What is the Great Conversations Honors Program?
From its inception, thousands of years ago in Ancient Athens, a liberal education has been a holistic education focused on autonomy and engagement. It is meant to develop the person as a whole –mind, body, and spirit. It is ongoing and interconnected: learning is meant to be life-long and necessitates interaction with others of disparate beliefs, ideas, and backgrounds. Unlike other Honors programs that focus exclusively on academics, Mansfield University's Great Conversations Honors Program looks at students holistically and offers leadership opportunities for them to develop personally, academically, socially, and as citizens of the world.
Students in the Great Conversations Honors Program will engage in classes and activities that are specifically designed to help them develop the following real-world leadership skills and dispositions: accountability, professionalism, effective communication, confidence, empathy, compassion, team-building, and creative problem-solving.
The Great Conversations Honors Program was built on the following three presumptions:
A liberal arts education is one that exposes students to a broad range of disciplines and perspectives, seeking to develop the student as a whole person not merely a disciple of the academy.
The purpose of education is to push students beyond where they were when they entered into their learning experience.
Meaningful learning can only happen in a relational manner.
The Great Conversations courses are designed to be academically rigorous, meaningful, inquiry-based learning opportunities that are focused on perennial questions of humanity. They are small seminar-style classes in which the students and faculty together embark on a journey of inquiry that leads them out of their comfort zones by examining the world through the lenses of multiple disciplines. The courses are inherently interdisciplinary and are designed to provoke discussions that carry over to the students' lives once the class period ends.
Meaningful learning can only occur in a relational manner. Great Conversations may begin in the classroom, but they may also begin outside of the classroom via the lecture and workshop series that helps to make up the co-curricular requirement of the program. The co-curricular piece of the program is designed to give Honors students a multitude of opportunities to experience each of the four parts of the Mansfield Creed: Character, Scholarship, Culture, and Service.The Honors co-curricular points system is designed to promote active participation and involvement of Honors students in the areas of extracurricular life that will contribute the most to their overall development as scholars, citizens, and leaders. More information about the opportunities within the various themes of Character, Scholarship, Culture, and Service can be found at the Great Conversations Honors Program webpage.