The Frederick M. Supper Honors Program
“Christ the wisdom and power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:24)
Thomas J. St. Antoine, Director
The Frederick M. Supper Honors Program exists to establish a community of scholars. This community, consisting of faculty and students, encourages, challenges, and supports one another in the endeavor to seek wisdom. Honors students share a genuine passion for intellectual contemplation and discussion, and members of this community provide leadership for the entire student body.
The primary goal of the Honors Program is to encourage students to develop a thoughtful and insightful Christian worldview. The study of a variety of ideas and concepts provides a coherent frame of reference for all thought and action. Recognizing that one’s worldview provides the basis for values and decisions, an honors education is intended to produce servant leaders who glorify God in thought, word, and deed.
The Honors Program seeks to accomplish its aims through a focus on the primary sources of the Enduring Conversation — the books, the speeches, the works of music, art, and architecture, the films, and the ideas of human civilization. This conversation addresses timeless questions and issues that continue to shape our worldviews. The Honors Program initiates students into the Enduring Conversation so they can discover its wisdom, equipping them to become better scholars, better leaders, better employees, better citizens, and better Christians.
The wisdom of the Enduring Conversation enables students to live the examined life and to facilitate strong character formation. Graduates are prepared to carry out the greatest commandment – to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” and to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31) – in their vocations as a result of the formation of a mature Christian character.
1. Cognitive/intellectual development - Honors students will demonstrate a depth of understanding of the history of ideas and timeless questions as evidenced in the Great Books (esp. thread texts), as well as a comparative understanding of prevalent worldviews.
2. Social functioning and integration – Honors students will become engaged in a vital community of scholars.
3. Spiritual, character and moral development – Informed of the role of the Enduring Conversation in character development and worldview formation, honors students will develop and articulate a more thoroughly examined Christian worldview.
4. Impact on Self and Society – Having engaged in the Enduring Conversation within a community of scholars, honors students will articulate and demonstrate the effects of this experience on their own vocation or calling, in their ongoing character development, as engaged citizens, and as servant leaders.
Core Curriculum for Honors Students
Christian Worldview Courses
The six courses in the Christian worldview sequence introduce honors students to an overview of the humanities. These courses explore the religion, history, art, literature, and architecture of the West and of some non-Western civilizations. In addition to addressing the basic worldview questions, these courses provide context for other academic disciplines and serve to complement the student’s major. The courses are:
- The World of Polis and Covenant
- The World of Caesar and Christ
- The World of Christendom and Islam
- The World of Humanism and Reform
- The World of Reason and Revolt
- The World of Despair and Hope
As Christians, we are called to be stewards of the Enduring Conversation. We are instructed to “guard what was committed to our trust, avoiding the profane and idle babble and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge” (1 Timothy 6:21). Worldview courses train students to appreciate the most influential ideas of human history, to examine these ideas from a Christian perspective, and to discern the wisdom that the Enduring Conversation offers in forming a Christian worldview.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
The six Christian worldview courses are offered and taken sequentially (one per semester through the junior year). Multiple sections are offered to allow flexibility in scheduling and to maintain appropriate seminar sizes. HON 1133 - Writing About Literature and HON 1033 - Rhetorical Eloquence are taken at any time during the freshman year. HON 3033 - Roots of American Order and HON 3133 - Design, Chance, & Necessity or HON 4033 - Selected Topics in Honors are upper level and are taken during the junior or senior year. HON 4003 - Christian Vocation & Worldview is a capstone course and is taken during the senior year. Passing the comprehensive oral exam is also required for completion of the Honors Program. Honors students also choose a major and must satisfy all requirements for that major. Following is the entire honors curriculum in its recommended sequence:
Credit Equivalency Table
Credits will be assigned in the following manner for honors students who leave the Honors Program but complete their degree at PBA:
Transfers and Recognition
The Honors Program accepts transfer students and PBA students currently enrolled but not in honors. Students will be accepted based on their academic records and desire to work in the program. Because of the unique nature of honors courses and the communal nature of our coursework, no honors courses are waived by transfer credits. It is expected that many of our students enter with AP credits. These credits do not satisfy honors requirements.
A currently-enrolled PBA student may petition for acceptance into the program during his/her freshman year. If accepted, some coursework completed during the freshman year will replace honors credits. Students who have completed Public Speaking and Composition II will not be required to take HON 1033 and HON 1133 , respectively. Completion of Exploring the Bible, Humanities I, and Humanities II will satisfy the requirements for HON 1003 and HON 1103 . Students who successfully complete the program and graduate from the university are recognized with a note on their transcripts, a seal on their diplomas, and special recognition at commencement.
Acceptance is based on high performance on the ACT (26 or above) or SAT (1200 or above) and on outstanding high school grades (3.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale or a ranking in the top 5% of the student’s graduating class). Students also write an essay expressing their understanding of and desire to participate in the Frederick M. Supper Honors Program. An interview may also be scheduled with members of the Honors Committee. Students not meeting these requirements may be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Honors Committee.
Students are expected to excel in both scholarship and leadership. To remain in the Honors Program, all honors students must maintain satisfactory academic standing as follows:
- Students may not receive a “D” or “F,” nor may they receive more than one “C” for any honors course.
- A cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 must be achieved and maintained by the end of each academic year.
- Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress in the Honors Program.
- Students must also maintain good standing with regard to Chapel, Workship, and all other aspects of their relationship to the university. At the end of each academic year, each student’s progress will be evaluated, and those who do not maintain these standards will not be allowed to continue in the Honors Program.
In appropriate cases, the Director of the Honors Program, with the advice and consent of the Honors Faculty, may grant probation to any student who fails to maintain good standing. The Director shall send written notice of probation to the student, specifying the period of probation and the terms and provisions that must be satisfied for its removal. When probation results from failure to maintain satisfactory academic standing, an honors student may neither retake a course for grade forgiveness during the probation nor, in any event, retake an honors course for grade forgiveness.
No more than two such probations may be granted during the course of any student’s tenure in the Honors Program; failure to maintain good standing after a second probation will result in automatic withdrawal from the Honors Program. In addition, even if a student has no prior probations, no student may graduate in the Supper Honors Program if, upon completing all degree requirements, the student has failed to maintain good standing.