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The TWU Honors Program

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You don’t want just a degree, but an academic experience...

One that prepares you to better the world, no matter your chosen program.

 

The Honors Program at Tennessee Wesleyan University, in the best tradition of the liberal arts, prepares students to transform their educational experience to live out a positive role in the global community.

 

Students in the Honors Program:
•take specialized courses provided by select faculty
•receive a grant for use in study abroad, research, experiential learning, or other co-curricular experiences
•have preferred class selection and housing
•and much more!

 

What is the responsibility implicit in being a citizen in your local, national, and global communities? Should those who have the benefit of higher education be expected to be special contributors to making their communities and world a better, more humane place?

As we examine those issues, the very notion of what it means to improve your world will also be explored. How does one define the common good? Do the ideas surrounding the common good in communities and nations differ, and have they even evolved over the course of human history? Are they shaped by citizens’ ethnicity and cultural context? Hence, the Honors Program will include a particular interest in diversity in our increasingly complex and globalized world.

Honors students will begin with two foundational courses:

Citizenship (3 hrs)
In its original ancient Greek conception, citizenship (politeia) denoted membership in a political community—the city-state (polis)—and implied a set of privileges and responsibilities. Being a citizen of a city-state was the primary marker of identity and form of belonging in the ancient Greek world. Over the millennia, citizenship has been redefined and reimagined, often through contentious and violent processes. Currently, there is no universal definition of citizenship. Rather, there is a general recognition of the importance of understanding it in its diverse cultural contexts. Yet citizenship, however defined and situated, has functioned as an important category of identity and has retained an essential connection to membership in a political community extending above the level of kinship or tribe. Given this complicated history, students in this course will consider the concept of citizenship as it has developed in different historical and cultural contexts through historical, literary, and sociological texts. A seminar-style class, the course will rely on engaged and regular discussion to develop students’ understanding of citizenship and its meaning today.

The Common Good (3hrs)
The course will be an exploration of how human societies have conceived and attempted to build community and the broader social good. How have governments and other institutions sought to harmonize the disparate interests of their citizens to arrive at the greater fulfillment of all? Is there a place for hierarchical values and/or persons, or is true equality the better goal? Do individual desires at times need to be sublimated to achieve the best results for all, or do societies prosper better when individual ambitions go unfettered?  The course will proceed by looking at several key points in history in which the complexities of the common good emerge. Attention will be paid to placing these moments in their wider historical context while also creating space for students to critically engage with the broader philosophical questions raised about the common good.

Honors students will then take two electives (for a total of 6 credit hours), “Major Problems in Citizenship and the Common Good” offered by Honors faculty on a variety of topics.

Honors students will also take one three-hour credit course from the “Honors Electives.”  These are courses currently offered within departments which include a focus on Citizenship and the Common Good.  They include:
FRE 305 > The Francophone World Outside of France
HIS 266 > Civil Rights Movement Biography
ENG 237 > Discovering Post-Colonial Literature
HIS 249 > The Holocaust
SOC 304 > Race and Ethnicity

Finally, Honors students will complete a three-hour Honors Capstone course.  This will include a research paper on a topic of the student’s choice.  The student’s research will be overseen by a committee of Honors faculty, but may also include a faculty member outside the Honors faculty who can provide better expertise on the topic. The course will also require a public presentation of the student’s research at the end of the term.

Augustin BoccoDr. Augustin Bocco
Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies; Director of Interational Student Services

Originally from Togo, West Africa, Dr. Bocco's research focuses on the new generation of Francophone writers from Africa and the Caribbean, and he has published works on Togolese writer and playwright, Kossi Efoui and the field of Francophone literature in North America.


Koyel KhanDr. Koyel Khan
Assistant Professor of Sociology

Dr. Khan earned earned her Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. Her work centers around global inequality, gender, culture, and nationalism. Her recent publications have been on issues surrounding feminist praxis, intersectionality, and postcolonial feminism.


Dr. Shaun Morgan
Assistant Professor of English

Dr. Morgan was trained in postcolonial theory and literary studies.  His current teaching and research focuses on issues of identity, especially race, and narrative theory. He is co-editor of Narrative, Race, and Ethnicity in the United States (Ohio State University Press 2017), and is currently working on a study of the work of Jamaican writer Marlon James.


Chris SchutzDr. Chris Schutz
Professor of History

Dr. Schutz specializes in the American Civil Rights Movement.  He is the author of Jackie Robinson: An Integrated Life (2016), and is currently working on a book on a 1972 court case of Black Power activists in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He teaches a range of courses from Race and Criminal Justice in 20th Century America to History of American Cinema and History of Modern China.



Jack SeitzDr. Jack Seitz
Assistant Professor of History

Dr. Seitz's research interests lie at the intersection of colonialism, science and the environment in the Russian Empire. He has conducted research in archives across Russia and Kazakhstan, supported by the Mellon Foundation and Fulbright. He teaches courses on Modern Europe, Russia/the USSR, Central Asia (the Silk Roads), and the Islamic World in addition to thematic courses on global environmental history and the history of science and technology. 


Aaron Van LandinghamDr. Alex Thompson
Assistant Professor of Religion

Dr. Thompson teaches classes in Bible, theology, ancient Greek, and church vocations. His research concentrates on the New Testament (especially the Gospels, Acts, and Revelation), early Christian literature in the wider Greco-Roman literary milieu, and the intersection of pop culture and theology.  Dr. Thompson is also an ordained United Methodist minister in the Holston Conference where he serves two churches. 

What are the benefits of being an Honors student?

Honors students will:
•work especially closely and be mentored by the select Honors faculty
•have access to grant funding to support study abroad, research, internship, conference and similar co-curricular experiences outside the classroom
•have a special “Honors Program lounge” for studying and interacting with their Honors student peers and faculty
•attend a series of social and educational extracurricular gatherings and events throughout the academic year, including:
     *movie discussion nights
     *Colloquium lunches in which faculty will present scholarship and invite student discussion
     *at least one event per year in which an outside scholar will present to the Honors students
•enjoy priority class registration
•have unlimited free printing on campus
•access extended library loan time spans
•have priority in housing availability
•receive special recognition at graduation

Students may participate in one of two ways:

Incoming Freshmen:
Select incoming freshmen (with a minimum 3.25 high school GPA) will be invited to participate after applying for the program. The application will include a brief essay and will be reviewed for acceptance by the Honors faculty.

Current Students:
Current TWU students (with a minimum 3.25 high school GPA and/or a minimum 3.0 TWU GPA) may be recommended by a TWU faculty member and request admission to the Honors Program.  They too will be asked to write a brief essay to be reviewed for acceptance by the Honors faculty.

Interested students who have already applied to the University should contact their Admissions Counselor. Students who have not yet applied should complete the online application and then notify their Admissions Counselor of their desire to apply for the Honors Program.

 

Dr. Seitz Teaching

The Intersection of Pandemic and Dance

watch the video
Watch the talk

For a short sample of the lectures you'll experience as a member of the TWU Honors Program, watch a brief talk by Dr. Jack Seitz, one of the Honors faculty, about the fascinating historical intersection of pandemics and dance.