Honors Curriculum Changes

LSSU has redesigned its Honors Program to attract, challenge, retain, and reward top students.

Students entering LSSU in the Fall of 2020 will collaborate with a community of scholars from across campus to study the most foundational and relevant questions of self, society, and citizenship in a global world.

We start with the examined life in year one. Our new honors philosophy course, Introduction to Philosophy as a Way of Life, intensely focuses on applying philosophical wisdom to students’ lives. It includes assignments such as “live like a philosopher,” “defend your life’s choices,” and “write your own obituary.” This course moves from the traditional model of remembering information to living its concepts and establishing new habits of mind.

Our next course, Positive Psychology engages with a growing evidence base describing concepts such as life satisfaction, virtues, signature strengths, resilience and personal goal attainment. In addition to learning about the science of human behavior, we trust that the course will help students improve the quality of their own lives as well as contribute to high-quality relationships and engaged citizenship.

In year two, students —equipped with an examined sense of self — engage with the perennial and contemporary questions of culture, society, citizenship, and science.

In our Literature and Culture course, students will observe and analyze how perceptions and definitions of citizenship and national identity have been determined and have changed in the United States. Through a survey of literary, historical, and political texts, students will consider such topics as defining American identity, determinations of who is or is not “American,” and the evolution of perceptions of American identity.

The goal of our Science for Citizens course is to equip students to understand competently, discuss responsibility, and vote informatively about science-related issues in society, such as climate change and public health.

Honors students will continue to complete an honors senior thesis and receive additional mentoring from a thesis adviser in their field. This thesis project is either an expansion of their regular senior thesis required for their major or a separable project, as was the case when a recent biology student produced, directed, and starred in an absurdist play.

Bookending the new Honors Core academic experience will be a one-credit freshman seminar and a one-credit senior seminar.

Highlights of these commencing and summative experiences are: 1) senior honors students will mentor and lead peer-led discussions with freshmen on timely topics and 2) Self, Society, and Citizenship —the themes of our new Program — will be at work as we look at compelling and contemporary topics. For Fall 2020, eight guest speakers from Political Science, Virology, Theater, Public Health, Biomedical Ethics, Statistics, and History will join the honors community to discuss COVID-19.

We are very excited about the new Honors Program and fourteen of our brightest new incoming students have already committed to it. We look forward to growing the Program further and increasing its impact on the intellectual life of the campus.