June 13, 2017
MARTINSVILLE, VA – This fall, Patrick Henry Community College is launching a program that has been in the works for two years. The Humanities Honors Program, which is now open for enrollment, will offer students a new and academically-challenging option. Selected students can enroll in specially designed honors courses to graduate with an honors diploma and potentially transfer to four-year honors programs.
“PHCC’s honors program offers high-achieving students deeper learning opportunities and a proven pathway for success. We are thrilled to recognize and engage the many high-performing students that come to PHCC. We now can offer them an opportunity to distinguish themselves and earn honors that can fuel a lifetime of educational and career success,” said Dr. Greg Hodges, PHCC’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Campus Life.
Students who graduated from high school with a 3.5 or higher GPA are eligible. Before students are admitted to the program, they must meet the eligibility requirements and their application must pass a committee review. The selectivity of the program ensures that classes remain small and students have a greater opportunity for individualized and experiential learning. PHCC will have honors course offerings for English composition, communications, English literature, and U.S. history. Admitted students must complete four of these courses to graduate with honors.
Honors courses will be taught as discussion-based seminars rather than lectures. Classes will participate in excursions to museums, historical landmarks, and other alternative learning environments. Instruction will also include emphasis on active learning and collaborative projects.
“We aren’t developing an honors curriculum by simply making certain courses have a more challenging work load. We are taking a research-driven approach to develop a rich learning environment where students’ creativity, curiosity, and love of learning will have a chance to flourish,” says Dean of Academic Success and College Transfer, Terry Young, who oversees the program with Project Director Tammy Forbes.
Over the last two years the college has worked closely with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to develop its honors courses. Last spring, PHCC become one of only 12 community colleges nationwide to receive a humanities grant from the NEH under the Common Good initiative. The focus of the $100,000 grant was to foster scholarship among educationally well-prepared students and to bring students closer to their Appalachian heritage. The Humanities Honors Program will incorporate Appalachian culture and history studies.
Throughout the 2016-2017 year, the college invited six best-selling authors from the Appalachian region to present at the college as a part of the research and development of the honors program. After a year of guided exploration, the college is ready to introduce the pilot honors courses. By 2018, PHCC Humanities Honors Program will be in full implementation. The program leaders hope to introduce a variety of new honors courses at that time.
Patrick Henry Community College, a comprehensive two-year institution, services Martinsville city as well as Patrick and Henry counties. PHCC is a leader among community colleges in areas such as athletics, technology, and unique program offerings. By providing innovative curricula such as motorsports, entrepreneurship, and mechatronics, PHCC changes lives and enriches the community. PHCC is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.
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