Earle Hall, Room 100
p - (516) 877-3800
f - (516) 877-3803
w - academics.adelphi.edu/honors-college/
Richard Garner, Dean
Diane Della Croce, Associate Dean
Nicholas Rizopoulos, Academic Director for Special Programs and Research
Gregory Mercurio, Academic Director
Philosophy Of The College
The Honors College seeks to prepare highly talented and motivated students to face the 21st century by providing them with the intellectual perspectives and critical skills needed to exercise responsible leadership at every level of their lives. To achieve this goal, we have instituted an intense curricular and extracurricular program that asks students to view themselves and their work with integrity, passion, and seriousness. Students should graduate from the Honors College prepared to stand at the forefront of the arts, sciences, government, and the learned professions, determined to act with moral and intellectual rigor, and able to grasp the significance of their actions within, and for, a larger whole.
An intentionally provocative curricular and cocurricular design leads students to understand the central problems of the human condition as they confront us now and as they have been experienced in the past. The path to this understanding is through intensive analysis of influential texts and monuments of human greatness, ancient and modern. Initiated by reading, reflection, and discriminating discussion into the long honored search for truth and beauty, in active engagement with the fundamental issues of justice and liberty that have animated the course of civilization, the students in the College discover not just the limitations but also the possibilities of thinking clearly and turning thought into action in our increasingly complicated world. Schooled in the value of the highest ideals but chastened by an awareness of recalcitrant actualities, they are led to discover in themselves the intellectual power and flexibility, the deepened moral confidence and responsibility and the capacity-indeed, in some cases, the passion-for leadership that they will need to meet the formidable challenges and mysteries of the 21st century. The mission of the Honors College is to impart to the student body a breadth of vision and an intensity of aspiration that the students could barely glimpse before entering college.
Such lofty goals are not achieved easily. They require a detailed and concrete plan articulated over four years. This plan is outlined below.
The Honors Curriculum
Honors courses are designed to prepare students to speak and write effectively, to reason accurately, to recognize and express differences in quality between the grand and the mundane, the genuine and the specious, as they must if they are to achieve their potential and become leaders in society.
Although Honors students complete all the requirements for their major field of study within that department or school, the Honors courses form a continuous supplemental thread running through the four years of study. Honors students typically have about half of their courses in the Honors College in the freshman year. In subsequent years most students take one Honors course each semester. Some students, however, elect to take additional courses, and they are welcome to take as many as they wish.
Honors Curriculum Sequence and General Education Requirements
The Honors College program begins in the freshman year with a purposefully designed Honors sequence that satisfies Adelphi’s General Education requirements. The Honors curriculum introduces students to the body of knowledge and multiple theories and approaches to knowledge, along with their historical roots, that have most affected our century-in the arts, social thought, science, and humanities. First-year classes include The Modern Condition, Origins of the Modern Condition (a historical sequence), and the Art and Craft of Writing.
At some point after the freshman year, all Honors students take a full-year sequence titled the Human Condition in Literature and Art. These two courses, fulfilling the General Education requirement in Humanities, examine great works of literature, philosophy, history, art, and music from the Old Testament and ancient and classical periods to the present, offering Honors students the opportunity to study a number of lengthy works in their entirety. This course requires students to examine the kinds of narration, the topics, the ideas that have preoccupied humanity across the centuries, in different voices, and as different expressions of humanity’s aspirations and achievement.
During the sophomore or junior year, all Adelphi students also take courses in the sciences to fulfill the requirements of General Education. The aim in these courses is to give students a thorough grounding in the philosophical underpinnings of the sciences as well as in their substance. The Honors College also moves students who are majoring in the sciences into active laboratory work as soon and as much as possible, assuring that students make significant and original intellectual contributions to their academic work quickly and tangibly.
Social Science Seminars
The Social Science seminars in the Conditions of Social and Political Life fulfill the General Education requirement in the Social Sciences. These courses attempt to unveil for the students the perspective of the deepest political and moral responsibility and to enlarge their grasp of human achievement. The courses are intended to inspire students to develop their own visions of society and social change, to begin a lifelong dedication to active engagement with the fundamental issues of human society and with energetic approaches to the complexity of these issues. The courses prepare students to think ever more reasonably and powerfully about social and political institutions and about issues of ethics and leadership that arise in this context.
Liberal Arts Seminar
In addition to their distinctive courses fulfilling the requirements in General Education, Honors students are required to take an additional Honors seminar in some area of the liberal arts. The seminar topics are chosen from a greater variety of fields than those in the social science seminar. Although the seminars are often focused on a topic studied in a single discipline, the atmosphere and point of view of the seminar is interdisciplinary, as students from a wide variety of major fields bring their individual interests and knowledge to bear on the discussion.
Honors College students may choose in one or more semesters to participate in an Honors College tutorial with the Academic Director, Nicholas Rizopoulos. Modeled on systems such as those at Oxford and Cambridge Universities or Yale University’s famed Scholar of the House program, the tutorial provides highly motivated students a chance to explore selected topics in great depth and to develop their skills in writing and argumentation through the rigorous supervision of the director.
The Senior Thesis
All Honors students must complete the senior thesis, a yearlong project designed to bring about and to demonstrate intellectual mastery and to encourage the integrity and responsibility that only a complex project can elicit. Often the thesis grows out of a project the student has undertaken in the sophomore or junior year in research or independent work on or off campus. Sometimes students begin something entirely new. Students must agree with their adviser on a topic by mid-October of their senior year.
Throughout the year, students are supervised not only by their departmental adviser but also by one of the Honors College Academic Directors, Nicholas Rizopoulos or Gregory Mercurio.
In the spring, when the student and adviser are satisfied that the thesis is ready for presentation, the thesis is given to readers before whom the thesis is defended. The defense is meant to be both an exploration of the student’s achievement and a further intellectual challenge.
Honors students find that graduate and professional programs respond very positively to the senior thesis. Along with the diverse and interdisciplinary Honors curriculum, admissions committees often express particular praise for the thesis project.
The Cocurricular Cultural Program
The second major component through which the philosophy of an honors education is realized is the extracurricular and cocurricular program.
One of the most important tenets of the Honors College is that the Honors education is much more than a set of courses. A rich program of cocurricular and extracurricular activities provides an essential complement to the Honors curriculum. In order to transform students into adults with the highest aspirations and the broadest understanding, the Honors program brings the students into direct contact with greatness.
Because of Adelphi’s proximity to Manhattan, the Honors College can offer an unparalleled series of events and activities in which the students confront the best achievements and the leading figures in cultural and intellectual life.
For example, artists and authors are brought to campus to meet with the students in intimate gatherings for stimulating and provocative discussion that will illuminate the art that has been created from the standpoint of the artist, director, or impresario who has created or staged it. Several times a semester, groups of students attend events off campus in Manhattan and the greater New York area.
The Earle Hall Facility
The third major component of the Honors College program is the building itself in which the College is housed.
Student residential rooms, classrooms, administrative offices, and student facilities (such as around-the-clock computer room) are all located within one building. This comprehensive facility makes possible in a unique way the coherence and intensity required to achieve the rigorous aims of an honors education.
Although the students are not presented with an education that is meant to exist in isolation from society and the greater world, they nevertheless need to learn that the intellectual world is also real. The concentration of students and faculty in the Honors College creates an environment in which the life of the mind is the usual and expected order of business rather than the exception. Conversations and ideas flow from classroom to classroom and from classroom to residence rather than simply evaporating at the end of a period. The administrative offices draw students in for frequent conversation making contact with faculty a habit rather than an occasional formality. Public spaces provided with scholarly publications encourage the students to read and discuss serious issues between classes.