Oregon Christian college introduces rigorous honors program in 2014

Undergraduate students at George Fox University will engage culture through study of classical texts

NEWBERG, Ore., Jan. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- A rigorous new college honors program – one that gives students the opportunity to engage culture through study of classical texts – will be offered to George Fox University undergraduate students beginning in the fall of 2014.

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The William Penn Honors Program, named for the Christian statesman who championed democracy and religious freedom in founding Pennsylvania, will serve as an alternative liberal arts general education program. Modeled on the Socratic tutorial style, the four-year course of study is designed to hone students' critical thinking skills by exposing them to more than 100 classical texts – ranging from ancient literature to 20th century works – and using discussion as the primary mode of instruction.

Courses are built around the great books that have had a significant impact on Western civilization – including the Bible, the "Iliad," "The Odyssey," Dante's "Inferno," Goethe's "Faust," Milton's "Paradise Lost" and the poetry of Dunne, Shakespeare and others – and will be taught in a Christian college setting.

Works will be studied with a critical focus on how they inform contemporary thought and how they harmonize – or fail to harmonize – with the example and teachings of Christ, according to Mark David Hall, a political science professor who helped draft the proposal for the program.

The proposal states the "program fosters a community of well-prepared, highly motivated students, which is fully en­gaged with the larger stu­dent body in various majors and campus activities." Professors serve both as instructors and mentors "who enjoy leading rigorous, interdisciplinary discussions of primary sources."

The program requires students to successfully complete 46 hours of honors-level coursework, which includes a one-hour first-year orientation course during the third week of August and a three-credit senior thesis course. Ultimately, the program will require students to take six hours of honors-level coursework per semester for seven semesters; students will simultaneously engage in other elective and major courses.

High school students will apply to the program when they apply for general undergraduate admission. Applicants must submit two application essays and conduct a finalist interview with the honors director and a member of the honors committee to be considered.

Foundational to the program is the idea that students must know their own culture deeply in order to address its needs in relation to their Christian faith. The program also assumes that knowledge of other cultures is necessary in order to best understand where those cultures can inform and/or provide a helpful alternative to Western traditions.

As part of the program's mentoring aspect, first-year students will organize and lead one service project each semester (for all students in the program). Second-year students will mentor first-year students, third-year students will mentor second-year students, and fourth-year students will mentor third-year students.

More information on the program is available by contacting Hall at 503-554-2674 or visiting georgefox.edu/honors-program/index.html.

George Fox University is ranked by Forbes among the top Christian universities in the country and is a Christian college classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first-tier regional university. Nearly 3,500 students attend classes on the university's campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem, and Redmond, Ore., and Boise, Idaho. George Fox offers bachelor's degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, five seminary degrees, and 11 master's and doctoral degrees.

Media Contact:

Mark Hall George Fox University, 503-554-2674, mhall@georgefox.edu

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SOURCE George Fox University



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