Honors program seeks competitive edge

13 years ago Triangle 0

By Atticus Bailey, Triangle Staff Writer

Dr. Ron Petitte, associate professor of political science, offers Bryan students a way to distinguish themselves in both the academic and professional fields. The honors program, under the supervision of Petitte, can give Bryan graduates a competitive edge when it comes to applying for employment or graduate school.

Dr. Ron Petitte assists freshman Alan Brown in filling out an application for the Honor's Program. Triangle photo by Emily Echols
Dr. Ron Petitte assists freshman Alan Brown in filling out an application for the Honor's Program. Triangle photo by Emily Echols

The honors program also gives students an opportunity to be prepared to enter the world. Petitte, a career military officer for 26 years, tries to share the things he has seen and experienced to help those in the honors program succeed once they leave the halls of Bryan College. Whether it is through practical experience gained in practicums or internships, or through the class the Contemporary World, the goal is to teach students to be servants in any arena.

“I want students to leave Bryan with a bridge to the real world,” Petitte said.

Approximately 60 students, or 10 percent of the Bryan population, are currently enrolled in the honors program. The previous program, before Petitte took over supervision, was focused on research, limiting the students that could excel in the program. However, Petitte broadened the program, allowing for all eligible students in every major to participate and excel.

To be eligible for the honors program, a minimum GPA of 3.6, as well as an ACT score of 28 or higher or an SAT score of 1240 or higher is needed. A GPA of 3.6 is needed throughout the years attending Bryan to stay in the honors program.

“The only negative [of the honors program] would be that not everybody is eligible for it, so a student that might really want to be in the program might not be able to. It saddens me, but I have to maintain the integrity of the program,” Petitte said.

The honors program is a minor degree, consisting of 18 credits that can be attached to any major, requiring a single additional class, the Contemporary World, besides the required credits for any major. The honors program runs parallel to any standard program offered at Bryan College without taking additional courses.

Six courses are available for freshman entering into the program: History of Western Civilization, Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Communication, Christian Worldview and Biblical Studies, but only six credits are required during the freshman year.

The various departments decide on two courses that are offered each semester. These courses are the only courses a student enrolled in the honors program will take that are restricted to honors only students, with the exception of the Contemporary World, which is taken during the senior year. Each department chooses who will teach the honors courses, and depending upon the department, it might be a single teacher, or the department might rotate teachers.

During the sophomore year of the honors program, six credit hours are required within the desired major. Any class within a major can be taken for honors credit. The course only needs to be extended by the professor to meet the requirements of the honors program.

“Extending a course for honors is important, because it allows the student to choose the professor as well as the course,” Petitte said.

Junior and senior years, students enrolled in the honors program complete an internship, thesis or practicum. Senior year, the last requirement is met through the class, The Contemporary World.

The Contemporary World, taught by Petitte, changes every semester to focus on an issue that is faced by the Christ community. This semester the Contemporary World is focusing on the Sudan, while in the past that focus has been on film, authors and many other areas.