Honors Experience Program - More Details

Students accepted into University Honors, who indicated interest in the HEP on their application form, will be considered for acceptance into the Honors Experience Program (HEP), a pilot program launched in fall of 2018. The HEP is an interdisciplinary, inquiry-based, and state-of-the-art curriculum supported by an extensive co-curricular program. HEP provides students with close mentorship by faculty, a strong sense of belonging and community, and the ability to integrate their intellectual and personal passions into their coursework.

The HEP is designed to capitalize on and foster the hallmark characteristics of honors students: creativity; the drive and capacity to engage in critical and analytical thinking; imagination and innovative thinking; openness and the ability to communicate effectively with others from different social, political, and cultural backgrounds; a passion for learning, complexity and challenge; flexible thinking and ability to employ multiple perspectives in approaching issues; effective collaboration with others; and embracing and growing from ambiguity and novel challenges.

Four honors-dedicated faculty, selected for their teaching excellence and focus on student success, develop and teach HEP courses and offer co-curricular opportunities on and off campus. In close community with other honors students, HEP fosters academic, social, and personal development as a foundation for future leadership roles and academic success. For more information, visit the Honors Experience Program tab on our website and this FSU News article featuring the Honors Experience Program at Florida State University.

The inaugural core HEP courses were developed as a topical course cluster, Freedom and (In)equality, and explore the ways in which both social systems and individual freedom influence one’s everyday experiences and perspectives. In 2020, the curriculum expanded to include a cluster of courses on the topic of sustainability as well as other courses designed to help students develop information and scientific literacy. Presently, three sustainability courses are offered by faculty outside of the Honors Program, including “Ecology of Food”, “Scientific and Social Dimensions of Climate Change”, and “Global Sustainability”. These courses are designed and taught by departmental faculty across majors who are selected for their teaching and research expertise. Together these course clusters comprise the overarching program theme, Inquiry and Practice Across the Disciplines.

The rich and varied co-curricular experiences solidify and extend student learning beyond the classroom and include immersive excursions and field trips, research experiences, expert speaker luncheons, and musical theatre events. Our co-curriculum also provides numerous opportunities for HEP students to take on leadership roles ideating, planning, and running events. In close community with other honors students, these experiences foster academic, social, and personal development to meet the needs of the whole student and that provide a foundation for academic success.

University Honors students are not required to participate in HEP. However, HEP courses meet multiple Liberal Studies requirements that students cannot satisfy via AP, IB, or AICE testing, which streamlines the attainment of university graduation requirements and expedites the path toward honors graduation. Based on data from the first two HEP cohorts, by the end of their third semester, students enrolled in the HEP earned an average of four honors credits more toward completion of the honors program than their same-class counterparts did.

There are a limited number of spots for students to participate in HEP. Students must indicate an interest in joining HEP in their application for admission to honors and will be notified of HEP selection decisions prior to their first semester in the honors program. Decisions are based on interest in the program, quality of application compared to peers, willingness to enroll in at least one section of an HEP course their first semester, and space available. 

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