Notre Dame College Continues to Grow Honors Scholars Program

Notre Dame College is reaching new highs in Honors Scholar courses, with more than 30 honorizations taking place during the first half of the 2017-2018 academic year.

Twenty-four individual students in the Honors program at Notre Dame are collaborating with 17 separate faculty members on a total of 34 honorizations for 21 different courses during the fall semester. Ten of the Scholars are honorizing more than one class. This is the first time in the eight-year history of the program that more than 30 courses have been honorized at any one time.

With the distinctive nature of the Notre Dame Honors program, Scholars honorize separate courses, working one-on-one with instructors to develop their course enhancements for honors credit above and beyond what is required in each class syllabus. Many projects involve graduate-level research and related scholarship and result in student posters and presentations at professional conferences.

Notre Dame has nearly 60 Scholars currently in the program—including 19 new Honors students this semester, one of its largest first-year cohorts since the program was established in 2009. Not all Scholars honorize individual courses each semester, according to Ken Palko, M.A., associate professor of philosophy and chair of the Honors Scholar Advisory Board at the College.

In addition to working directly with faculty to self-design advanced curricula as singularly honorized courses, the hybrid nature of the Notre Dame program allows Scholars to learn together as a cohort in the honors sections of certain classes. This semester 18 Honors Scholars also are taking the honorized section of the philosophy course PH200-HR: Critical and Creative Thinking taught by Palko.


This fall, the Division of Nursing has a total of 12 honorizations, the highest among the five academic divisions at the College for the semester. Seven individual students are collaborating with four different nursing faculty in four separate courses.

Five Scholars are honorizing both NR215: Foundations of Nursing I and NR200: Health Assessment across the Lifespan. The courses are team taught by M. Patrice McCarthy, Ph.D., R.N., C.N.S., division chair and professor of nursing; Collette LaValey, Ph.D., R.N., ACNS-BC, assistant professor of nursing; and Lynn Papesch, M.S.N., R.N., assistant professor of nursing.

Also in nursing, one student is honorizing NR310: Evidence Based Practice, and one has an honorization for NR320: Adult Nursing Practice. Both courses are taught by Penni-Lynn Rolen, M.S.N., R.N., C.N.S., assistant professor of nursing and director for the College’s R.N.-B.S.N. program.

Science and Mathematics

During fall 2017, a total of six science faculty—the most in any division this semester—are working with eight individual students on a total 10 honorizations across eight different courses. Two of the Scholars are honorizing two science classes each the semester.

Three students are working with David Kirby, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, to honorize PS200: College Physics. One of those same Scholars also is honorizing PS201: College Physics Lab.

Along with Kirby, other full-time science faculty with multiple course honorizations this semester are Angela C. Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, with one Scholar each in BI114: General Biology 1‒Molecular and BI391/391L: Special Topics in Biology with Lab and Amy D. Stringer, Ph.D., LISW, assistant professor of psychology, with two students honorizing PY370: Psychology of the Abnormal.

Three other faculty in the Division of Science and Mathematics each have one student honorizing a course this fall: Tracey T. Meilander, Ph.D., associate professor of biology and Marie Goetz-Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM, BI116: General Biology II Organismal Biology; Sharon K. Balchak, Ph.D., division chair and professor of biology, BI300: Human Anatomy and Physiology I; and David Orosz, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and Marie Goetz-Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM, CH305: Biochemistry 1.

The same Scholar is honorizing the courses with Balchak and with Orosz.


For honorizations in the Notre Dame Division of Business, five students are working beyond traditional curricula and outside of class with three individual faculty members in a total of four different courses this semester.

Pamela Phillips, M.B.A., assistant professor of finance, is working with two students to honorize the economics course EC202: Principles of Macroeconomics and one Scholar in EC305: Comparative Economic Systems. Sandra Grassman, M.B.A., associate professor of management information systems, is honorizing the information systems class IS260: Computer Decision Making Apps with a student, and Michael Rusek, adjunct instructor in business, has a student honorization in the business core requirement of BU155: Accounting Principles I.

Arts and Humanities

In addition to the Scholars cohort philosophy section of the critical and creative thinking class, three additional courses with three different faculty in the Division of Arts and Humanities have Honors components this fall.

Five students—two of which also are earning Honors credits in courses in other academic divisions this semester—have one honorization each in arts and humanities courses.

Three students are honorizing the theology course TH450: Social Justice taught by Glenn B. Siniscalchi, Ph.D., assistant professor of theology.

Two history courses are being honorized this semester, too. One Scholar is earning honors credit in HI335: History of India with Nathaniel Bassett, and another has an honorization for HI210: Anthropology with Matthew Phillips. Both Bassett and Phillips are adjunct faculty.

Professional Education

In the single honorization this semester in the Division of Professional Education, one Honors Scholar is collaborating beyond the syllabus with Trisha Schock, Ph.D., assistant professor of education and coordinator of early childhood education programs. The course being honorized is ED379: Music, Creative Arts and Physical Movement Activities in Early Childhood Education.

About the Honors Scholar Program

The Honors Scholar program at Notre Dame provides a student-centered educational experience for students with a high school GPA of 3.75 or minimum ACT of 27. Current students at the College who make the President’s List with a 4.0 GPA their first year also are invited into the program.

The College’s Honors program exemplifies the individualized learning and personal attention from faculty that are hallmarks of a Notre Dame education. Students in the program have the distinction of working directly with faculty to self-design advanced curricula with singular, separate “honorized” courses.

The hybrid nature of the Notre Dame program also allows Scholars to learn together as a class in the honors sections of certain courses, like general education requirements in theology and philosophy, as well as work with faculty members one-on-one.

Nearly half of full-time faculty members at the College have honorized individual courses for specific Honors Scholars. These classes include required courses for majors and electives as well as general education credits.

Courses can be honorized in all of Notre Dame’s five academic divisions: Arts and Humanities, Business, Nursing, Professional Education and Science and Mathematics.

Students must earn 21 honors credits over their College career to qualify for the distinction on their degree. Notre Dame, a member of the Mideast Honors Association, graduated its first Honors Scholars in 2014. The program was launched in 2009.

December 2017

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master's degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or


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