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John Whitehead
Email: johnww@wju.edu
Phone: 304-243-2353


Ignatian Honors Seminar


The Ignatian Honors Seminar is the culmination of the Honors Program. It is the place where our very best students, who have distinguished themselves during their first two years of undergraduate study, are afforded the singular opportunity to model for the campus the fully integrated mission of WJU, to be men and women committed to

  • An on-going love affair with intellectual experience and growth;
  • A willingness to step forward and lead one's peers and one's community;
  • A desire to serve with and among others.

Ignatian Honors Seminar Design
The Ignatian Honors Seminar will be an unprecedented opportunity for outstanding students and the Mentor of their choice to select a topic and design a course of study together. The total student enrollment of the Ignatian Honors Seminar will be 12: six seniors and six juniors.

Over the semester break and during the Spring semester, the six juniors rising toward senior status in the Ignatian Honors Seminar will work in cooperation with the Director to recruit the following year's Mentor (who will receive a course-release and a $1,000 summer course-development grant) and begin developing a topic. During the Spring semester, the Director of the Honors Program will invite all qualified sophomores in the Laut Honors College to make Application for the Ignatian Honors Seminar. Once the six Laut Honors College sophomores (rising toward junior status) are selected for the Ignatian Honors Seminar, they will join with the six juniors (rising toward senior status) to work with the Director and the selected Mentor in planning a topic and preparing projects and presentations for the next year's seminar.

Ignatian Honors Seminar Curriculum
The 12 IHS students and their Mentor will have great freedom to innovate in the creation of their seminar syllabus. Several mandatory agenda for the Ignatian Honors Seminar will ensure the continued connection of the IHS students to their peers in the Laut Honors College and the WJU campus:

  • At least 14 but no more than 16 total meetings over an academic year, including sessions with at least two invited guests per semester;
  • Attendance at the Fall and Spring Honors Convocations;
  • At least one activity planned for the Laut Honors College students, related to the Ignatian Honors Seminar topic;
  • a service-learning experience with the Laut Honors College students, related to the Ignatian Honors Seminar topic;
  • For the six Ignatian Honors Seminar seniors, a group-research project to be presented on WJU's annual Research Day (replacing the traditional "senior capstone" projects of the current Honors Program);
  • a significant travel experience, related to the Ignatian Honors Seminar topic. Seminar students are encouraged to raise funds to defray the personal costs for their travel, with the Honors Program promising to match funds up to a specified limit.

Qualifications for Participation

Juniors (HON 300): Must maintain a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA. Must attend meetings and other required events regularly (one missed meeting per semester maximum). Attendance is more than simply showing up: true attention is signified by engagement in the physical, intellectual, and spiritual experience of the program, which, at the level of the Ignatian Honors Seminar, implies genuine ownership of and responsibility for the success of the seminar's course of study.

Seniors (HON 400): Includes all the qualifications for IHS juniors, plus active and creative participation in the IHS Research Project.

The IHS Mentor will evaluate the 12 students at the end of each semester, or more often as necessary. Students refusing genuine engagement with the program will be asked to resign. At any time, a student in the HIS may request to withdraw from the Ignatian Honors Seminar, but those holding Laut Scholarships will forfeit the remainder of their scholarship money.

Qualifications for Graduation with Ignatian Honors
All IHS members who have met the qualifications for IHS participation will graduate with Ignatian Honors at the annual WJU Commencement ceremony in May. It is expected that IHS members will have completed all four semesters with the seminar. However, reasonable one-semester exemptions are available (except for the HON 400 Spring semester, when the IHS Research Project is due) for:

  • WJU course scheduling conflicts;
  • study abroad;
  • academic clinicals, internships, or other residencies;
  • health or injury.

Ignatian Honors Scholars anticipating the necessity of an exemption are encouraged to contact the Director of the Honors Program and the IHS Mentor at once.

Ignatian Honors Seminar graduates will be distinguished by category at Commencement and provided distinguishing garb to augment the traditional academic gown. Because of the cumulative GPA requirement for Ignatian Honors Scholars, all IHS graduates will also graduate with some level of WJU academic honors.





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