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 THE FMU HONORS PROGRAM COMMUNICATE WITH ME?
New applicants to FMU who are Honors-eligible should receive letter in late spring about the Honors Program. You should also get a letter regarding special sessions for Honors students during Summer Orientation. You will get two more letters prior to Fall and Spring Advising and Pre-registration, dealing with early pre-registration (a benefit Honors students have earned). All other communication (announcements, reminders, invitations, special opportunities, etc.) is handled via a group e-mail list. IF YOU WANT TO STAY CURRENT WITH HONORS INFORMATION, YOU MUST GIVE YOUR NAME AND CURRENT E-MAIL ADDRESS TO THE HONORS SECRETARY [BEVERLY OWENS, CEMC 112, 661-1605, BOWENS@FMARION.EDU]!!! If you cannot access e-mail, give your name, local address, and local phone number to Ms. Owens and let her know that's how you want to be contacted. In addition to this Web Page, honors information is posted on two bulletin boards - one outside the Honors classroom (CEMC 241) and one on the first floor of the Leatherman Science Facility. See also the FMU Undergraduate Catalog (under “Honors Program,” page 197).
2. WHAT CONSTITUTES BEING, REMAINING, OR BECOMING “HONORS-ELIGIBLE”?
An entering freshman is Honors-eligible with an SAT score of at least 1100 (combined Math and Verbal), or a composite ACT score of 24 plus. However, once you have completed your first semester at FMU, your eligibility is determined by overall GPA; that means that you can lose or earn eligibility according to your performance in FMU classes. To become or remain Honors-eligible, students classified as "freshmen" (under 22 earned credit hours) must have a minimum GPA of 3.00. To become or remain Honors-eligible, students with more than 22 earned credit hours must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.25.
3. DO I NEED TO APPLY TO BE ACCEPTED INTO THE HONORS PROGRAM?
No--although that will change in 2014. For now, incoming Honors-eligible freshmen should automatically get the two letters mentioned in the answer to the first question. During the Summer Orientation Programs, incoming Honors-eligible students from most majors are advised and pre-registered as a group. You will be encouraged, but not required, to include at least one Honors class in your schedule. By the way, the Student Orientation Leaders working with the Honors group are Honors students.
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, 9 must be above 299, including 3 hours of the Honors Colloquium (Honors 397) and 3 hours of the Honors Independent Study (Honors 491) 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.
Each Spring, the Honors Committee selects an outstanding student who has graduated "With University Honors" to receive the Duane P. Myers Honors Award., which carries a plaque and a check. The names of the recipients are also on a plaque in the Honors Room (CEMC 241). Students who graduate "With University Honors" are recognized at the Commencement Ceremonies with a gold Honors Cord.
5. IF I DON’T PLAN TO GRADUATE “WITH UNIVERSITY HONORS,” WHY IS IT WORTH MY WHILE TO TAKE SOME HONORS COURSES ANYWAY?
All Honors courses count as credit toward graduation; most Honors courses fulfill FMU requirements for General Education, majors, minors or collaterals. The majority of Honors-eligible students report that their Honors courses are amongst their best academic experiences. They enjoy the individual attention from gifted and experienced teachers and the opportunity to interact with other motivated students in a small class. Any course taken as Honors is designated as such on your academic transcript. Graduate and professional schools, as well as prospective employers, will be duly impressed. If you are Honors-eligible and choose to pre-register for at least one Honors course, you can pre-register on the first day of the Advising Period even if you're a freshman or a sophomore. This gives you a much better chance of getting all of your first-pick courses.
6. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HONORS CLASSES AND HONORS SECTIONS OF REGULAR CLASSES?
Each semester, several Honors courses (HNRS 101, 200, 350, 397, 391 and 491) are offered; these are usually special-topics courses available only to Honors students. These courses earn elective credit towards graduation, as well as towards graduating “With University Honors.” But courses designated "HNRS" do not earn General Education, school, or departmental credit.
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 CEMC 241, the Honors classroom, a seminar-style room with lounge area, a SmartBoard and Keurig coffee maker.
7. WHAT IS HNRS 101, THE FRESHMAN HONORS SEMINAR? CAN I TAKE IT MORE THAN ONCE FOR CREDIT? AM I REQUIRED TO TAKE IT?
HNRS 101 is offered every Fall, and is open only to incoming Honors-eligible freshman. It examines a special topic from an interdisciplinary perspective. Past topics have included the History of Science, King Arthur Legend, the History of the Future, the Harry Potter Novels, and Skepticism and the Scientific World View. The course carries 3 hours of elective credit. You can only take Honors 101 only once. It is not required to graduate “With University Honors.”
8. WHAT IS HNRS 200, THE HONORS SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM ? CAN I TAKE IT MORE THAN ONCE FOR CREDIT? AM I REQUIRED TO TAKE IT?
HNRS 200 is offered in both Fall and Spring. Students registered for HNRS 200 are required to prepare for, attend, and respond in writing to the weekly Science Symposium, presentations on a variety of topics by scientists from FMU and elsewhere. HNRS 200 is assessed as “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” and carries 1 hour of elective credit. It can be taken for elective credit up to 3 times. It is not required to graduate “With University Honors.”
9. 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 (and FMU pays travel costs). Unlike most Honors classes, students cannot just sign up for 350, but must be selected through an application process. Students can take 350 twice for credit. 350 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; email@example.com ).
10. 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 and deals with special topics from an interdisciplinary 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 can take it twice for elective credit. You might want to do this for love, for additional hours towards the 21 hour requirement, or because you earned below a B the first time you took the Colloquium. You are required to take the Colloquium, and to earn a grade of B or higher, in order to graduate “With University Honors.”
11. 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 Director, prepare and submit an acceptable Proposal to the Honors Committee. Faculty from various disciplines will advise on research methodology and presentation. 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).
12. 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 there have also been creative projects (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 detailed as follows. Working with your Study Director, 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 supervisor, at least one semester before the semester in which the student is formally enrolled for the Independent Study. 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; there are some important steps involved in planning and pre-registering 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 projects are available for you to look at. Some limited 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.”
13. 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.
14. CAN I TRANSFER HONORS CREDITS FROM ANOTHER INSTITUTION?
Yes, if the courses are designated as "Honors" 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, and one other upper-division Honors course.
16. WHAT IS THE “HONORS CONTRACT” OPTION? HOW DOES IT WORK?
This option can help students who want to graduate "With University Honors," but who cannot find 300 and 400-level Honors courses in their major or minor. The contract stipulates what extra work you will undertake to receive Honors credit. Normally, the Honors Contract option should be applied only to upper-level courses which are not offered as Honors sections. Normally, a student will only take 3 of the required 21 hours as an Honors Contract. Should a student request an Honors Contract for more than one 3 hour course, he must seek approval from the full Honors Committee.
17. 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 several FMU students from a variety of majors have completed the Program with flying colors. Ms. Beth Hutchison, the 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, talk to Dr. Tuttle.
18. HOW CAN I GET ENOUGH HONORS HOURS TO GRADUATE “WITH UNIVERSITY HONORS” WHILE STILL TAKING ONLY THE CLASSES I NEED? WHY AREN’T THERE MORE 300 & 400 LEVEL COURSES OFFERED AS HONORS SECTIONS?
There is no doubt that the student who begins taking Honors courses in his/her freshman year has an advantage over the student who begins taking Honors courses later in his/her studies, because the majority of courses offered are at the 100/200 level and fit better with general education than with major requirements. It is also the case that (in addition to the Honors Contract option, above) there are always at least a few 300 level courses - chosen to be of interest to students in various disciplines - offered every semester. Some disciplines are less able to offer Honors sections because of scarce faculty resources. So when a 300-level course in your major or minor is offered as Honors, do whatever you can to juggle your schedule in order to take that class! The only course required to graduate “With University Honors” that cannot count towards the requirements for a major, minor, collateral, or General Education, is HNRS 397.
19. WHAT IS THE HONORS STUDENT ASSOCIATION?
HSA is a chartered FMU student organization. You must be Honors-eligible to join, although membership is not required to graduate “With University Honors." You do not have to be enrolled in an Honors class to be a member of HSA. Annual dues for the academic year are $10 (dues for Spring semester only $5). We traditionally hold the organizational meeting at the Fall Honors Reception given by President and Mrs. Carter at Wallace House. Candidates for the four student officers are nominated at that time. If you are unable to make the Reception, you can come by my office (FH 106) to sign up and pay your dues at any time during the school year.
You must be a member of HSA in order to participate in 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. The cost to the student is relatively minimal ($100 or $150, depending on how many Honors hours you’ve earned, for transportation and hotel) because FMU contributes generously to the full cost of the trips.
HSA, at the initiative of the student officers and members, also coordinates other social and academic activities throughout the year, including Play and Pizza Nights, receptions, parties, travel experiences, and community service projects. Like all worthwhile extra-curricular activities, active participation in HSA looks good on your resume. The names of the student officers for each academic year are on a plaque in the Honors Room. Each year, an outstanding student member is chosen to receive the HSA Award. The names of these students are on a plaque in the Honors Room.
20. IS THERE AN HONORS HOUSING OPTION?
Freshmen who are Honors-eligible may apply to live on the third floor of Belle Isle Hall, which will be co-ed. In order to qualify for Honors Housing, freshmen are required to take at least one Honors course during the first year. 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. Special programs will be available to students in Honors Housing.