The Frederick M. Supper Honors Program
“Those who walk with the wise grow wise.” (Proverbs 13:20)
Thomas J. St. Antoine, Director
The Honors Program exists to cultivate the Faith, Character, and Intellect necessary to lead a life well lived.
What do we mean by a life well lived? While it might seem that the good life is a life of luxury, power, convenience, and status the Christian Liberal Arts tradition has long held that it is something greater. It is a life that reveres faith, character, and intellect and recognizes them as primary in the pursuit of happiness
A life well lived is:
A life of gratitude, for the Creator who is the giver of all good gifts.
A life of purpose, placing others and the common good ahead of oneself.
A life of conviction, giving distinction to first principles like the good, the just, the beautiful, and the honorable.
A life of courage, to follow the Truth wherever it leads.
A life of curiosity, embracing the examined life in the search for Christian Truth and integrity.
A life of creativity, understanding the nature of the human condition and formulating solutions to the problems which beset our own time.
A life of humility, submitting to an enlightened faith which illuminates the world.
A traditional education is designed to fill you with knowledge to help you succeed in your endeavors; honors, however, is designed to help you ask and answer the question “why” you pursue these endeavors. It is a desire to know “the why” which animates the distinctive students of the honors program. This education will lead to a well-ordered mind and soul and will both kindle your ambition and direct it toward just and proper ends.
The Frederick M. Supper Honors Program succeeds by establishing a community of scholars in pursuit of Wisdom. This community, consisting of faculty and students, encourages, challenges, and supports one another in the endeavor to seek wisdom and to live well. Honors students are carefully selected by the faculty and share a genuine passion for intellectual contemplation and discussion, and members of this community provide leadership for the entire student body.
The Honors Program focuses on the primary sources of the Enduring Conversation — the books, the speeches, the films, the works of music, art, and architecture, that record the history of ideas.. This conversation addresses timeless questions and issues that continue to shape our worldviews. The Honors Program brings students into the Enduring Conversation so they can discover its wisdom, equipping them to become better scholars, better leaders, better participants in the marketplace, better citizens, and, most important, better Christians.
Program Learning Outcomes
1. Cognitive/intellectual development - Honors students will demonstrate a depth of understanding of the history of ideas and timeless questions as evidenced in the Enduring Conversation (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 and character 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.
All members of the honors program have opportunities to earn credit with special coursework, travel/study, and research. Frederick M. Supper Scholars satisfy general education or core requirements. Alternately, honors functions like a minor for Fellows of the Honors Program. Students who successfully complete either option and graduate from the university are recognized with a note on their transcripts, a seal on their diplomas, and special recognition at commencement.
For Frederick M. Supper Scholars complete coursework which replaces general education or core requirements. The six courses in the worldview sequence provide an overview of the great ideas and thinkers who produced them. Here, students encounter primary sources (rather than textbooks) which explore the ideas which have shaped the human condition. In addition to addressing the basic worldview questions, these lessons provide context for other academic disciplines and serve to complement the student’s major. The worldview 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
The six worldview courses are taken sequentially one per semester through the junior year. These classes are complemented by other honors coursework which features primary sources in HON 1133 - Writing About Literature , HON 1033 - Rhetorical Eloquence , HON 3033 - Roots of American Order and HON 4003 - Christian Vocation & Worldview . Multiple sections are offered to allow flexibility in scheduling and to maintain appropriate seminar sizes. 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:
Satisfactory Academic Progress
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:
Honors Minor for Fellows of the Honors Program
Completion of a minor in honors is achieved by taking 18 hours of honors coursework. Course requirements for the minor can be completed with any combination of the following:
- HON 4033 - Selected Topics in Honors . May be repeated for unlimited credit. The typical honors class is chronological, examining all the texts and issues that characterize a particular period in intellectual history. A topics class, on the other hand, is thematic. It takes one question and tracks it across many time periods. So, the topics class might examine the idea of justice, looking at it in Classical texts, then comparing those with medieval works on justice, followed by Renaissance, Enlightenment, and contemporary texts on the subject. These popular classes provide professors with an outlet for creative curriculum development in an area of expertise. Past offerings have included Utopia and the good life, Humor, Forms of The Essay, Autobiography and the Self, Post-humanism, Job and the Literature of Suffering.
- Honors Courses in the Disciplines. Courses may be taken outside of honors which are consistent with the honors distinctives – intellectual rigor, primary sources, history of ideas, and interdisciplinary perspective. Before being placed on the schedule, these courses are designated as honors courses, syllabi are approved by the honors director, and training and honors faculty development are required.
- Honors Thesis Credits. Honors students could choose to earn up to 6 hours planning, writing, and defending a thesis on an interdisciplinary topic that spans honors and the major. The thesis will provide an enhanced research opportunity that encourages a student to consider historical/philosophical/artistic connections among disciplines.
- Travel/study. Academic credit is awarded during honors trips and for coursework taken during a qualified travel/study experience that meets the criteria for an honors elective as approved by the honors director (upper level, primary sources, intellectual history).
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 .
Every Supper Scholar will be assigned to a house, and honors minors may also choose to be members of an honors house. Students are sorted at the end of their first full month on campus at an annual initiation ceremony. Students will be sorted based on interest. Students will also be allowed to request a house.
To remain in good standing in the honors program, each member must earn 50 points per academic year and points must be earned in at least 3 categories of activities. Points will be kept by the faculty sponsor of each house. Students can earn points with the following:
- Physical and emotional well-being.
- Community and the arts.
- Leadership Development.
- Spiritual formation.
- Academic lectures.
- Professional activities.
At the beginning of each year, a document will be circulated which establishes the point requirements to remain in good standing and the point values of various activities.
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 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 3.0 must be achieved and maintained at 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.