Our Hopes & Expectations Student Learning Outcomes
The Schreyer Honors College is a committed advocate of the overall Penn State experience, and an engaged partner with numerous colleges, departments, and programs in the university. Its historic vision and mission lead it to be a multifaceted, holistic program that shapes its students to be moral agents that influence the world for the common good. More specifically, the ambitious task of the Schreyer Honors College is to invest in its students—in and out of the classroom—to the end that they will be committed to, and skilled in, providing principled leadership in the world, and contribute positively and effectively to professional, social, civic and intellectual outcomes.Mission & Vision History & Traditions
Student Learning Outcomes
Educators always have hopes for what students will learn. Codifying these hopes is an attempt to identify what has come to be called intended student learning outcomes. As the Preamble above clearly attests, the Schreyer Honors College has high hopes for the learning experience of its students. More specifically, students who graduate from the College will:
- Develop, engage in, and communicate scholarship in their field in order to examine and critically analyze selected topics, issues, or problems;
- Embody ethical principles in personal, academic, professional, and societal contexts;
- Demonstrate respect for human differences, understanding of global interdependency, and engagement in civic life; and,
- Collaborate with others and demonstrate leadership by exploring opportunities or implementing initiatives.
These four learning outcomes are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they are best understood as being intertwined, having connections one to the others, both conceptually and practically.
The Schreyer Honors College will intentionally and strategically provide curricular and co-curricular programs, initiatives, experiences, practices, policies, and procedures—in collaboration with its various partners at the university as appropriate and/or relevant—that it believes may bolster students’ progress towards these learning outcomes.
The Schreyer Honors College provides an experience for its Scholars that is intentionally designed to go “above and beyond” simply attending Penn State. This experience that the College has in mind involves academic, cocurricular, and extracurricular dimensions. That is, the College expects its Scholars to engage their studies more deeply and with more complexity. Being a Scholar in the Honors College requires leveraging opportunities to think more meaningfully in a broader context. Scholars must examine their own academic disciplines, but interface with students in other areas of inquiry and eventually with professionals in other arenas.
The College also expects its Scholars to be engaged citizens, well-rounded people who do more than simply go to class. Being a part of the College means being very deliberate and affirming that “Yes! I am a fully engaged member of this community.” The Honors College wants its Scholars to be actively involved in other experiences and activities above and beyond what is required of them academically; Scholars’ disciplines are springboards for further and additional engagement. And, although the College may not offer a specific event or experience, it facilitates and encourages Scholars to pursue multiple opportunities for diving deeper.
The Schreyer Honors College expects its Scholars to:
- Be ethical in all interactions and scholarship.
- Strive for intellectual rigor and honesty.
- Respect and seek to understand identities and experiences without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.
- Listen thoughtfully to diverse viewpoints.
- Be actively engaged in and out of the classroom.
- Cooperate and collaborate with other members of the College community.
- Use evidence to support perspectives and work.
- Eschew overly simplistic answers.
- Expand curiosity into all aspects of their lives.
- Share their gifts – intellectual, creative, leadership – with the local, regional, national, and international communities.
Elaboration of Learning Outcomes
Develop, engage in, and communicate scholarship in their field in order to examine and critically analyze selected topics, issues, or problems
The Schreyer Honors College expects Scholars to be actively engaged in and out of the classroom and through their academic disciplines. Participation as a Scholar enables students to explore more deeply within their academic disciplines. Progress toward this outcome, including evidence of tangible growth in their abilities as individual Schreyer Scholars, may take shape in the following ways:
- Propose and select from several, in-depth, and targeted questions within their discipline for a specified purpose (such as a thesis or project), and/or
- Utilize credible scholarly sources to explain a topic (such as their thesis) and how they arrived at that topic, and/or
- Discuss ways in which topics in their discipline can interface, inform, or provide analogous thinking to a wide variety of other disciplines, and/or
- Communicate a topic (such as their thesis research or information from an Honors Option course) to a non-expert who does not know the complexities or jargon associated with the topic, and/or
Embody ethical principles and moral agency in personal, academic, professional, and societal contexts
The Schreyer Honors College expects Scholars to cultivate the lifelong pursuit of integrity and moral agency. In doing so, they will recognize ethics as essential to one’s character, goals, actions, and civic responsibilities. In turn, Scholars will integrate ethics into their academic, professional, and civic pursuits, and practice and model ethical leadership and decision-making in all facets of life. Progress toward this outcome, including evidence of tangible growth in their abilities as individual Schreyer Scholars, may take shape in the following ways:
- Demonstrate ethical literacy by defining ethics, ethical principles, and ethical decision-making frameworks, and/or
- Define and analyze the motivations and influences behind ethical and unethical behavior, and/or
- Analyze contemporary professional ethical issues considering global, economic, environmental, and cultural factors, and/or
- Apply ethical analysis and ethical decision-making frameworks to practical personal and professional ethical dilemmas, and/or
Demonstrate respect for human differences, understanding of global interdependency, and engagement in civic life
The Schreyer Honors College expects Scholars to be outward-facing— in processing information, in interpersonal communications, and considering opinions, and in service to society. Schreyer Scholars will come to be characterized as those who actively appreciate human differences, engage in principled interactions and involvements, are articulate about the relevance and importance of mutuality and interdependence at local, national, and global levels, and are committed to furthering the common good of society through ongoing, active participation. Progress toward this outcome, including evidence of tangible growth in their abilities as individual Scholars, may also take shape in the following ways:
- Distinguish both differences and similarities when discussing their academic discipline or thesis topic in broader perspectives including global, historical, political contexts, and/or
- Meaningfully articulate ways in which at least one society or culture other than their own shapes and is shaped by local, regional, national or global contexts, and/or
- Explain ways in which they do and/or will use their position as a well-educated person in the world to actively contribute to create a better society focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and/or
Collaborate with others and demonstrate leadership by exploring opportunities or implementing initiatives
The quality of a Scholar’s active engagements is more important than their quantity and should be readily characterized by co-creation of vision and shared discovery, all of which may take a variety of forms and occur within numerous contexts. For example, Scholars must model a spirit of collaboration in and out of the classroom and be responsible for completing all College requirements in conjunction with their Honors advisers, theses advisers, and Honors College staff. Progress toward this outcome, including evidence of tangible growth in their abilities as individual Scholars, may take shape in the following ways:
- Actively engage in the co-curricular experiences (a collection of coherent activities) of their academic department(s) beyond the classroom for at least one semester, and/or
- Participate in at least one extracurricular opportunity for at least one semester, and/or
Opportunities to Demonstrate Learning Outcomes
The four Schreyer Honors College learning outcomes are intertwined and interconnected, as one might expect for outcomes that bridge disciplines and contexts. A given undertaking may make progress toward satisfying multiple outcomes.
Suggestions for how Schreyer Scholars document their achievement of these outcomes might include but are not limited to the following:
- Document reflections on experiences outlined in Schreyer Plans.
- Provide evidence of the impact of a study abroad experience.
- Write about ethical considerations, global implications, and/or what leadership may require regarding a topic or issue.
- Learn a world language.
- Develop and complete an Honors Option that focuses on a particular aspect of one or more of the College learning outcomes.
- Utilize the thesis to highlight any or all of the College learning outcomes.
- Initiate and/or engage in disciplinary seminars.
- Participate in academic department activities beyond formal classes.
- Tailor class papers and projects to critical topics that are linked to College learning outcomes.