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Lasallian Honors Program Overview

The Lasallian Honors Program provides an alternative general-education curriculum for students whose academic records are in the top 10% of their incoming class. The program is designed for academically motivated students who wish to engage in "shared inquiry" in seminar-style, interdisciplinary classes. The hallmarks of the Honors Program are in-depth discussions of the Great Books* in seminar-style classes; service learning; experiential learning in the arts; and participation in a community of learners.

The Lasallian Honors Program goals include:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Oral Communications (in shared-inquiry seminars and presentations)
  • Close Reading of foundational texts in a range of disciplines
  • Analysis of others' and one's own ideas
  • Clear and thought-provoking Writing
  • Experience with and reflection on Service
  • Experience as audience members and creators of Art
  • Collaboration in learning (learning as a four-year cohort group)

The Lasallian Honors Program addresses SMU's mission and general-education goals in the following ways:

  1. The Great Books in a wide range of disciplines constitute a strong foundation for a general education program. LH courses aim to meet the College's general education goals in Aesthetics, Cultural Traditions, Faith Traditions, Human Systems, Literature, Moral Traditions, and non-lab Natural Scientific Systems.
  2. The "shared inquiry" seminar format of Honors courses is conducive to critical thinking, dialogue, and student engagement.
  3. Service learning promotes the Lasallian disposition of service, and it is widely recognized as a means of engaging students in their own learning, the needs of the community, and self-reflection.
  4. Close reading, critical thinking, and analysis – skills that are emphasized in every Honors course – are cross-disciplinary liberal arts and life-long skills.
  5. The writing-intensive (W-I) curriculum in the Lasallian Honors Program supports the campus-wide commitment to improving student writing. Six of the eight LH courses meet the W-I criteria.
  6. The concentration on honing Oral Communications skills in LH courses, in small- and large-group discussions and in formal presentations, supports the college faculty’s commitment to the OC skill area. Oral Communications constitutes at least 20% of the grade in every LH course.

* The "Great Books" refers to a liberal-arts curriculum based on foundational texts in a wide range of disciplines. Although Great Books programs began in the 1920s with a list of 100 "essential" (and almost all Western) primary texts, today's Great Books programs draw from among hundreds of possible choices of texts that have been of critical importance in the formation of issues and ideas in a diversity of cultures and disciplines. The programs presume a "shared inquiry" seminar-style of learning, in which students are actively constructing meaning about the texts in facilitated discussions.

For more information contact:

Christian Michener, Ph.D.
Director, Lasallian Honors Program
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
700 Terrace Heights #1527
Winona, MN 55987-1399
(800) 635-5987, Ext. 1423