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Mission and Program

Students in the Pierre Laclede Honors College of all university majors share a commitment to a challenging, innovative Honors curriculum, comprised of general education courses, upper-level seminars, writing courses, and research and internship opportunities. In the Honors College, students and faculty work together to foster an intellectual climate in which democracy, diversity, civility and excellence are fundamental values. The Honors program offers small seminars that emphasize critical reading and open discussion. Students also pursue independent study, undergraduate research and internship opportunities as they develop skills and knowledge crucial for success in graduate programs and careers.

In addition to almost 600 students, the Honors College has six full-time faculty members: Interim Dean Dan Gerth, Associate Teaching Professor; Associate Dean Emeritus and Director of Writing Nancy Gleason, Associate Teaching Professor; Dr. Kimberly Baldus, Teaching Professor; Geri Friedline, Associate Teaching Professor; Christoph Schiessl, Assistant Teaching Professor; Ann Torrusio, Assistant Teaching Professor; and Kate Votaw, Assistant Teaching Professor. In addition to our full-time faculty members, we have four staff members who work with the faculty to serve the college: Mandy Bibee, Academic Advisor; Sherry Gerrein, Administrative Associate; Holly Pope, Admissions Representative; and Pat Sanders, Office Support Staff.

The college recruits high achieving candidates in coordination with the campus recruitment team. Students must apply to the Honors College with a supplemental application form, two writing samples and two letters of recommendation; students must be accepted to the University before we can accept them to the Honors College. Applicants are accepted on the basis of: an interview, ACT scores, GPA, class rank (if available), scores from the writing samples, and letters of recommendation.

The Four- and Two-Year Certificates allow for both first-time college students and transfer students to take part in the Honors College Program. The Four-Year Certificate entails 40 hours comprised from course work; independent study, internship, or research projects; and a one hour portfolio capstone project that assists students with their writing progress, applications for graduate school, or resumes for careers.   The Two-Year Certificate entails 22 hours also comprised from the course work, projects, and the capstone discussed for the Four-Year Certificate.  We also offer a Two-Plus program for students who transfer after one to three semester(s) of college work. The total credit hours for this program are determined on a case-by-case basis. 

Qualified students who are admitted in good standing are offered Honors Merit Scholarships, in addition to any scholarships offered by the University and/or outside donors. We also offer Named Scholarships from various donors in addition to the Merit Scholarships we offer at admission. Those are donor specific, and must be applied for separately.

The Honors program offers l000- and 2000-level courses that satisfy General Education requirements and 3000-level courses that are frequently cross-listed with various departments and satisfy requirements for various majors, minors, and other certificates.  Our 4000-level classes include the portfolio class, independent study, internships and research projects.

Central to the Honors program is Honors advising and the Honors Portfolio. Each student is assigned an Honors advisor, in addition to his or her major advisor. The full-time faculty advisor assists students with selecting a major, mapping his or her progress and academic program, and plans each semester's course schedule. Each student in the college builds a writing portfolio beginning with the two application essays, and once enrolled in the college, students submit one essay per semester until graduation. During senior year-first or second semester, students take Honors 4l00: Portfolio. This one-hour independent study allows the student to review and analyze his or her writing portfolio and writing progress, as well as prepare for their future careers or graduate school application processes.

In addition to the classes, advising and writing in the Honors College, students have exciting opportunities in research, internships, student government, and social and service events. The student government PLHCSA offers students the chance to socialize and engage in college and campus events. The Mentor program, SMART, provides service to the college and at the same time, creates ways for students to develop their own skills in student recruitment and retention.