Honors College to replace general-education requirements

b9287470-c1dd-476a-bb98-8ec66f21318c.jpgHonors College students will no longer need to complete the usual APU general education requirements, but instead will complete a new curriculum that focuses on leadership, virtue and faith.

The change, approved by the Faculty Senate in February, will be implemented for incoming freshmen this fall.

According to Honors College Dean David Weeks, the new curriculum will require the freshmen to complete nine courses, equivalent to 48 units.

As part of the new program, honors students will be offered reading- and writing-intensive courses, a “great books” emphasis, an Oxford-style tutorial and seminars that have no secondary books or written exams. The curriculum will also accommodate all 61 undergraduate programs.

Weeks began working on the new curriculum in spring 2013 before his induction as the college’s inaugural dean in July that year.

“I wanted to create something something that would expand shoulder-to-shoulder with what’s going on in Baylor, Notre Dame and other such places,” Weeks said.

He said he performed an extensive study of what other honors colleges were doing across the country, visiting universities such as Indiana Wesleyan as well as the other two mentioned. He said he found most honors colleges had a much more substantial, focused curriculum than APU.

Weeks also conducted seven focus groups, five of them with faculty and two with students. These allowed participants to contribute their own ideas as well as listen to his proposals. Several components of the new curriculum were a result of these contributions.

Students who are currently in the Honors College will continue the program under which they first enrolled. They will have the opportunity to participate in portions of the new curriculum if they are interested.

Sophomore honors student and political science major Joshua Roquemore hopes to see students be challenged during their time at APU.

“I like the way the curriculum is going, especially since it’s leaning even more toward individual students finding themselves by the time they graduate … and being able to use that in whatever field they want to go into,” Roquemore said.