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Frequently Asked Questions:
How is the program structured?
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What are modes of inquiry?
At the heart of the act of knowing lies general epistemes or “modes of inquiry” that organize the way scholars approach and frame the objects or ideas they seek to understand. The honors curriculum is designed to expose students to four of these broadly conceived modes and to provide experience in how they shape questions and, ultimately, the methods by which these questions are answered.
These modes of inquiry are: textual analysis; scientific and mathematical analysis; historical, social and cultural analysis; and artistic creation and analysis. Below is a brief description of each.
Textual analysis explores the various ways in which a text conveys meaning. The word “text” is used broadly and may include a written work, an idea derived from popular culture, a ritual or symbol.
Scientific and Mathematical Analysis
Scientific and mathematical analysis utilizes the scientific processes of induction or deduction, or some type of logico-mathematical representation or modeling, to understand an event or phenomenon.
Historical, Social and Cultural Analysis
Historical, social and cultural analysis examines the ways in which an event or phenomenon is shaped by history, society or culture.
Artistic Creation and Analysis
Artistic creation and analysis is inquiry through the creation, performance or analysis of works of theater, art, literature, music, sculpture or other generative activity. Outcomes focus on the production of art or the critical understanding of creative activity.
What are the requirements for admission and when do I apply?
Entering first year students must have an SAT score of 1200 (1650 on the three part SAT) or graduate in the top 25% of their class to be eligible to apply for the program. Students already enrolled at the university must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 to apply. Since the program is competitive and limited in size, meeting these minimum academic requirements is not a guarantee of admission. All students must maintain a 3.2 GPA and make satisfactory progress in the program to remain eligible. Students falling under the 3.2 GPA may appeal to have one semester to improve their GPA or face expulsion from the program. Students who feel that their GPA or SAT scores do not accurately reflect their academic background or abilities may petition the University Honors Council for admission based on other academic criteria.
High school seniors or transfer students need to apply directly to the program by the second Friday in November for early admission consideration or the second Friday in February for final consideration. Early admissions decisions are usually made by early February and final decisions are usually made by early April. Students already enrolled at the university may apply at any time.
Please note that scholarships are not offered directly through the program. If you are accepted into the program, this does not mean that you are guaranteed to get a scholarship. In addition, only incoming students may be eligible for scholarships – this is done in collaboration with the WCSU Admission Office. At this time, the Honors Program does not offer scholarships to current WCSU students.
What are the program benefits?
Membership in the University Kathwari Honors Program provides numerous benefits for participants. First and foremost, the program is designed to foster the type of learning environment that will prepare students for success in graduate school, professional programs, or work. Participation in the program should be placed in a highly visible area on your resume and future applications. Participation in the program signifies to graduate programs and employers that you have undertaken extra efforts to enrich your college work. In addition to these benefits, the honors program also provides a number of specific rewards. To take advantage of these benefits members must remain in “good standing” in the program. This requires that students maintain the GPA guidelines of the program and make satisfactory progress toward completing the requirements of the program.
How challenging are honors courses?
One of the questions often asked by students applying to the honors program is how much harder are honors courses compared with regular university courses? Somewhere along the way students have acquired the idea that honors courses involve an exorbitant amount of reading and volumes of extra homework. While honors courses are demanding, their intent is not to simply pile on extra work. Becoming a critical thinker, one of the desired outcomes of being a member of our honors program, is not like lifting weights. The goal is not to increase the amount of pounds pressed (or books read) in order to increase your “intellectual bulk.” In fact, the actual workload in most honors courses is not significantly greater than that found in other courses of the same level. What is different, however, are the types of materials assigned, the quality of class discussions and the faculty expectations about your ability to do independent work. Honors courses are not so much about piling on extra work as about getting intellectually motivated students into one place and letting them engage in the materials and learn from one another. Honors courses are also about allowing students the freedom to pursue areas of interest in their own way utilizing an assortment of methodologies and approaches. Honors courses are built on the fundamental assumption that knowledge is a process to be engaged in rather than a static thing to be absorbed. In other words, knowledge is not a closed set of things to be memorized but a set of open questions to be explored. If this sounds like the type of approach that you are looking for then the honors program may be right for you.
What is an enhanced course and how do I enhance a course?
The Honors Council supports students and faculty to develop individual honors level components when necessary. Due to special circumstances such as little to no free electives for a particular major, completing a double major, or available honors courses conflict with the student’s schedule, students may enhance a course to become an honors level course. Any course may be used as the basis for an honors level enhancement by adding some additional, honors level dimension to the usual requirements. The student will receive one additional credit hour for the successful completion of an enhanced course. The student is expected to initiate the honors enhancement and complete the application process outlined below. When a course is enhanced, one credit is added to the course total and the honors designation “H” will appear on the student’s transcript next to the course grade. Course Enhancement Forms
All students majoring in nursing or education and in good standing in the Kathwari Honors Program are eligible. All other students must ask permission from the program director or assistant director before beginning the enhancement process. Also, any student with a GPA of 3.2 or higher at the time of application is eligible.
All faculty members are eligible to participate. Consideration in the form of a partial credit hour is associated with enhancement in the same amount as a student developed study (one semester hour for the student =.11 load credit for faculty). Part-time faculty must submit a revised contract to receive the additional credit.
Considerations of time
Course enhancements are generally formed during the semester in which the course is being taken. Students are advised that the process should be completed within the first few weeks of the semester.
Honors course enhancement application and approval
An enhancement is established through a contract between the student and faculty member and the completion of the appropriate forms. The completed application contains (1) the cover page, (2) the enhancement contract, and (3) the request for faculty workload credit. When all these forms are completed and signed by faculty, the student then submits the forms to the Honors Program Director to be signed and then to the appropriate Dean. The Dean’s office should send copies to the Honors Director, the Registrar, and the student.
Details of application & approval elements
What is the Honor Students of Compassion Club?
The Honor Students of Compassion Club (HSOC) is the student honors group of the University Kathwari Honors Program. The group’s goals are to provide opportunities for academic and cultural growth, as well as personal performance, community service and social interaction. Frequent social gatherings are held to update members on happenings within the group and to plan activities. Members of HSO need not be members of the University Kathwari Honors Program. Members of HSO may apply for admission to the Program if they so choose. Students in the University Kathwari Honors Program may use being an officer or a member of the program as one of their “honors activities” requirements. For more information contact the HSO advisor.
Does the program offer scholarships?
The Honors Director work directly with the Admissions Office to identify, screen and select recipients of merit-based scholarships at Western. The initial screening usually begins in January with awards being offered in late January and February. There is no special application required for these awards beyond the university admission application.
How do I apply?
High Schools seniors or transfer students may use the application found on this website. Those who are offered and accept a university merit-based award are automatically members of the program if they wish. Students already enrolled at the university may either apply directly to the program using the application or be nominated by a faculty member. Nominations are, however, not a guarantee of acceptance.
Who do I contact regarding the Kathwari Honors Program?
Dr. Christopher Kukk,
Kathwari Honors House 102F
Western Connecticut State University
181 White Street
Danbury, CT 06810
(203) 837 – 9501
Kathwari Honors House 102D
Western Connecticut State University
Kathwari Honors House 102E
Western Connecticut State University