Honors Cohorts Update


Honors is rolling out two new Learning Cohorts for the 2016-2017 school year. We talked to Dr. Smith to find out a bit more about the “Social Science Learning Cohort,” “Medical Humanities Learning Cohort,” and the rationale behind their creation.

When Dr. Smith took over as Director of Honors, the components of the program could be summed up with, “Interdisc and everything else.” The concern for Dr. Smith was that there were a hundred students enrolled in the Honors program, but not in Interdisc, who also could benefit from the curricular integration and direction provided by the structure of a Learning Cohort. This concern led to the creation of new cohorts, like “Politics, Philosophy, and Economics” and “Good, True, Beautiful.” These have been very successful and attracted many wonderful students. Recently, Dr. Smith has noted two other “demographics” within the Honors Department that could benefit from Learning Cohorts tailored to their specific interests.

The first new Cohort is the “Social Science Learning Cohort,” the idea for which Dr. Smith attributes to Dr. Allison Payne. This Cohort is designed for students who are interested in sociology or political science. The hope is that the Cohort will help students challenge the hyper-specialization which takes humans and thinks of them as purely economic beings, and also to consider questions about society in terms of the common good.

The second new Cohort is the “Medical Humanities Learning Cohort” designed for Honors students on the pre-med track. Dr. Smith hopes this Cohort will help students ask questions and push back against reductionist tendencies common in medicine today. As members of an Augustinian community, medical ethics should be something Villanovans really care about, and this Cohort provides a place for thinking about those kinds of issues. As engagement in this kind of thought is becoming equally as important to medical schools as MCAT scores, Honors students who participate in this Cohort will be even more competitive applicants than before!

Written by Newsletter Co-Editor, Laura Spence '18 CLAS. Laura is receiving a degree in Humanities & Classics. 

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