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International Honors Mission & Goals

At PLU, four core foundations define the honors curriculum:

  1. multidisciplinary approaches
  2. historical and internationally focused study
  3. intentional intellectual formation and ethical reflection, and
  4. the establishment of a cohesive learning community.

Multidisciplinary Approaches:

In the modern university, the disciplines are usually compartmentalized:  you won’t find physics, for example, intersecting with economics or French.  PLU’s International Honors Program is a general education curriculum that brings the disciplines back together so that they work together to build greater insights.

In each IHON course – whatever its particular focus – your faculty begins with their particular discipline but then adds and integrates perspectives from at least one or two other disciplines, broadening your viewpoint and theirs.

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.

honorHistorical 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 separate cultures with distinct historical and cultural norms.

Intellectual Formation and Ethical Reflection:

The curriculum asks students to examine critically the basic assumptions cultures from all over the world and all different times have about the nature of life and the world we live in.  This includes critically examining the origins of the concept of “The West” and “Western” culture.  The IHON curriculum encourages students to develop an informed, personal worldview.

Cohesive Learning Community:

From their first days on campus, eager, inquisitive IHON students bond through a common identity and a common curriculum.  First year students get to know each other through the IHON 111-112 introductory sequence and through a series of evening colloquia designed to answer their questions about IHON and delve deeper into the questions of our courses.  Many IHON students also choose to live in the IHON wing of Hong Hall, our International Living Learning Community, where we host periodic events for all IHON students.  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.

International Honors Mission Statement

The International Honors Program is a rigorous alternative to the General Education Program at Pacific Lutheran University, and is designed for independently-motivated students with an interest in pursuing their studies in a global context. Rooted in the university’s emphasis on liberal arts education, International Honors consists of multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses that explore contemporary issues and their historical foundations through an integrated, multi-national approach. Four core foundations define the honors curriculum: Multidisciplinary approaches, historical and internationally focused study, intentional intellectual formation and ethical reflection.