Honors Program

Careers

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Courses

For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

 HNRS 100 - Gateway: What Is Art For? (3 cred.)

Through the Gateway, students are introduced to different ways of knowing, thereby laying the foundation for the further development of a liberal arts education. Students enhance their capacity for informed analysis, responsible evaluation and effective argument construction leading to the ability to base actions and decisions upon the former. The students are encouraged to recognize value in varying epistemologies and engage in an active and intellectual exchange of ideas as part of an academic community formed via students' and instructors' co-investigation of various topics and disciplines. The course culminates with student-chosen and directed group presentations. Prerequisites: admission to the Honors Program and participation in the Honors Orientation program.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 HNRS 100 - Gateway: What Is Storytelling? (3 cred.)

Through the Gateway students are introduced to different ways of knowing thereby laying the foundation for the further development of a liberal arts education. Students enhance their capacity for informed analysis, responsible evaluation and effective argument construction leading to the ability to base actions and decisions upon the former. The students are encouraged to recognize value in varying epistemologies and engage in an active and intellectual exchange of ideas as part of an academic community formed via students' and instructors' co-investigation of various topics and disciplines. The course culminates with student-chosen and directed group presentations. Prerequisites: admission to the Honors Program and participation in the Honors Orientation program.

 HNRS 200 - Honors Forum (1 cred.)

An application of the core principles of the Honors Program including active learning, interpretation, integration and collaborative learning. Students engage in active investigation and intellectual exchange of ideas and information surrounding a theme or topic agreed upon by all students in the class. The entire class determines an appropriate vehicle for a public presentation of their work and must demonstrate coherent understanding of the selected issue or topic rather than presenting a collection of separate insights. Prerequisites: HNRS 100, and sophomore standing.

 HNRS 304 - Intro to the Great Conversation (1 cred.)

An introduction to the ongoing discussion of the timeless and universal ideas that are the foundation of Western Civilization. Students pursue the study of these ideas through guided reading of selections taken from the range of Western intellectual history. Prerequisites: HNRS 100, and junior standing, or instructor permission.

 HNRS 400 - Oxford Tutorial (1 cred.)

Honors students come together as autonomous learners in a supportive academic community to investigate a mutually decided upon theme or topic relating to a liberal arts education and constructive citizenship. Students are expected to illustrate a mastery of the goals promoted by the Honors Program and a liberal arts education including the rigorous application of analysis resulting in a coherent and integrated understanding of the selected theme or topic. Provides an opportunity to engage in larger philosophical inquiry and debate. Prerequisite: HNRS 200, HNRS 304 and senior standing or instructor permission. 

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Kelsey L. Bennett, Ph.D. headshot
Honors Program Director
Phone: 970.943.7021
Office Location: Taylor Hall Honors Center 110A
Brian Bernhardt, Ph.D. headshot
Associate Professor of Politics & Government
Phone: 970.943.3025
Office Location: Kelley Hall 205
Anders Johnson, MFA headshot
Assistant Professor of Art
Phone: 970.943.2192
Office Location: Quigley Hall 229
Chris Lee, Ph.D. headshot
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
Phone: 970.943.2256
Office Location: Hurst Hall 218
Lynn Sikkink, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Anthropology
Phone: 970.943.2062
Office Location: Hurst Hall 31C
Heather Thiessen-Reily, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of History
Phone: 970.943.7128
Office Location: Kelley Hall 225
Zachary Treisman, Ph.D.  headshot
Lecturer of Mathematics
Phone: 970.943.2075
Office Location: Hurst Hall 110

Scholarships

Program-Based Scholarships

The Western Presidential Honors Scholarship

Description

The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation, are elite scholarships awarded to Western’s highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program. 

Each year three new Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 will be awarded to three incoming freshmen.

 In addition, all continuing Honors students may apply for Presidential Honors Scholarships. The following information provides due dates, criteria, and how to prepare your application. 

Incoming Applicants:

Eligible candidates should have a high school, transfer, or Western Colorado University grade point average of, at minimum, 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. Candidates must also demonstrate leadership qualities or experience and a commitment to intellectual inquiry and academic challenge.

Incoming candidates should submit the following:

  • A cover letter explaining why you want to be a part of Western's Honors Program and what you think the value is in being a part of the Honors Program;
  • Two sealed letters of recommendation from teachers, guidance counselors, professors or academic advisors which address the student’s accomplishments and suitability for a college Honors Program;
  • A copy of your most recent educational transcript;
  • A resume of your qualifications, accomplishments, service, extra-curricular activities;
  • Any other documentation that would be helpful in evaluating you as a candidate for this Scholarship.

Applications are MUST BE RECEIVED BY DEC. 6th of the year of application and should be submitted to:

Western Colorado University Honors Program
Dr. Kelsey L. Bennett, Honors Director
The Presidential Honors Scholarship Program
Taylor Hall 110A
Western Colorado University
Gunnison CO 81231
970.943.7021 

Continuing Applicants (current Western Honors students):

Note that continuing Honors students do not need to have been awarded a previous Presidential Honors Scholarship to apply. 

Five Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2,500 each will be awarded to five continuing Honors Students in good standing in the program.  Each Presidential Honors Scholar will serve in a leadership position on the Honors Student Advisory Board (SAB) for the coming academic year.  Officer positions include President, Vice President, Communications Coordinator, Service & Academic Leadership Committee Chair, and Social & Community Development Committee Chair.  Officers will be determined by a majority vote among recipients.  Attempts will be made to maintain a balance of majors and class standing within the group, although preference will be given to applicants actively involved with SAB, through planning and participating in Honors extracurricular activities, either as standing officers or as committee members.

All officers are expected to work together to uphold and advance the mission of the SAB: “to bring social connectivity and community involvement to the Honors Program and to be the student face of the program to the campus at large as its selected representatives. We serve as an inclusive and multi-disciplinary positive peer resource for the Honors community that represents diverse areas across campus.”

Continuing candidates should compile and submit the following in one packet, hard copy:

  • A copy of the student's most current Western transcript (minimum 3.0 GPA required);
  • A letter addressed to the Western Colorado University Foundation Scholarship Program Committee addressing the following:
    • What value should SAB add to student life in the Honors Program;
    • Evidence of Honors leadership abilities through planning and participating in Honors extracurricular activities during the current academic year;
    • Your plan for continuing to demonstrate leadership and Honors community-building activities into the coming academic year;
    • Your detailed plan for completing the Honors Program;
  • One sealed letter of recommendation from a faculty member which addresses the student's accomplishments and suitability for a Presidential Honors Scholarship. The faculty member need not currently be teaching in the Honors Program.

Applications for continuing Honors students are DUE BY MARCH 11 of the year of application and should be submitted in hard copy to the Honors Program Director, Taylor Hall 110A. It is the applicant's responsibility to verify that the hard-copy application has been received.

Officer positions:

  • The President calls and conducts meetings, facilitates communication between SAB, the Director of the Honors Program, the Honors Council, the CALL/HNRS administrative assistant, and the greater Honors student body;
  • The Vice President maintains the budget with financial discipline and keeps records;
  • The Communications Coordinator accommodates the growing and fast-paced social media and communication needs of the program to connect SAB initiatives with the existing and prospective Honors communities as well as to the greater campus community;
  • Both the Service & Academic Leadership Committee Chair and the Social & Community Development Committee Chair take the lead with event coordination by communicating and facilitating event ideas and proposals within their respective areas to the rest of SAB.

For a detailed list of officer position descriptions, contact the Director of the Honors Program.

The Western Colorado University Foundation Scholarship Program Committee will make selections within a few weeks of the closing deadline. Notification of award recipients will follow shortly thereafter.

Institutional Scholarships

Common Scholarships

Western offers approximately 70 common scholarships for which a wide variety of students are eligible (e.g., locals, veterans, transfers). Apply for any number of these common scholarships using Western’s Common Scholarship Application, which is due April 1. For more information, visit our scholarships page.

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

Western Colorado University alumni can nominate prospective students for a $500 scholarship ($250 per semester) for first year only. Application deadline is typically June 1. For more information, visit western.edu/mars.

Neighboring States Program

Students with a permanent address from one of the seven contiguous neighboring states to Colorado who have demonstrated financial need are automatically considered for a special $1,000 per year grant, totaling $4,000 over four years.

The Western Neighboring States program can be added to WUE, CP or merit scholarships. So, if you are a permanent resident of one of those seven states—and show financial need—you are eligible.

For more information about the Neighboring States program, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Presidential Promise

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Tuition Discount Programs

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Western Merit Scholarship

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship. 

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

  • Field Experiences: Complement courses without specified field experiences or develop a more in-depth project for disciplinary-based field experiences.
     
  • Independent Study: Undertake detailed study and/or research into a unique topic or issue stemming from an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approach.
     
  • Service Learning: Apply concepts, theories and methods to issues affecting local communities.

Looking for more ways to get involved in your field of study? The Student Opportunity Center allows students to browse more than 11,000 student conferences, journals, internships, research opportunities, co-ops and funding sources.

Logo of the Student Opportunity Center

The Western Student Advisory Board

Our mission as the Student Advisory Board (SAB) is to bring social connectivity and community involvement to the Honors Program and to be the student face of the program to the campus at large as its selected representatives. We serve as an inclusive and multidisciplinary positive peer resource for the Honors community that represents diverse areas across campus.

 

A photo of a male student with a hat and sunglasses

James Bivens, Community Development Chairperson
Majors: Computer Science, Math
Favorite Honors class: Environmental Biology
Fun fact: I know a lot about native trout
Contact: james.bivens@western.edu

A photo of a female student

Jennifer Harter, Communications Coordinator
Major: Psychology
Minor: Communications
Favorite Honors class: Biology 150 Enhancement
Fun fact: I went on a political exchange to China
Contact: jennifer.harter@western.edu

A photo of a female student in a field with flowers

Kate Stern, Co-President and Honors Student Advisor
Majors: Business Administration (emphasis in Marketing), Environment & Sustainability
Favorite Honors class: Partners in the Park in the Black Canyon
Fun fact: I can ride a unicycle
Contact: kathryn.stern@western.edu


A photo of a female student

Maddy Northen, Co-President
Majors: Economics, Environment & Sustainability
Minor: Business Analytics
Favorite Honors class: #MeToo and #TimesUp
Fun fact: Otters are my favorite animal
Contact: madison.northen@western.edu

A photo of a female student

Meaghan Forbes, Vice President
Major: English (emphasis in Creative Writing)
Minors: Recreation & Outdoor Education, Philosophy, and Diversity & Humanities
Favorite Honors class: Maymester in London
Fun fact: I ran a 50k race
Contact: meaghan.forbes@western.edu

A photo of a female student

Mikaela Romano, Academic and Leadership Committee Chair
Majors: Molecular Biology, Biochemistry
Minor: General Chemistry
Favorite Honors Class: Education and Justice in Film
Fun fact: I wrestled for a year
Contact: mikaela.romano@western.edu

Honors is not about "more work, and harder," but rather about pursuing an enriched, enhanced and deeper undergraduate liberal arts education. Honors students join a diverse and discussion-rich community of intellectually adventurous scholars.

The Honors Program welcomes high-achieving students from all majors and disciplines. The Honors Core features seven credits across four courses: Gateway, Forum, Introduction to the Great Conversation and Oxford Tutorial. Students take two Honors sections of General Education courses, the offerings for which vary semester by semester. Honors Electives offer the most autonomy by giving students the option to pursue any combination of field experiences, service-learning projects, independent research and study abroad courses. 

This year, the Western Honors Program celebrates its 30th year.

Honors Program 30th anniversary logo

Benefits

  • Access to distinctive, innovative and discussion-based courses
  • Access to Honors Lounge
  • Community social events
  • Database access to thousands of internship, research and conference opportunities
  • Diverse peer group
  • Graduate with Honors distinction
  • Honors advising
  • Honors-specific scholarships
  • Leadership opportunities with the Honors Student Advisory Board
  • Priority Honors housing
  • Priority registration
  • Vote for future course offerings

Requirements

  • 3.5 GPA for admission
  • 1190 SAT/25 ACT
  • 3.0 GPA to stay in program
  • 3.3 GPA to graduate with Honors

Learn More

Reach out for more information about the program.

Honors Program Director Kelsey L Bennett
Honors Program Director
Phone: 
Office Location: 
Taylor Hall Honors Center 110A

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