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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Honors program introduces new requirement

The Claver House, where honors students have 24-hour access (Photo by Matt Barrett ’21).

In order to receive a full Honors degree, all honors students graduating in May 2019 will be required to complete two consecutive semesters of research or study that will culminate in a senior thesis or capstone project.

Associate Director of the Honors Program and professor of philosophy, Joseph Corabi, Ph.D., said with the implementation of the new requirement called College Honors, students will be able to complete the required courses with greater ease because the requirement fulfills two of the eight required courses. Corabi said this requirement is sometimes difficult to achieve because of scheduling issues.

“By creating these two specific courses for seniors, we’ll be relieving the stress of making those requirements in time,” Corabi said. “This new program is set to make Honor Program students’ life much easier.”

Honors student Anna-Maria Berezovski ’21, computer science and Asian studies double major, said she is relieved that this will help students in the honors program fulfill the necessary requirements in time and will add a practical research experience to the the honors program as a whole.

“You get to study, work with and write about what you are passionate about,” Berezovski said. “I also think that having the two courses cover the required eight is extremely helpful.”

College Honors is awarded to those students who have completed the two semesters of independent reading or research project, under the supervision of a faculty mentor.

Nicholas Panetta ’20, a biology major, said although he is worried about the amount of work it will require, he’s excited to work on something he is passionate about with the help of a mentor.

“I think it’s very scary in terms of workload and time management,” Panetta said. “I’ll definitely have to be more on top of my work, but I’m looking forward to working with a mentor.”

Maria Marsilio, Ph.D., professor of modern and classical language and the former director of the Honors Program, said that the new requirement was pitched in 2013, but was not implemented until 2018.

“There was a bit of resistance and concerns from faculty within certain departments about a required thesis or capstone for honors students,” Marsilio said. “There were questions about demands on faculty resources and time and questions about what precisely constituted a senior College Honors experience.”

After several revisions, the program proposal was approved for implementation beginning with the class of 2019.

Classical studies major, Mary Mackie ’19, said her professors in the Honors Program challenge her and expect more from her.

“I have a mentor working alongside me while I am doing research for a thesis in the field of Classics,” Mackie said. “I think this is a really amazing opportunity to get to really dive into research on something that I am inspired by, using tools and methods that interest me.”

Marsilio, who is Mackie’s mentor, said she has seen how students benefit from the opportunity to work independently on a research project of their own design.

“This mentoring has been among the greatest professional joys of my career,” Marsilio said. “I get to see them read, think, engage in conversation, write, revise and finally produce a work that they can be proud of.”

According to the academic catalogue, individual departments and interdisciplinary programs may determine their own College Honors experience by requiring either a two semester thesis or a two semester capstone experience, or in some cases offering students a choice of thesis or alternative capstone.

Honors students completing College Honors should consult their major departments or programs to determine the College Honors requirements.

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