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    Mar 04, 2024  
2023-24 RACC Student Catalog 
    
2023-24 RACC Student Catalog

Honors Program


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Honors Program Overview

The primary mission of the Reading Area Community College Honors Program is to enrich the educational experience of motivated, intellectually curious students.

The Honors Program fulfills this mission through First Year Seminars, General Education courses, Honors courses in select majors, and Independent Study courses. Honors courses often involve exploratory learning, collaborative activities, interdisciplinary study, and independent research and creative projects.

The Honors Program also seeks to enhance opportunities for students to learn outside the classroom through field trips, service activities, and conference presentations, to receive special recognition for high academic achievement, and to transfer to four-year colleges and universities.

Honors Program Mission Statement

The mission of RACC’s Honors Program is to provide academically challenging experiences for high ability, intellectually curious students and to promote exploratory learning, collaborative projects, inter-disciplinary themes, independent  research and hands-on projects.

Honors Program Goals

The goals of the Honors Program are:

  • to provide an enriched learning experience for academically talented, intellectually curious students.
  • to provide special recognition for outstanding students of high academic ability.
  • to enhance opportunities for academically talented students to transfer to four-year colleges and universities.
  • to promote the College as a place where scholarship by students and faculty is encouraged and honored.
  • to foster curricular and instructional innovation throughout the institution.
  • to enhance and facilitate the recruitment and retention of students and faculty.

Eligibility

To become eligible to take courses in the Honors Program, a student must meet the applicable criteria.

New Students

Eligibility is based on the “Next Generation Accuplacer Placement Score” or placement by multiple measures. Students must receive a writing score of 6 or above or a writing score of 5 and a reading score above 253. Students who place into college level composition (COM 121) are eligible to take courses in the Honors program.

Currently Enrolled Students

Currently enrolled students must have at least a 3.25 GPA, excluding developmental courses, with a minimum of 8 credits in college-level courses or be recommended by their developmental course instructor.

A student with a GPA lower than 3.25 will be allowed to take an Honors course if the professor agrees. This permission is for a single course only.

To remain eligible to take Honors courses, a student must maintain an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher and earn a grade of B or higher for any Honors course used to fulfill Honors graduation requirements.

Students sometimes worry that their GPA will suffer if they take Honors courses. Research shows that students in Honors courses typically do not get lower grades. In fact, many perform better in small, supportive Honors seminar style classes.

For additional information: Contact Dr. Pamela Blakely, Honors Program Coordinator at 610-372-4721, ext. 5452.

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Earning Honors Credit

Students have three ways to earn honors credit:

1.  Honors Courses - Students can enroll in designated Honors courses. Some are honors versions of general education courses. Others are seminars, often interdisciplinary, on various topics. A schedule of which courses are available in each semester can be found in Self-Service by selecting Honors courses. For additional information, see individual course descriptions. The Honors Committee welcomes the proposal of new courses by faculty and students as well.


Currently available courses include the following:

2.  Honors Contracts - Students can enroll in a standard RACC course and arrange with the instructor to complete additional or different work. Honors contracts are subject to the willingness of individual instructors to participate and to the approval of the appropriate Assistant Dean and the Honors Committee. A maximum of 2 contracts may be applied toward an Honors Diploma.
 

3.  Independent Study - A student can earn up to four credits for a project proposed and carried out under the direction of a faculty mentor. A project may involve in-depth research, creative works, or internships. The time invested in an independent study project will be similar to the time required for a course of comparable credit. Independent Study is subject to the willingness of individual instructors to participate and to the approval of the appropriate Assistant Dean, the Honors Committee, and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost. A maximum of 1 independent study course may be applied toward an Honors Diploma.

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Honors Diploma

Students who complete 15 honors credits with an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher and a B or higher in at least 15 Honors credits will receive an Honors Diploma upon meeting all requirements for graduation in their program of study. Honors Diplomas and a medallion will be presented at the graduation ceremony.

Benefits

Taking Honors courses at RACC offers many benefits:

  • Academic challenge
  • Personal enrichment
  • Small classes with other academically motivated students
  • More individual attention from instructors and faculty mentors
  • A competitive edge when applying for jobs or transferring to four-year colleges and universities
  • Honors designations on transcripts
  • Special commendation as an Honors Graduate
  • Increased opportunities for scholarships
  • Honors Program scholarships
  • Free admission for two events at the Miller Center for the Arts with student ID each semester.

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Scholarships

Samuel and Sonia Briskin Scholarship - Each year the Honors Program recognizes one or more outstanding students studying in the Honors Program, based on the recommendation of Honors faculty.

Honors Program Scholarship - Each year the Honors Program recognizes one or more outstanding students studying  in the Honors Program who have completed six honors credits, maintain a 3.25 GPA (excluding developmental courses), have a B or higher in all honors courses and filled out an application for consideration. Previous recipients of the Honors Program Scholarship may reapply after they have completed six additional honors credits. This scholarship will be awarded in the Spring semester.

Sonia M. Briskin Scholars Award - Each year the Honors Program recognizes one student at the annual Academic Awards Ceremony who has completed three or more honors courses, achieved a GPA of 3.75 or higher, provided outstanding service to the RACC community, and demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities.

In addition, many scholarships will give merit to honor students in the selection processes.

Transfer Colleges

Graduates of the RACC Honors Program have transferred to many excellent colleges and universities including:

  • Albright College
  • Bucknell University
  • Columbia University
  • Drexel University
  • Muhlenberg College
  • Pennsylvania State University (both Berks and Main campuses)
  • Temple University
  • University of Pennsylvania

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For additional information: Contact Dr. Pamela Blakely, Honors Program Coordinator at 610-372-4721, ext. 5452.