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Honors Access

Westfield State University

Contact Information

Vanessa Diana
Honors Program Chair
577 Western Ave.
Westfield, MA 01086-1630
P | 413-572-8086
F | 413-572-8062
updated | 04/22
Home campus enrollment is required.
3.3 GPA Required
About the Program
The purpose of the Honors Program is to promote intellectual growth on campus and enrich student-faculty interactions. The Program does this by offering interesting, challenging courses and projects for qualified students and by sponsoring other events which contribute to the intellectual life of the College community. First-year students who have demonstrated strong academic promise through high school grades and test scores are invited into the Program, other students may qualify for the Program by earning a 3.3 grade-point-average after thirty credit hours at the College, and such students can also be invited into the program. The Academic Experience Core courses: A central focus of the Program is strong course offerings. Each semester as many as five Honors core courses are taught by talented faculty from across campus. These have included courses such as "Astronomy," "The History of Jazz," "Political Philosophy and Film," and "Introduction to Criminal Justice," all of which fulfill various general education requirements while providing early opportunity for participation and interaction with professors in small classes. Elective courses: After completing one or two Honors core courses, Honors students can enroll in upper-level Honors elective courses. Developed specifically for the Honors Program, these courses are interdisciplinary, encouraging students to make connections between disciplines or traditions of knowledge, and can be team-taught. Most also include a research component, and some courses include educational activities outside class. A "Cyborg Identities" seminar, for instance, might include a trip to museums or collections associated with film, and a "Status of the World's Women" class has traveled to the United Nations in New York to participate in discussions of global women's issues. Past Honors electives also have included: Contemporary Family Diversity, Magic, Sorcery, and Witchcraft, Cryptology: The Science of Codes, Population Modeling, Issues of the Viet Nam War, The Shape of Space, Work and Economic Justice and The Problem of Evil Honors elective courses are offered only after each has been approved by the Honors Program. The process is competitive, and only those courses that advance the overall scope of the program and promise to be interdisciplinary, innovative, and challenging are chosen. Commonwealth Scholars Commonwealth Honors accreditation was granted to the college's Honors Program in 2003, and provides for a new distinction, the Commonwealth Honors Scholar, as recognition of high accomplishments in Honors. This distinction is available to Honors students who complete 12 or 15 credit-hours of Honors courses, are then approved by the program director for a 6-credit senior project in their major field(s) of study, and attain a 3.3 grade point average. Commonwealth Scholar status is noted on a student's transcript. A College Honors degree means that students who complete at least six Honors courses, including at least two Honors electives, with a GPA of 3.3 will have the designation, "College Honors Scholar," indicated on their transcripts. Such students either enter the program as First year or transfer students, or are accepted into College Honors by the director prior to their last semester. Another important and widely used option is that students who after their first year maintain a GPA of 3.0 or greater may also take Honors courses as a means of enriching their education and exploring their interest in the more structured options outlined. The Whole Honors Experience Beyond robust courses, the Honors Program seeks to support a well-rounded College experience for students. This partly happens through Honors students becoming acquainted with one another and generating activities of common interest. The Program has also encouraged leadership and participation through other programs: • Off campus publishing and presenting: students are encouraged to extend their intellectual activity beyond the classroom and test their ideas before larger audiences and enter the broader exchange of ideas. A very successful means for this has been the Spring Commonwealth Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Conference. At this annual undergraduate event, usually advanced Honors students whose work is chosen present their projects orally or as poster presentations. Students gain confidence in their speaking abilities and become aware of a larger public forum for their thinking. • Campus publishing: honors student are encouraged to submit work for college publications available to them, and to submit materials for various national Honors competitions. • Honors events: the program seeks to co-sponsor various activities on and off campus which will provide its students with challenging opportunities beyond the classroom.

Available Honors Courses
Honors courses vary by semester. Please contact Dr. Vanessa Diana, Honors Program Chair English Department, Email: vdiana@westfield.ma.edu for available courses.

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