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The Jack E. Snider Honors program at King College was launched in 2005 with the mission
to foster academic excellence, joyful inquiry, and strong camaraderie. At the core,
King sought to develop a learning community in which outstanding students would have
the opportunity to take specialized course work and to grow into future leaders benefitting
not only the college but the world at large. The ideal honors fellow would graduate
King College as an engaged and reflective citizen.
With the Snider Honors Program, King is able to put top-ranked students on the front
line, in the avant-garde, of contemporary studies and new research, said Dr. Mark
Dollar, director of the SHP and professor of English. They are, without doubt, major
assets to King College and help affirm its mission and vision.
Honors students examine how their studies have a global impact in the 21st century,
regardless of their major. Implicit in this idea, says Dollar, is a shift from provincial
mindsets focused on one's own home town and one's own identity to looking outward
and understanding oneself in relationship to a wider cultural context. We wanted to
complicate provincialism for our students and urge them to become more cosmopolitan,
more aware of their positions as global citizens.
New honors students are eligible for the annual $1,000 Honors Scholar Award for every
year they maintain a 3.0 GPA, remain active in the honors program, and continue making
progress towards completion of the 18-credit hour requirement. Students who enter
as freshmen and continue in the honors program receive an extra $1,000 to study at
the Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria after their junior year.
All honors students are also eligible to participate in a major domestic trip every
year, which the College partially subsidizes. Every even numbered year students travel
to New York City; during the odd numbered years they travel to various other locations.
Last year, honors students travelled to Montreal, Canada. They are planning on San
Francisco or Chicago for 2013.
In May 2012, our first junior class under the scholarship program will be attending
the Salzburg Global Seminar, said Dollar. It's wonderful for me to see these students
come in as freshman, to have that promise out there on the horizon, and now to realize
it as we complete a preparatory course for the Salzburg trip. The program is set up
for college students - to teach them about global citizenship and how to go back to
their campuses and create further awareness among their peers.
Our students have been preparing for this experience for three years, so, in many
ways, they know the global debates and how complex they can be, continued Dollar.
In the prep course, we are reviewing some major issues we know that the Salzburg faculty
will hit upon, such as the confluence of race, gender, and faith on global human rights,
education, and healthcare.
In an honors student's senior year, he or she will complete the Senior Honors Project
with faculty supervision. This project can either be in the student's declared major
or can involve other disciplines in which the student has an interest. Upon completion
of all program requirements, the graduating senior earns the title of Snider Honors
Fellow, receives a certificate of achievement, and wears the SHP medallion around
his or her neck during commencement. The graduates' transcripts for prospective employers
and graduate schools will indicate all coursework taken at the honors level and their
status as Snider Honors Fellows.
Beginning in fall 2012, freshmen entering the Honors program will be separated into
STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) and non-STEM student groups. Students will
take advanced courses in composition and science, as well as the Honors Seminar, the
main course that is offered as part of the honors program.
The Honors Seminar is the focal point of what we do, and is interdisciplinary in nature,
said Dollar. The topics change every semester and are geared around global citizenship,
contemporary philosophies, the state of the church, and contemporary culture. The
first Honors Seminar I taught, 'Postmodernism, Pop Culture, and Christianity,' examined
the philosophy of postmodernism and how it influences many diverse modes of inquiry.
Other Honors Seminar topics have included The Post-American World, which examined
the relative decline of American influence and power, the rise of China and India,
and how that affects Americans' national identity; The Emergent Church Movement, which
studied the trend in American Protestantism to focus more on justice and works than
on orthodox dogmas; An Introduction to Islam in the Modern World, which looked at
Muslim belief and practice from theological, historical, and political viewpoints;
and The New Atheism Movement, which considered the latest rise of atheism as a popular
trend in culture and examined it from a variety of different angles and opinions.
The Honors Seminar for spring 2012, The Cube and the Cathedral, questions why church
attendance has decreased dramatically in Europe over the last 20 to 30 years and the
lessons to be learned for American expressions of Christianity.
Our guiding verse for the Honors program is Matthew 10:16, Behold, I send you forth
as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as
doves, said Dollar. The verse reminds us to be wise, understanding how the world works
– to recognize the good the bad and the ugly – but choose to be a blessing to the
world, working towards the common good for all people. These students are our future
leaders. What do we want them to perceive before they go out and hold those positions
of responsibility? We need to help them realize that their talents and gifts come
with an obligation to God and society.
The first director of the Honors program was Dr. Craig McDonald, professor of English
for King. With a monetary gift from Jack Snider, a former residence on King's main
campus was renovated and turned into the Jack E. Snider Honors Center. The late Dr.
Snider was recognized throughout the region as a fervent advocate of education and
model of civic service. He joined King College in 1955 and over five decades faithfully
served in a number of titles including registrar, director of admissions, director
of financial aid, director of alumni affairs, professor of education, head of the
education department, and senior vice president.
In 2009, Dollar, took over as director of the Honors program. The administration initially
desired a shift from a focus on the humanities to include a wider variety of disciplines.
A substantive travel component was also added, along with the new core implemented
at the same time for the entire college. The focus of the program is now centered
on the external awareness of cultures, politics, and economics, or what is referred
to commonly as global citizenship.
For more information on the Jack E. Snider Honors program, visit http://honors.king.edu or contact Dr. Mark Dollar at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423.652.4872.