University Honors Program
Honors courses are frequently team-taught and involve off campus experiences, and most Honors courses satisfy requirements in the University’s Liberal Arts Core (LAC). The goal of the Honors Program is to provide academically talented and venturesome students with an intellectually stimulating alternate course of study, culminating in the completion of an Honors Thesis reflective of quality undergraduate scholarship. Small classes, interdisciplinary topics, and professors dedicated to teaching create an atmosphere conducive to the open discussion of ideas and active learning. The Honors Thesis requirement provides an opportunity for students to work independently under the oversight of a faculty mentor.
In addition to their academic pursuits, honors scholars become involved in a variety of leadership roles and rewarding activities. Many of these, like the weekend in April when prospective freshmen are invited to visit the campus and stay over in dorms or apartments, are entirely planned and carried out by students. The Honors Club sponsors trips to cultural events, including the NE-NCHC conference each spring, at which more than a dozen students do regularly participate as presenters. The Student Honors Council makes recommendations concerning the honors curriculum and requirements, and organizes social and cultural events on campus, including the activities of Honors Week in the spring. All Honors students are welcomed to the campus at the beginning of each academic year at a semi-formal reception, and everyone connected with the program gets together twice a year for a fall and spring cookout. Honors students are encouraged to take part in exchange programs with universities throughout the United States and abroad.
Honors courses are designed to be different from most other courses used to complete the LAC.
Entering freshmen take HON 200, a course best described as a freshman seminar and writing course. In their second semester, freshmen take HON 130, Reading Across the Curriculum a course that focuses on a single topic from multiple perspectives. The course is coordinated by Professor William Salka of the Political Science Department, and features guest professors from a variety of disciplines.
During their sophomore and junior years, students take three honors colloquia (HON 360-362); innovative interdisciplinary courses designed specifically for the program by outstanding scholars and respected teachers. Topics recently covered include: New England and the Sea, Popular Music in a Global Context, The Psychology of Sexual Attraction and its Consequences, and Native American & Ancient Cosmologies in Literature and Culture.
In the spring of their junior year, students take Directed Honors Research with a mentor, ordinarily a professor in their major department, and write a thesis proposal. The Program’s capstone experience for students involves working with their respective mentors both semesters of the senior year to complete an Honors Thesis, a creative, scholarly, or scientific project.
Freshmen are admitted to the program by the University Honors Council on the basis of their high school standing, accomplishments, and recommendations, only after they have been accepted into the University. Successful applicants are expected to be in the top 15% of the high school class and combined SAT scores (verbal/math) of at least 1200. The Honors Council is particularly interested in students who have participated in educational, social, cultural, or other extra-curricular projects or activities, and whose applications suggest enthusiasm, a willingness to get involved, leadership and the desire and capacity to produce quality undergraduate scholarship.
All entering freshmen who live on-campus receive full in-state tuition scholarships, plus a $2,000 additional housing scholarship for on-campus housing. These scholarships are renewable for a total of eight semesters. In addition, need-based supplementary scholarships and jobs on campus are often available through the Financial Aid Office, which works closely with the Honors Program.
The Campus Context:
Founded in 1889, Eastern is located on a beautiful 175 acre campus on the edge of Willimantic, a New England mill town which produced internationally famous cotton thread and textile products in its heyday. It is a largely residential arts and sciences institution with some 4600 full- and part-time students from every region of Connecticut, over half of the states, and thirty foreign countries. This multicultural community thrives in Eastern’s small college atmosphere in which students readily get to know each other and their faculty. As Connecticut’s public liberal arts university, Eastern offers twenty-five undergraduate majors, including those in both professional studies and education, as well as arts and sciences.
For more information, or if you have questions, please contact:
Dr. William Salka, Honors Director, Eastern Connecticut State University
83 Windham Street, Willimantic, CT 06226
Phone: (860) 465-4609; Fax: (860) 465-0650, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org