Honors Program

Honors Program

Developing Habits of Minds Through Faith and Learning

The Crown College Honors Program fosters transformational learning through the development of critical thinking, engaged scholarship, intentional dialogue, and deep friendships. The program continually challenges its scholars to investigate the intersection of faith and learning in each of the academic disciplines at Crown. The Honors Program builds community through Honors cohorts, coursework and sponsored social events.

Honors Students

  • Engage in Christ-centered teaching and learning through Honors courses and events
  • Develop a Christian worldview rooted in the habits of mind
  • Participate in collaborative research and scholarship with Crown faculty that could potential yield a presentation or publication
  • Experience smaller class sizes that provide time and space for rich, intentional dialogue (many of which are seminar-based)
  • Attend and present contract course research and scholarship at the annual Honors Scholars Symposium, the Senior Capstone Presentation Showcase, the Regional Honors Symposium, and/or the National Honors Council Conference
  • Work individually with exceptional faculty to research, write, teach and present scholarship as part of the contract coursework
  • Write a senior thesis on a theological topic that coalesces from scholarship and praxis
  • Participate in Honors social events including dinners, desserts, movie nights, game nights, workshops, Guthrie Theater shows, museum or gallery viewings and special speakers
  • Receive an additional upperclassmen participatory scholarship based on academic good standing (GPA of 3.5 or higher) and participation in the Honors program activities
  • Earn an Honors Program Scholar or Honors Departmental Scholar designation on the transcript

Honors Program Entrance Requirements

Most Crown Honors students graduate high school with a 3.75 GPA or higher and an ACT score of 28/SAT score of 1400 or higher.  However, highly motivated and interested students whose scores do not meet the entrance requirements are welcome to apply to the Honors Program.

Program Options and Requirements

Students have the option of choosing an Honors program track that supports their academic program of study.  The Honors courses replace the general education courses requirements at no additional tuition cost and compliment every major at Crown.

Crown College Honors Scholar

  • Complete 7-8 components
    • ENG 153H: Critical Thinking & Writing*
    • HIS 353H: History of Modern Western Thought*
    • THE 354H: Topics in Ethics
    • PHI 3XXH: Christian Thought in the Disciplines*
    • THE 444H: Honors Senior Seminar*
    • 3 Contract courses*
  • 3.5 GPA minimum
  • Symposium Presentation (2x)
  • Senior Capstone & Presentation
  • Honors Event attendance

Departmental Honors Scholar

  • Complete 5-6 components
    • ENG 153H: Critical Thinking & Writing*
    • HIS 353H: History of Modern Western Thought*
    • THE 354H: Topics in Ethics
    • PHI 3XXH: Christian Thought in the Disciplines **
    • THE 444H: Honors Senior Seminar**
    • 2 Contract Courses*
  • 3.25 GPA minimum
  • Symposium Presentation (2x)
  • Senior Capstone & Presentation
  • Honors Event attendance

(* required; **choose one)

Additional Honors Program Requirements

  • Attend the annual Crown Honors Scholars Symposium in the spring semester
  • Present at least two contract course research projects at the Crown Honors Scholars Symposium
  • Attend at least two Honors events each semester
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 (Honors Scholar) or GPA of 3.25 (Departmental Scholar)
  • Meet with the Honors Director once a semester for academic advising

Honors Program Courses

Below is a list and description of the Honors Program curriculum. Students enrolled in the program take advanced courses that replace and satisfy standard general education requirements, so graduation will not be delayed. Students also complete special Honors contract courses within their major field of study that provide opportunities for students to participate in collaborative research, presentations, projects, papers and/or potential publications.

Critical Thinking and Writing (ENG 153H)

Foundations for the critical analysis of differing theories of knowledge will be examined. The process of argument analysis will be introduced and practiced. Students will be encouraged to think more in terms of identifying and generating questions than in absorbing facts, and they will learn to identify conclusions and reasons given in support of those conclusions. Responses to various readings will be used as a way of practicing the skills students are developing. The semester project will be a documented research paper on a major thinker or writer. May substitute for ENG 131 or a Humanities elective.

History of Modern Western Thought (353H)

An analysis of the ebb and flow of modern thought since 1800. Class lectures, reading and discussions will focus around the seminal thinkers and their contribution to the current fragmentation in Western thinking. The semester project will be a written report on the thought of a major Western thinker. May substitute for a History, Humanities or Social Science elective.

Christian Thought in the Disciplines (PHI 3XXH)

This course offers a critical investigation of significant Christian thought, intellectual virtues and praxis and their intersections with academic disciplines.  Specific attention will be given to Christo-centric beliefs that influence contemporary contexts and issues.

Topics in Ethics (THE 354H)

An examination of the process of making moral decisions. Students apply Biblical principles to issues in personal conduct, as well as social problems such as euthanasia, abortion and poverty. Students will also be encouraged to address ethical issues related to their major. The Honors component will be added to the regular Christian Ethics course.

Senior Seminar (THE 444H)

Study of the thoughts of leading Christian thinkers in the twentieth century will be presented in a seminar format. Through a reading of individual works, students will investigate each author’s specific answers to cultural objections to Christianity. May substitute for a Bible, English, Humanities or Social Science elective.

HONORS CONTRACT COURSES IN STUDENT’S MAJOR

Students will choose three courses within their major to complete research projects that both fulfill the requirements of the Honors program and the requirements of the course. Students will work closely with the professor and the Honors Program director to design and complete each research project. Students are required to present at least two of their research projects at the annual Crown Scholars Symposium.

Senior Capstone Presentation

A formal presentation or lecture that highlights what has been learned through the Honors Program, particularly in contract courses as well as a showcase of a final research project or significant paper completed in the final year.  The senior will work closely with the director in preparing for the presentation. All Honors students are required to attend. Detailed requirements for this presentation will be determined by the Honors Program director and faculty committee.

Program Reflections:

The Honors Program at Crown College challenges our most outstanding students to reflect deeply, thoughtfully, and patiently about life, faith, and calling. Students build deep relationships with each other through meaningful discussions, service projects, and co-curricular activities. Honors students I have come to know are among the most engaged, interesting and prepared to make a difference in the world.
-Dr. Joel Wiggins, President

The Crown College Honors Program is more than a program embedded in the curriculum at Crown College. The Crown College Honors programs connects the best of Crown’s Learning Community with a person¹s passions and interests to understand, develop, and implement his or her passions in God’s uniquely-designed path for his or her future.
-Dr. Scott Moats, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Provost

The Honors Program is a place for students who are interested in learning and discussing the big issues to spend extended periods of time together doing just that. It’s my pleasure and privilege to be able to help them along in that task.
-Dr. Michial Farmer, Assistant Professor of English, Honors Faculty

ENG 153H: Critical Thinking and Writing, the first course in Crown’s Honor Program, helps student to think critically and to begin to form a Christian world view by reading, analyzing and writing in response to a variety of texts.
-Dr. Glenn Myers, Professor of Church History and Theological Studies, Honors faculty

To have the opportunity to be challenged in a way that pulls me closer to God—that is the blessing of being in the Honors Program.
-Lauren Usherwood, Class of 2018, Double Major in Biology & Secondary Science Education

The Honors Program at Crown has given me incredible opportunities academically as well as given me access to a close community of like-minded students.  It has been a highlight of my time at Crown so far and I look forward to where it will take me in the future.
-Brittany Andrews, Class of 2017, Major in History

I found in the Honors program a group of students who cared as much about thinking through their faith as I did. It is not a group of incomprehensible ‘intellectuals’, but like-minded believers who love to ask questions.
-Zach Schmitt, Class of 2016, Major in Communication

What has the Honors Program taught me? That Honors is about more than just grades and classes. It’s about challenging myself and learning to seek excellence even down to the smallest of details.
-Lucas Fultz, Class of 2015, Double Major in Psychology & Intercultural Studies

The Honors Program is both rewarding and challenging.  The classes are intellectually stimulating and offer the flexibility to dive deep into information that you want to learn about.  I’m planning to work on a Master’s of Education degree, so it’s definitely worth the commitment to give it my best.
-Alexis Jones, Class of 2013, Major in Secondary Social Studies Education

The Honors Program challenges me to accomplish things I didn’t know I was capable of, like presenting my research at the Minnesota Collegiate Honors Symposium.  The Program helps me think critically and refine my research skills.
-Brady Griffith, Class of 2012, Major in Biology; Minor in Chemistry

What to do next:

Visit us! Come discover and investigate the welcoming community of scholars at Crown College. Meet the Honors students, talk with faculty, worship in chapel, visit a class, and attend a visit day! Dr. Benson, the program director, would love to meet and talk with you.

  •  Visit Days: Sign up today at crown.edu/visit or contact Admissions at 800-68-CROWN (2766) or admissions@crown.edu
  •  We would welcome any and all questions regarding the Honors Program at Crown College. Feel free to send an email to Dr. Benson at honors@crown.edu

About the Director:  Thor Benson, PhD

Dr. Thor Benson has served as the Honors Program Director since 2012 and is an associate professor in the Education Department at Crown College. His educational pursuits include a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction: Science Education & Learning Technologies from the University of Minnesota, an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Bethel University (MN), and a B.S. in Kinesiology from Wheaton College (IL).  Since coming to Crown in 2007, his research interests focus on teacher preparation, technology integration, and the reflexive practice and scholarship inherent in the craft of teaching. Thor’s passion resides in the transformational interchange that exists as students engage in the habits of mind characteristic of effective teaching and learning.  In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children as they enjoy the Minnesota outdoors.

Honors FAQs

Can I be an Honors student regardless of my major? Yes. The Honors Program is compatible with all majors.

Will I have time to participate in other campus activities and clubs while enrolled in the Honors Program? Yes. Most Honors students participate in activities ranging from athletic teams to music performance to Student Senate. Honors students often hold part-time jobs on or off campus.

Does the Honors Program require me to take extra credits in order to graduate? No. Students enrolled in the program take advanced general education courses that replace and satisfy standard general education requirements as well as complete special Honors projects within their major field of study.

Why should I be in the Honors Program? Joining and maintaining membership in the Honors Program provides students with an advanced academic education, an intellectual challenge and life-changing opportunities for growth and success.

Professional Organizational Partnerships

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