Next year’s incoming class of 2020 will encounter a new standard when it comes to the honors program.
Currently, the Whitworth website lists the requirements for George Whitworth Honors to be 15 credits at a grade level of C or higher. However, the requirements will increase required credits to 18 beginning next year.
This change comes at the recommendation of the National Collegiate honors council, director of honors Doug Sugano said. The NCHC “provide support for institutions and individuals developing, implementing, and expanding honors education through curriculum development,” according to the website nchchonors.org.
Since the NCHC sends evaluators to each of their member schools every three years, Sugano and the Honors Committee wanted to implement the new policy before the NCHC visits this year, he said.
Whitworth has fewer honors credits required than most other Washington private schools such as Seattle Pacific, Whitman and Pacific Lutheran University.
According to the Pacific Lutheran University website, honors students need about the equivalent of 28 credit hours for their honors program. Seattle Pacific University requires 66 credits for their University Scholars program; however, each class is five credits.
The base standards for Whitworth’s honors program remain high. Whitworth requires the credits to be taken within multiple academic departments with no more than nine credits earned within a single department, according to the Whitworth website. The system allows for honors students to get a well-rounded education, according to the website.
These credits also have to be earned in different types of courses such as: honors courses, honors research, honors internship, honors off-campus program, honors creative project and honors discussion groups, according to the Whitworth website. Whitworth offers a lighter course load but makes the honors system well rounded, Sugano said.
“I know how busy Whitworth students are,” Sugano said. “Some have two majors, and those that don’t have multiple minors. Honors are important but I don’t want it competing with everything else that is present in students' lives.”
Any incoming freshmen that enter the school with honors, as noted by their incoming GPA, are entered into the program for their first year of attendance. Each year, the incoming freshmen class has about 240 honors students, which drops to around 50 by a class’ sophomore year, Sugano said. This is due to opting out of the program or a drop in GPA and sequential removal from the program, Sugano said.
The honors program is working on expanding it’s o erings, recently offering the priority opportunity for eight George Whitworth Honors students to intern at the Smithsonian during Jan Term, which afterwards opens to general students. The committee plans to expand this to May Term as well, Sugano said.
Honors students also have the opportunity to drink coffee and have conversations with important guest speakers. For example, the past month students have had co ee with B.H. Fairchild, breakfast with Dena Samuels, and attended the President’s Leadership Forum with David Brooks. Exciting opportunities continue to be offered throughout the year for honors students, Sugano said.
Further information about the Honors program can be found on the honors section of the Whitworth website, or by contacting the members of the Honors Steering Committee.
Contact Parker Postlewait at