Being an Honors scholar doesn’t just mean excelling at academics. What we learn and believe in helps to shape the role we will play as ethical citizens of our many communities. The UMW Honors Program challenges you to develop yourself through community engagement in the forms of service and leadership, and to reflect on what those things mean to you.
The Honors community embraces service in many forms, whether it’s turning out for Center for Community Engagement events like the Into the Streets initiative or answering the call for volunteers from local agencies. Offering valuable time and expertise to our community can build character and a sense of civic duty, but more importantly, it can bring comfort, assistance, and stability to programs and situations that need it.
The UMW Honors Program also supports and formalizes the experience of community service through the program requirement HONR 201, Service Learning, typically completed in Fall or Spring of your second year for 1 credit. In HONR 201, you will meet with a cohort of scholars several times during the semester (guided by program staff or an advanced Honors scholar) to troubleshoot, share, and reflect on your experience serving the community. Doing that service is the bulk of your time for HONR 201; you will complete 20 hours of service in the semester, whether partnering with our established community programs or selecting your own service area. Our scholars have served in numerous ways, from working with the Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic or the local SPCA to tutoring children in traditionally underprepared neighborhoods or helping to prepare tax returns for the elderly. Though HONR 201 concludes with the submission of the final reflective essay, scholars may well continue their work in our local community for the remainder of their time at UMW or even beyond, possibly even finding their career or calling in that work. You may learn more about HONR 201 here: HONR201_syllabus_general
Leadership takes many forms in any community. Some of them, like holding an elected office or running an organization, are easily seen. Others, like developing a meaningful program or using your strengths to teach others, are equally important. Championing this nuanced understanding of leadership’s many forms, the UMW Honors Program challenges all scholars to develop themselves as leaders on campus or in the community and to think about what leadership means to you, what it looks like, how it relates to service, and what your own strengths and weaknesses are as a leader.
Scholars may rise into various positions of leadership during their time at UMW. In HONR 002, we ask them to spend a semester reflecting intentionally on that experience. Most scholars will complete HONR 002 in their third or fourth year (though it doesn’t earn credit, it is necessary to earn University Honors at graduation). You may learn more about HONR 002 here: HONR002_syllabus_sample.