From Lib Ed to Gandhi
From Lib Ed to Gandhi: The Honors Program's Diverse Expansion
By Helen Langan
Westminster College freshman Jessica Shurtleff graduated from Alta High School last spring with a 4.0 grade point average and an ACT score of 29 (equivalent to an SAT score of 1300). Over the summer she participated in a highly competitive film workshop at the Sundance Film Institute entitled "Real Stories." During the workshop she collaborated on creating nine documentary films--one of them her own. She then went to work for the Spy Hop film company to work on a documentary for the PBS "Beyond Borders" series. This fall Shurtleff began her freshman year at
The Westminster College Honors Program is a highly competitive program offering a unique experience for academically and intellectually prepared students who want more out of their undergraduate studies. The program consists of 100 students and usually admits about 35 students each year as entering freshmen. The most recent entering class has 36 students with an average high school GPA of 3.91, including six valedictorians, and an average ACT score of 29. Applications were up 72 percent over the previous year.
The core of the program is a seven-course seminar sequence, which replaces the college-wide liberal education requirements. The classes students take in this series are team-taught, interdisciplinary seminars that encourage active learning, offer personalized attention, and develop critical thinking skills.
The recent success that the Honors Program has experienced in recruiting such accomplished students is due in part to the tremendously positive changes initiated under the leadership of Richard Badenhausen, Associate Professor and Director of the Honors Program. Badenhausen, who moved to
Here are some of the most noteworthy changes that Badenhausen has brought to the Honors Program in the short time that he has been at
Through both course work and the many programmatic changes, the Honors Program offers its students enriched opportunities such as leadership training, mentoring and funding for research, meetings with visiting speakers, writing awards, and a scholarship resource library, among others. The program also offers a range of upper-level seminars that cover topics beyond the seven-course seminar sequence.
In the future Badenhausen would like to attract an even stronger and more diverse group of students to the Honors program and to secure an "Honors space" to house the program's many activities.
When asked about her experience so far in the Honors Program, Shurtleff remarked, "I love the Honors Program. Richard (Badenhausen) and Nick (More) are really good teachers." In comparison to other educational experiences she has had, Shurtleff said, "It's a lot more work, definitely a change from writing in high school. I think I'm really getting the hang of it now."
Shurtleff is majoring in communication and, one day, hopes to work in television news and documentary film making. She believes that the Honors Program at
Helen Langan is an assistant to President Bassis.