At PLU, four core foundations define the honors curriculum: Multidisciplinary approaches, historical and internationally focused study, intentional intellectual formation and ethical reflection, and the establishment of a cohesive learning community.
Multidisciplinary Approaches: As a general education curriculum, the International Honors Program offers students the opportunity to pursue a course of study which attempts to re-integrate disciplinary perspectives which are usually separated in the modern university. Accordingly, an IHON course – whatever its particular focus – offers contributing faculty the opportunity to design courses which are both grounded in their particular disciplines, but which also integrate selective perspectives on the subject matter from one or two disciplines. For example: a course on epidemics and epidemiology might be grounded in biology, but include cultural perspectives on epidemics from history, literature or art. Similarly, a course in anthropology on Africa’s religious pluralism might also include perspectives on the topic from other disciplines, such as history, economics or literary studies.
Historical and Internationally Focused Study: IHON courses ask students to recognize the cultural and historical contexts that shape every artistic, economic, philosophical, political and religious creation. Course themes are also situated internationally, that is, course material is drawn from at least two countries with distinct historical and cultural norms.
Intellectual Formation and Ethical Reflection: The curriculum asks students to critically consider assumptions that are based on a Western cultural worldview, and exposes them to the source and content of assumptions of other-than-Western cultures. The IHON curriculum directs students toward the development of an informed, personal worldview.
Cohesive Learning Community: From their first days on campus, the eager, inquisitive IHON students are bonded by a common identity and a common curriculum. This familiarity provides for a special learning environment in which students and faculty thrive on the rich intellectual exchange that flows from such trust and shared purpose.