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Introductory Statement

The Honors Program Handbook serves as both a charter, and an operating manual for the Arizona Western College Honors Program. We ask that you become familiar with this Handbook, because it constitutes the guidelines for not only the Honors Program, but also for its membership. This Handbook should be readily available to all members, both in print and online. The Honors Council and Director are charged with implementing and following the policies described herein.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Arizona Western College Honors Program is to serve as a vehicle for students to explore and expand their intellectual, physical, social and emotional boundaries.

Philosophy of the Honors Program

The Honors Program is dedicated to providing a variety of formal and informal learning opportunities designed to enrich each student’s overall experience at Arizona Western College. Our goal is to encourage interaction between students and faculty that stimulates intellectual and emotional student growth. We – the Honors Council and Director – are dedicated to working with the rest of the AWC Faculty to develop well-crafted curricula as the foundation for the Honors Program.

To achieve this, the Honors Program raises the level of discourse at AWC by encouraging and fostering in Honors students an attitude of intellectual risk-taking, and an emboldened approach to the standard conditions of academia. The Honors Program joins the larger College community in promoting the value of life-long learning among its students, faculty, and administrative staff.

Honors Council

The Honors Council is comprised of Arizona Western College and Northern Arizona University Faculty and administrators, charged with the oversight of Honors Program operations. An important function of the Council is to periodically revisit this Handbook, and to revise and update it as needed.

The Honors Council’s primary purpose is to assist and guide the Honors Director in the operation of the Honors Program. Specifically, the Council reviews and recommends changes to the Honors Program Handbook; deliberates on scholarship distribution; and confers with the Honors Director on issues pertaining to funding, student performance, and Program resources. Additionally, members are to assist the Director in mentoring and directing Honors faculty.

Honors Council Members

The Honors Council shall be made up of the following representatives:

  • Honors Program Director (Chairperson)

  • Honors Program Secretary

  • 1 Faculty – Business and Liberal Arts Division

  • 1 Faculty – Career and Technical Education Division

  • 1 Faculty – Humanities Division

  • 1 Faculty – Science, Math and Agriculture Division

  • 2 Faculty-at-large Representatives

  • 1 Advisement Services Representative

  • Phi Theta Kappa President

  • 1 NAU-Yuma Representative

Duties of the Honors Director

The Honors Director is charged with the daily operations of the Honors Program, assisted by a part-time employee, at least one work-study student, and additional student volunteers. The Honors Director acts as an advocate for the Honors Program, its student members, and its affiliated faculty.

As chairman of the Honors Council, the Director works closely with the Council members in the performance of operational duties and responsibilities. In addition to Council tasks, the Director is charged with:

  • Welcoming new students into the program.

  • Helping student members adjust to campus life.

  • Working with AWC Faculty in developing and implementing Honors curriculum.

  • Networking with other academic institutions and ancillary service providers to discover scholarship opportunities for transferring student members.

  • Hosting Honors Seminar each semester.

  • Officiating and validating Honors in-course contracts.

  • Supervision of office staff.

  • Working with AWC Faculty to ensure course schedule availability.

  • Promoting the Program at local high schools and at AWC.

  • Providing a Program Report to the Council no less than twice per semester.

  • Making funding, academic, and disciplinary recommendations to the Council and to the Dean of Instruction.

Honors Program Admission Requirements

High School Applicants shall meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Ranked within the top ten per cent (10%) of graduating class.

  • American College Test (ACT) score of at least 24, or Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) score of at least 1575.

  • An appropriate qualifying score on the AWC Placement Exam (Eligibility for ENG 101 – Freshman Composition or appropriate reading score and MAT 122 – Intermediate Algebra).

Continuing AWC student applicants must:

  • Complete at least 12 college credit hours, in courses 100-level or above, with a GPA of at least 3.5.

All applicants must submit the following application components:

  • Personal information sheet.

  • Letter of Interest

  • 500-1000 word essay describing academic and professional goals.

  • High school and college transcripts.

  • One letter of academic reference.

  • One letter of character reference.

Exceptions to the application requirements may be allowed with the expressed permission of the Honors Director, subject to approval by the Honors Council. In rare circumstances, it is within the purview of the Honors Director to permit students showing extraordinary talent in a particular discipline or area of study to enter the program who otherwise would not meet the admission criteria above. Students who do not meet the published admission requirements, however, will enter the program on a provisional basis for a term of one semester. To remain in the Honors Program beyond that, the student must meet or exceed all Honors Program responsibilities detailed in this Handbook.

The Application Process

High school student applications will be processed during the spring semester. Continuing AWC student applications will be processed throughout the academic year.

Students admitted to the Honors Program shall be invited to join via email, and will have the opportunity to either accept or decline that invitation. New Program students will schedule an appointment with the Honors Director for academic advisement, and to access program benefits.

Honors Transfer Policy

The Honors Program will recognize up to seven credit hours in the event one of the classes is a four-credit General Education (GE) science class. GE Honors credit can be awarded if transferred from institutions affiliated with the National Collegiate Honors Council.

Categories of Honors Memberships

There are three categories of student memberships in the Honors Program: Full (in good standing), Probational, and Provisional.

Full (in good standing) members: A student who meets all the criteria requirements, and accepts the Honors Director’s invitation to join, shall be considered a full member in good standing. To maintain this status, a student must maintain standards of academic excellence within Honors Program advocacy and service learning. Only full members in good standing shall be eligible to receive Program scholarship opportunities. Only full members in good standing shall be eligible to receive an Honors degree from Arizona Western College.

Probational members: Full members in good standing who do not maintain standards of academic excellence within Honors Program advocacy and service learning during the semester marking period will be reduced in status to probational. Full membership can be restored by raising academic standards to acceptable levels.

Provisional members: A student not meeting the standards of academic excellence but who has been admitted into the program by recommendation of the Honors Director shall be considered provisional member. A provisional member may transition to full membership in good standing when academic standards of excellence are met and maintained. A provisional member must have a cumulative current GPA of at least 3.0 with the potential to graduate with a GPA of at least 3.5.

Duration of Program Membership

Students may remain members of the Program as long as they continue to make progress toward earning their degree, while maintaining the standards of academic excellence, within Program advocacy and service learning.

Scholarships

Merit scholarships are awarded each semester at the discretion of the Honors Council and the Honors Council. Qualification for these awards is competitive, and may be available for up to four semesters. The number and amount of awards varies depending on available resources and number of qualified candidates.

Honors Degree Options

To accommodate the widest range of student interests and to facilitate the greatest involvement in the Honors Program, we offer the following degree choices to those students who have met the above eligibility criteria:

Honors Liberal Arts

  • Complete with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher all coursework for a transfer degree (A.A., A. Bus., A.S.) in any major, or complete the AWC General Education Curriculum (AGEC-A, AGEC-B, or AGEC-S).

  • Demonstrate competency in a second language, or complete two courses of foreign language study.

  • Complete two Honors Seminars (HON-180).

  • Complete either an Honors Colloquium (HON-280), OR an Honors Capstone Project (HON-285).

  • Complete at least *nineteen (19) additional Honors credits, comprised of Honors designated General Education courses and courses with the HON designated prefix.

  • AGEC-S students need only complete eighteen (18) additional Honors credits.

Honors General Studies

  • Complete with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher all coursework for a transfer degree (A.A., A. Bus., A.S.) in any major, or complete the AWC General Education Curriculum (AGEC-A, AGEC-B, or AGEC-S).

  • Complete two Honors Seminars (HON-180).

  • Complete either an Honors Colloquium (HON-280), OR an Honors Capstone Project (HON-285).

  • Complete at least *nineteen (19) additional Honors credits, comprised of Honors designated General Education courses and courses with the HON designated prefix.

  • AGEC-S students need only complete eighteen (18) additional Honors credits.

Discretional Honors

  • Complete with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher all coursework for a transfer degree (A.A., A. Bus., A.S.) in any major, or complete the AWC General Education Curriculum (AGEC-A, AGEC-B, or AGEC-S), or complete a terminal, non-transfer degree, (A.A.S.)

  • Complete two Honors Seminars (HON-180).

  • Complete either an Honors Colloquium (HON-280), OR an Honors Capstone Project (HON-285).

  • Complete at least twelve (12) additional Honors credits, comprised of Honors designated General Education courses and courses with the HON designated prefix.

In the event a student does not complete an Honors Degree program, all courses completed for Honors credit will carry an Honors (HON) prefix, or be designated with an “H” on a student’s transcript. For all of the above degree programs, no grade of less than “C” may be used in the overall program, and no grade of less than “B” will count toward Honors Degree requirements. All Honors Program students earning one of the above degrees will be recognized at the AWC/NAU-Yuma Honors Convocation held at the completion of the spring semester.

Curriculum

Honors Core Courses

Honors core courses include the following:

  • HON-180: Honors Seminar, 1 credit (required) – Students shall complete two semesters of Honors Seminar – one in each of the fall and spring semesters. The fall HON-180 will serve as an orientation to the Honors Program, while the spring HON-180 will focus on creating a professional student portfolio in anticipation of university transfer, or employment after earning a degree with Arizona Western College.

  • HON-199: Honors Field Trip, 1 credit – Under the guidance of discipline-specific experts, students will have the opportunity to apply critical thinking skills through experiential engagement. Previous Honors Field Trips have included City as Text, State University Honors Programs, Yuma County hikes, and metropolitan museums.

  • HON-280: Honors Colloquium, 3 credits (required option) – Honors Colloquium consists of special academic programs of an interdisciplinary or creative nature, presented by AWC faculty. Topics for Honors Colloquium reflect universal topics, or current, relevant social issues. Previous Honors Colloquia have included the fate of the Colorado River, effective parenting, campus recycling, students in free enterprise, and film in culture.

  • HON-285: Honors Capstone Project, 3 credits (required option) – The purpose of the Capstone Project is to challenge students intellectually, while providing an outlet for individual creativity and interest. Project subjects are unique to each student, but all projects include the following components:

    • Creation of a Capstone Team consisting of a minimum of the student, the Honors Director, and two discipline-specific advisors/mentors.

    • Regular Team meetings to set goals, establish timelines, and evaluate progress.

    • Documented research on the Project topic.

    • Formal presentation of research to a specific entity or group.

Honors General Education Courses

Each semester, the Honors Program is committed to offer Honors sections in ALL of the GE content areas on a regular, three-year rotation. It is the responsibility of the student to enroll in Honors GE courses that are congruent with their degree program. In the event a scheduling conflict cannot be resolved, at the discretion of the Honors Director, a student may contract for a compatible course.

At the discretion of the Honors Director, non-Program students may enroll in selected Honors-designated courses with an Honors Faculty referral.

Responsibilities of Honors Program Students

Honors students shall maintain the following standards of academic excellence, within Program advocacy and service learning:

  • Minimum GPA – Students shall maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5. Students failing to meet this requirement will be placed on probational status as defined previously in this Handbook.

  • Full Course Load – Students shall be enrolled in at least twelve (12) credit hours during fall and spring semesters, regardless of financial aid requirements. Students failing to meet this requirement will be placed on probational status as defined previously in this Handbook.

  • Participation in Honors Program Curriculum – Students shall enroll in and complete all required courses within the Honors Program Curriculum as specified herein. Students failing to meet this requirement will be placed on probational status as defined previously in this Handbook.

  • Advisement – Students shall meet with the Honors Director or a designated H-advisor each fall and spring semester for academic advisement. The student shall, under the direction of the Advisor, determine the student’s discipline of study, explore available degree options, and develop an academic/degree plan.

In addition to the Honors Program standards of academic excellence, Program students are expected to actively participate in Program recruitment and advocacy.

  • Students shall serve as champions for the Honors Program, assisting the Honors Director in recruitment and advocacy not only on AWC’s campuses, but also within the greater Yuma and La Paz communities.

  • Students shall accompany the Honors Director on local high school visits and other scheduled recruitment opportunities.

  • Students will plan, organize, and host activities and/or events that promote awareness of and involvement in the AWC Honors Program.

Program students are also expected to actively participate in service-learning, a standard of excellence that is central to Honors education at Arizona Western College. Service-learning involves students in dynamic, challenging, creative, and relevant educational opportunities both in and out of the classroom. The key to service learning is engagement: Honors education rejects the notion of passive, lecture-based learning in favor of inquiry-based educational opportunities. This method of instruction seeks to draw on students’ innate curiosity and love of learning in order to learn about the world around them by experiencing it. These community-based learning opportunities are both intellectually challenging and personally meaningful to Honors Program students in our community.

  • Students shall develop, coordinate, contribute to, or participate in a community-based service learning project during their tenure in this program.

  • The selected project should develop the students’ leadership skills, group interaction, social skills, data-gathering and research skills, and their participation as citizens of a larger community.

  • Students shall document, under the guidance of an approved advisor, fifteen (15) hours of service-learning each semester.

Acknowledgements

The AWC Honors Program recognizes Dr. Doug Brown (Professor of Political Science, Retired) as the founder and original Director of this Program.

We also thank the faculty and staff of Arizona Western College, and members of our community for serving as Honors faculty and Honors Mentors/Advisors.

Special thanks go to the Arizona Western College administrators for their continued support of and commitment to our Program, our students, and “the Honors way.”

 

Handbook revised 2003/2004, 2006/2007, 2008/2009, 2010/2011, 2012/2013

 

 

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