Honors Program Academics
“The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone….”
Together we explore texts and topics from the Christian, Western, and World traditions from the perspective of multiple disciplines across the arts and sciences. We also study these texts and topics in relation to the Christian scriptures, creeds, and narrative. We practice a mature posture of humility, empathy, and charity towards one another, towards the authors whose works we study, and towards our larger Montreat community.
The Honors Program curriculum includes two tracks, the Honors Scholars (22 credits) and the Honors Fellows (18 credits). Both tracks are the credit hour equivalent of a minor. Scholars and Fellows are in the same courses and both have full access to honors housing and activities. All honors courses replace some other requirement in the General Education core and are therefore not additional hours.
The Scholars Track
The Scholars Track is for students entering the Honors Program during their freshman year and consists of 22 required hours. This curriculum is the more intensive of the two tracks and is the best option for students who desire to be in the honors program during their entire college career.
The Fellows Track
The Fellows Track is open to students who either transfer into Montreat or for those students who matriculated at Montreat as freshman and wish from their second year onwards to participate in honors. The Fellows curriculum is 18 hours and is designed for students who are not first-time freshmen to enable them to join the community with greater flexibility.
*Please note: Course credit brought to Montreat from AP, dual credit, or community college may not be substituted for honors courses. The rationale for this policy is that honors course credit requirements are relatively low and that our curriculum is designed to interlocking for the purposes outlined above. We also believe that our Christian liberal arts college honors courses are rigorous and will continue to develop even the most college-prepared student.
II. Our Pedagogy
Texts and Topics
Students and faculty read a rotating set of works of world literature and engage with topics of perennial concern in all honors courses. (You may find a frequently read book list here along with a list of regularly occurring seminars.) These classroom discussions are grounded in the big existential questions of life including:
- What is Truth?
- How do we know?
- What is human suffering?
- What are the origins of the universe?
The curriculum of the honors program is also based in a Christian understanding of reality based on the Christian scriptures, creeds and the theological narrative of creation, the fall and redemption.
Formal and Informal Discussion
Our conversational pedagogy is designed to develop students’ confidence in their critical thinking, writing, and oral expression. Professors also lecture as we understand that sometimes this is the most effective way for getting into deep course content with which students have less experience. A handful of courses are also team-taught, meaning students can also learn from watching professors model learning and conversation with each other. The content of the courses as well as the manner of conversation are designed to encourage the community to grow in humility, charity and empathy.
III. Our Visiting Speakers
The Montreat Honors Program has always prioritized giving our students opportunities to interact directly with visiting speakers on campus. Our lecture series is the newest initiative coming out of that commitment.
2022 – 2023 Honors Program Lecture Series
Fall Honors Visiting Speaker
Dr. Daryl Charles, Acton University
October 4th, 7pm, Public Lecture
Spring Honors Visiting Speaker
Dr. Nathan King, Whitworth University
March 24th, 6 p.m., Graham Chapel: Public Lecture, “Beyond Being a Nice Person: Intellectual Virtues for Education, Vocation, and Discipleship”
What is a successful education? To be sure, such an education provides knowledge. But knowledge is easily forgotten, and can be used unwisely. For a complete education, knowledge in itself is not enough. Skills in critical thinking and writing are also central. But without proper direction, these, too, can become misguided. What is needed in addition is training that shapes the student’s character. Discussions of character are increasingly common in both the university and the workplace. However, most of these discussions focus on moral virtues such as courage, justice, wisdom, and temperance. Less often discussed—but still vital—are intellectual virtues such as curiosity, carefulness, intellectual autonomy, open-mindedness, fair-mindedness, intellectual humility, and intellectual charity. This lecture explores such virtues and their role in education, the workplace, and the Christian life.
Nathan King is Professor of Philosophy at Whitworth University. His interests include the theory of knowledge, the philosophy of education, business ethics, and the philosophy of religion. His book, The Excellent Mind: Intellectual Virtues for Everyday Life (Oxford, 2021) explores the importance of intellectual character for education, relationships, democracy, and vocation.
IV. Our Faculty
Faculty teach courses in the honors program based on their disciplinary expertise and availability. Some professors teach the same courses in honors each year, others teach more infrequently. The faculty of Montreat College are one of our greatest strengths as a small liberal arts college. In the honors program you have the opportunity to develop relationships with faculty members from across campus regardless of your major. We believe that college shouldn’t limit your views of learning to one specific field of study. We also believe that the honors program can help you make the connections between the disciplines that you love!
Find out more about our faculty members here, as well as some of the opportunities for travel and research through these amazing teachers.
- Dr. Lisa Toland
- Dr. Don King
- Dr. Zach Rhone
- Dr. Peter Yoder
- Prof. Benjamin Brandenburg
- Prof. Joshua Holbrook
- Dr. Jared Spencer
- Dr. Mark Wells
- Dr. Brandon Schneeberger
V. Learning Beyond Montreat!
The Montreat College Honors Program values the role research, internships and study abroad can play in our students’ formation as human beings and future professionals. To that end we are supportive of our students regardless of whether the experience is within or outside of the honors program curriculum. We have included three examples below of recent travels, research and internships our honors students have enjoyed!
Oxford, England and C.S. Lewis!
Dr. Don King and Research in Literature
Professor Don W. King supervises individualized, upper-level, in-depth literary research projects that focus on C. S. Lewis’s writings or other Inklings. Students then travel to Oxford, England with Dr. King to visit sites such as the Kilns (Lewis’s home), various colleges that comprise Oxford University, the Oxford countryside so loved by Lewis, and other sites connected to Lewis’s life in Oxford. Students even conduct research in the Bodleian Library (one of the oldest and most renowned libraries in the world). You don’t have to be an English major to participate!
I greatly enjoyed going on the 2022 Oxford trip with Dr. King. My participation in this upper-level literature research course helped me become more familiar with the research process which can be applied to my Health Sciences major, because a lot of research is done in the medical field. Throughout the course and my trip to Oxford, I was able to gain a more polished research approach while improving my critical thinking skills through researching a specific scholar and asking strong questions. Even though literature is not science at first glance, both … use evidence to support their arguments and conclusions. In this travel course, I was able to hone my research skills, improve my academic writing, and learn how to think critically by conducting advanced research.
Environmental Science in South America!
Prof. Joshua Holbrook and Prof. Benjamin Brandenburg in Peru
Students boat down the Peruvian Amazon with the Tropical Ecology class to remote field stations and carry out their own research projects such as dart frogs, rainforest conifers, or even the diets of Amazonian crocodilians. Other students help conduct pet clinics to care for pet monkeys, parrots, cats and dogs owned by the local indigenous people.
In the summer of 2022 I traveled to Peru to intern with a Paraguayan vet, Dr. Joseli Maciel. We conducted traveling vet clinics in remote villages in the Amazon rainforest. As a freshman in Honors Foundations of Faith and Learning, we discussed calling and career as a means to live a purposeful and well-lived life. My experience collecting data on health trends and animal husbandry habits in the Loreto region of Peru confirmed to me that veterinary science was more than a plausible career path—it was a calling. People everywhere love their animals. By helping people care for their pets, I believe I can serve Jesus’ call to shepherd and care for others in His name.