Going Deep in the Honors College

by Evan Black '17

As a student, the term “honors” was never a choice for me. A self-described overachiever, I enrolled in the high school honors program at my alma mater, as any good student with an eye on college would do. I anticipated a similar experience journeying to Azusa Pacific University as a member of the newly formed Honors College. However, what I discovered was a faculty that strives to enhance the learning experience rather than burden students with extra assignments. The Honors College at Azusa Pacific is not another reward or “academic achievement” stamp on a résumé, but rather a genuine opportunity to pursue a more rigorous education.

I first realized the merit of APU’s Honors College in my class World Literature to the Renaissance Honors course, taught by Carole Lambert, Ph.D. Lambert openly explained how honors classes should not merely be a means of adding busywork or giving extra papers to students. Rather, she emphasized that an honors class should enhance the process of intellectual discovery. Honors students deserve more than just a challenging curriculum. Instead, we gain an education that goes above and beyond the traditional classroom atmosphere. Her particular method of sharing this enhanced curriculum was one of the most enriching school experiences I have received thus far in my education. With a class of six students, our discussions turned from overarching, broad blanket-statements and lecture notes, to a warm, genuine dialogue amongst scholars. The chosen topics for the class went deeper and became more personal than a lecture ever could. Not only did I feel my knowledge of pre-Renaissance literature expand, but also my capacity for contemplation and discernment, empathy for the world around me, and scholarship beyond academics grew as well.

Professor Lambert one of my most influential professors who not only changed my view of an Honors College, but has also changed my personal view on what education is and how it pertains to me. Approaching the halfway mark of my time at APU, I have taken seven honors classes and walked away from each one with a better understanding of my role in the world. However, the adventure does not stop there.

This past year, the Honors College created a new system to help incoming honors students navigate the waters of higher education. With four available pathways, all ending with a degree in Humanities, new students in the Honors College have the opportunity to sit in seminar discussions with the university’s top professors, study classic works of literature at an in-depth level, and learn to stretch their minds and their hearts as they experience education alongside those who truly yearn for learning. As an honors student through and through, I am thrilled to be part of a university that strives for academic integrity and an Honors College that continues to push the envelope of education to challenge and grow each student as a scholar and a follower of Christ.