University Scholars Program Courses

Outdoor Honors lecture

The curriculum for the University Scholars Program was developed by a team of faculty from across all academic colleges at UCA. University Scholars participate in a specially designed curriculum that focuses on developing skills in the areas of personal and social responsibility as well as disciplinary expertise and leadership. The University Scholars Program embraces both interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to delivery of its curriculum. All students will participate in small-group classes that integrate the best practices used within higher education today.

University Scholars Core Program

Courses in the University Scholars Core offer students credits that satisfy university Core requirements. Students will enroll in four honors-sections of Core classes within their first two years at UCA. These classes will have smaller enrollments, be discussion-based, and will focus on developing a specialized skill set. The first of these classes is the gateway course, “On Expertise: The Necessity of Leadership and Scholarship.” The remaining courses are chosen from a variety of disciplines depending on the courses the students need credit in. If a course is not offered that satisfies a course requirement needed by the student, then the student can enroll in an honors contract course. Examples of projects undertaken in past contract courses can be found here.

Taken in the fall semester of the freshman year, “On Expertise” is a gateway course to the University Scholars Program. The goal of the course is to explore areas of leadership, social responsibility, and disciplinary expertise.┬áThrough an interdisciplinary approach, students learn how to read, write and engage in intellectual discourse. Students will learn to identify and evaluate sources of information, and they develop a base of knowledge essential for engaging in conversations about contemporary social issues. This course draws on material from a variety of traditions and requires students to engage with challenging readings, frame arguments and provide evidence during in-class discussions, and participate in critical communication about current issues within and across disciplinary areas. Students may count the course as fulfilling the Responsible Living (RL) requirement for the lower division core. The course also satisfies the Humanities (HUM) and Freshman Year Seminar (FYS) requirement.

University Scholars Capstone Project

The goal of disciplinary expertise remains critical to the mission of the junior and senior curricula, through which students are able to complete an Honors Capstone Project within their major. They are required to complete two courses dedicated to the completion of the Capstone Project, during which a student completes a project of their own choosing rooted in undergraduate research or creative work.

Capstone I fulfills the first of two required courses for completion of the Honors Capstone Project. It is designed to help students look critically at evidence, understand research ethics, develop research questions, try out arguments, and learn processes of scholarly inquiry. Capstone I should help students to not only synthesize information and respond critically to their sources, but also to master the facts and evidence upon which their responses are based. The course goal is for each student to develop a proposal and plan for her Capstone Project and to complete a substantial portion of the research and/or organization of the project before the end of the term. The student will identify a Capstone mentor with whom the student will meet weekly until the project is completed.
Capstone II is designed to support students as they develop, write, and present the Honors Capstone Project. Its most important function is to ensure that each student contributes new knowledge through completion of the project. The heart of the course will be the workshop, which will consist of writing, sharing, reading, and commenting on one another’s work. By the conclusion of this course, students should demonstrate proficiency in integrative scholarship, written and oral communication, and critical inquiry and analysis.