placing students in the Program. Ms. Beth Watson, USC Coordinator of the Program, pays a campus visit each fall and spring to talk with interested FMU students. Click here for more information. If you're interested, come see Dr. Tuttle.
15. WHAT DOES FMU HONORS DO FOR FUN? AND ARE STUDENTS INVOLVED IN DIRECTING IT?
FMU Honors has a director and a four-person faculty oversight committee, but also a four-student Honors Student Advisory Council whose responsibilities are several. The four students--typically one senior, junior, sophomore and at-large student--advise the Director on course selection and rotation, but also (or primarily) program social and service functions. These include game-nights, movie-and-pizza nights, kickball games, whitewater rafting, puppy-washing and volunteering at the local animal shelter, organizing a Toys-4 Tots drive, and so on. In addtion, we traditionally hold the organizational meeting at a Fall reception hosted by President and Mrs. Carter at Wallace House. And at the end of each semester, Honors students invade Chez Tuttle for a Christmas Party or backyard cookout.
In addition, FMU Honors sponsors the Fall Honors Trip to Washington D.C., New York City or Philadelphia. The Trip usually takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving. We leave by charter bus on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, and return on Sunday. Most (but not all) of the cost for the adventure is borne by the University.
16. IS THERE AN HONORS HOUSING OPTION? OR AN HONORS CENTER?
Yes to both, eventually. The Housing Office has set aside certain portions of Belle Isle Hall in the residence halls for Honors freshmen who are enrolled in at least one Honors course. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may continue in Honors Housing in either Belle Isle Hall or the Forest Villas, provided that they continue to enroll in at least one Honors course per year. Also, the University has already drafted plans for a new Honors Center which will include office and classroom space, a lounge, and house the Honors, McNair and International Programs. Construction will begin soon.