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Honor’s colloquia provide in-depth learning

The honors program offers unique colloquia classes that allow honors students to explore topics of interest and learn through trips, class discussions, and hands-on experiences.

Honors students can choose to take up to three one-hour colloquia. In this type of class, students have the opportunity to go outside the University and experience in-depth learning.

This semester the University is offering three colloquium classes: Being a Tentmaker, Stereotype Threats and Subiaco.

“We aim for some of the same goals as a study abroad experience would, namely, to consider the place as our text. So, rather than just reading about a monastic life, we will go and observe and participate in monastic life,” Tracy Balzer, director of Christian formation, said. This year she is the professor leading the Subiaco Monastery trip.

Balzer has been teaching the Subiaco class every fall since 2007.

“The class is actually called Honors Colloquium on the Contemplative Tradition,” Balzer said. “In the class we study the Benedictine monastic tradition which began in the middle of the first millennium and continues on today.”

Balzer also said that the Benedictine monastic tradition has valuable insight for everyday Christians about a life of both prayer and work, of worship and community.

Assistant professor of journalism Marquita Smith is teaching another colloquium class: Stereotype Threats. On Friday, Nov. 6, her class traveled to Philander Smith College, a college in Little Rock, Ark. that is a historically black college.

The purpose of the trip was to provide students with the experience that minority groups have on a regular basis concerning racial identity.

Smith said that the class is designed to “teach practical things that you can do to help reduce the threat and make the experience better for others.”

“It is a great opportunity to facilitate dialogue and also to partner with another Christian school in the state,” Smith said

Balzer is also planning a trip for her class. They will go to Subiaco Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in Arkansas. She said that this experience provides students the opportunity to learn about the monastic life and rhythm of prayer.

“My personal hope for students is that they will, one, come away with a higher view of prayer; two, experience deeper reverence toward God; and three, be challenged to think about their own lives as students and how they can be consecrated to God in new ways,” Balzer said.

Assistant professor of engineering Ted Song is teaching the class called Being a Tentmaker, which refers to the work of Paul the Apostle. The class encourages students to integrate faith and vocation through real-life examples.

“We are trying to learn from examples, how missionaries integrate the work and faith to share the gospel in many places around the world,” Song said.

Song said the class provides students with alternatives to spread the gospel to people who do not know the scriptures.

“This is an opportunity to show the gospel through the work, how you interact and deal with issues,” he said.

On Thursday, Nov. 19, a salesman will come to the class and share how he does his job while presenting the love of Christ.