The Laut Honors College commemorates the work of Fr. Stephen J. Laut, S.J., whose connection to the WJU Honors Program is detailed in the History & Design. The Laut Honors College offers to qualified incoming first-year students and returning sophomore students an opportunity to explore an intellectual topic in a variety of traditional and non-traditional experiences over the course of the academic year.
Laut Honors College Curriculum
The Laut Honors College curriculum is designed and coordinated by a faculty Mentor, who works with the Ignatian Honors Seminar, the Director of the WJU Honors Program, and other relevant WJU faculty and authorities from beyond the campus to plan and administer the year's program of activities.
The Laut Honors College curricular model has four basic modalities:
- Physical: an outdoor activity (i.e., rock-climbing, hiking, etc.)
- Cultural: a campus or community arts event (i.e., a concert, a museum exhibition, etc.)
- Service: an opportunity to be men and women for others (i.e., youth mentoring, environmental action, etc.)
- Spiritual: an exploration of ultimate meaning (i.e., a retreat, a comparative religion study, etc.)
The Laut Honors College will meet approximately 20 times over the course of the two-semester academic year. At the beginning of each semester, there will be a general orientation meeting to distribute the semester's syllabus and discuss expectations. The remaining meetings will be dedicated to the four modalities. Each semester, the LHC will undertake an academic project with a visiting faculty member; that unit of study will take the following form:
- Orientation: introduces the practical particulars (meeting time and place, etc.) and the intellectual dimension (typically through an assigned reading) of the experience; usually meets in the assigned classroom.
- Experience: typically an evening event or a weekend all-day event, often but not always off-campus.
- Reflection: synthesizes the introductory theoretical framework with the experience itself in order to achieve some new Insight about human experience.
First-year students who successfully complete the full academic year's requirements will be awarded three credits (HON 100) and invited to attend a new cycle of the Laut Honors College the following year, in which the modalities will remain the same but the topic and experiences will be entirely distinct and new. Sophomore students who successfully complete the second full academic year's requirements will be awarded an additional three credits (HON 200). At any time, a student may request to withdraw from the Laut Honors College. A student may only enter the Laut Honors College at the beginning of a semester, or by special permission of the Director of the Honors Program and the Laut Honors College Mentor.
Qualifications for Participation
First-Year Students (HON 100): Must have scored at least 1100 on the SAT and/or 24 on the ACT standardized examination and have maintained a minimum 3.5 high-school GPA. Must respond to the Laut Honors College invitation, mailed during senior year, by writing an essay on the theme described in the invitation and sending it to the Honors Program Director within the stated deadline.
Sophomores (HON 200): Must have maintained a minimum 3.0 GPA at WJU during the Fall semester of the first academic year and a minimum 3.3 GPA by the conclusion of the Spring semester of the first year. During the sophomore year, must maintain a minimum 3.3 GPA.
All Laut Honors College Students: 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. All students will be evaluated by the Laut Honors College Mentor four times over the course of the academic year, roughly corresponding to each of the four modalities. Students refusing genuine engagement with the program will be asked to resign.
WJU faculty may also contact the Director of the Honors Program to nominate qualified students who were not originally part of the program (whether because the worthy student misplaced the invitation or had a change of heart, applied too late, transferred, etc.) Such qualified students may be admitted at any point before the midterm of Spring semester of the first year. The Honors Program fervently believes that no worthy potential scholar should miss out on opportunities of the Laut Honors College.
Sophomore students who have successfully completed all relevant requirements for the Laut Honors College will be invited to apply for induction into the Ignatian Honors Seminar during Spring semester of sophomore year.