January 23, 2017
Bradley students wanting to make the most of their academic experience find a home in the Honors Program, which offers opportunities for deep conversations and learning experiences beyond the normal classroom setting.
The program engages high-achieving students through small, discussion-based classes, topical seminars and extra cultural learning experiences.
“It’s a great chance to be around people with similar mindsets,” said mechanical engineering major Bryce Hastings ’19, of Mahomet, Illinois. “We’re all serious about our academics, though we know how to have fun as we focus.”
Small discussion-oriented courses build relationships among students and faculty. Honors participants may take several general education Bradley Core Curriculum courses in these settings. Additionally, participants can explore topics like death and dying, science and religion, meditation and media through semester-long seminar series.
Two yearlong Western civilization courses have become staples of the Honors experience, as conversations continue throughout the year.
“I saw a new light in subject matter through the deep conversations we had,” said dietetics major Anna Smith ’18, of Ballwin, Missouri. “Because we were together the whole year, we built enough trust to have deep, challenging conversations on heavy topics.”
Honors courses bring together students from diverse academic backgrounds. That knowledge prepares students for careers in which they will benefit from cross-disciplinary knowledge.
As industrial engineering major Heather Hawkins ’18 noted, Honors communication courses helped her contextualize the specialized engineering skills she’s learning.
“Engineers aren’t always the best public speakers, but I’m better prepared for presentations and writing tasks because I’ve had feedback from friends and faculty outside my major,” said the DeKalb, Illinois, native. “I learned to think how marketing teams might think about my work so I can explain myself better to them.”
Learning continues across campus and into the community long after courses end. An Honors dorm floor fosters conversations and offers easy access to homework help from peers. Extra floor activities balance students’ needs for focused study and relaxation.
Additionally, Honors students often stay connected with faculty long after the formal conclusion of classroom time together. Students gain life and career wisdom from those relationships, as well as new perspectives on other academic pursuits.
“We have a strong community you won’t find in many other academic settings,” Smith said. “I’ve met some of the greatest people with ideas that pushed me out of my comfort zone. Because of those people, I’ve learned more than I expected about myself and realized that I won’t stop learning once I leave Bradley.”