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Honors Program

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Student Learning Outcomes

The Honors Program's goals are closely linked to those of Marist College:

Academic Excellence – To create enriched educational opportunities for capable, strongly prepared, highly motivated students that reflect a level of challenge suitable to this group both within and outside of the classroom.

Civic Learning and Leadership – To contribute to the development of the students’ ability to lead, promote, and actively participate in civic learning projects that effect positive change, as well as their ability to be effective team members.

Integrity – To improve intellectual discourse among students and faculty through a meaningful curriculum of advanced coursework, seminars, and special events that demonstrate appropriate professional standards of behavior and respect for intellectual property and that demonstrate an active commitment to learning.

Global Citizenship – To enhance classroom learning with related experiences that encourage students to apply their special knowledge and skills in a way that serves others in the local and global community.

Continuous Learning – To offer eligible students challenging options for self-directed learning that may involve special projects within their majors or in the liberal arts core, and a culminating, distinctive work reflective of participation in the Honors Program.

Upon successful completion of the Honors Program, students should have:

  1. Developed a set of skills that enable independent and continuous learning.
  2. Enhanced critical-thinking skills developed through engagement in academic and nontraditional learning experiences requring sophisticated modes of inquiry.
  3. Developed collaborative and leadership skills practiced within a learning community composed of honors students and faculty.
  4. Demonstrated the characteristics of leadership, citizenship, and integrity as defined in the program mission.
  5. Designed, developed, and presented an Honors Project that integrates the mission, core values, and learning experiences of the Honors Program.

The goal of the Honors Program is to keep students academically challenged, while building character and fostering leadership skills. The curriculum is designed to allow academically talented students to achieve their full potential, enhancing their overall Marist educational experience.

Ideas and Culture

Marist is ideally situated to take advantage of intellectual and cultural opportunities in both the Hudson River Valley and New York City. Each semester the Honors Program schedules lectures by top scholars and professionals. Honors students also frequently visit cultural sites, museums, and theatrical performances.

This semester, the Honors Program has traveled to the Wassaic Project, a community-based arts project in the Hudson Valley, to discuss how arts can change communities. Students have also visited the studio of a prominent contemporary artist. The Honors Program also regularly invites academics to speak with students about their research.

In addition, the Honors Program routinely schedules events that highlight important contemporary issues. Recently, the Honors Program hosted events with oncology surgeons on the ethics of surgery, a talk on contemporary art with a Wall Street Journal art critic, and discussed the life of an opera singer with a mezzo-soprano who routinely performs at the Metropolitan Opera. 

The cultural and intellectual mission of the Honors Program is especially evident in Prof. John White’s honors opera seminar. In addition to learning about the history and aesthetics of opera, honors students attend five operas at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Recently honors students have visited the following sites as co-curricular and extra-curricular activities:

  • Gettysburg, PA
  • Tenement Museum, New York City
  • Metropolitan Opera, New York City
  • Broadway, New York City

Civic Learning & Leadership 

Honors students are preparing to become leaders in their social and professional communities, and they take an honors seminar with an emphasis on civic and service learning. This seminar includes traditional academic content, but the students also work collectively and creatively on problems and their solutions. For example, every semester the Honors Program offers “Ethics of Food,” taught by Dr. Joseph Campisi. The course asks important questions about the consumption, production, and distribution of food. Students join Dr. Campisi at a variety of relevant locations in the Hudson River Valley. 

In addition to the civic and service learning seminar, the Honors Program creates an environment on Marist’s campus in which students emerge as leaders, including a mentor program for first-year students. In addition, the Honors Program hosts an annual lecture with a prominent academic figure in leadership studies, as well as an annual leadership case study competition. This past November, Professor James Honan of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and Kennedy School of Government delivered the fall leadership lecture. In addition, the Honors Program runs a monthly leadership lunch to meet informally with campus leaders.

Building Community in Honors

The Honors Program provides social, academic, and cultural programming to build a strong sense of community among students. In the first year, for example, Honors students can live in desginated campus Honors housing, and as upperclassmen, Honors students take small seminar-style classes together. Throughout their four years, Honors students regularly participate in social and cultural events together. Recently, Honors students have planned a fire pit night, an ice cream social, and an apple picking trip.