Christ College - The Honors College
Learn more about Christ College online.
Interim Dean Jennifer Prough, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean Zachary King, B.A.
Professors Buggeln, T. Howard, Prough; Associate Professors Graber, Jakelić, Puffer, Smith, Upton; Adjunct Assistant Professors Creech, A. Howard.
Christ College is the honors college of Valparaiso University. Established in 1967, Christ College celebrates over fifty years of providing honors-level liberal arts education that enables students to achieve a measure of intellectual independence.
Christ College students are concurrently enrolled in one of the University’s undergraduate Colleges–Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, or Nursing and Health Professions–where they earn their bachelor’s degrees. Study in Christ College complements all academic programs, providing stimulating interdisciplinary study in the humanities with master teacher-scholars and academically talented students. Many Christ College courses fulfill the University’s General Education Requirements.
Completion of a program of study in Christ College leads to graduation with the honors designation Christ College Scholar . A student may also earn a complementary major or an academic minor in Christ College humanities coursework. Requirements for these programs are described in detail beginning of these program.
Christ College is dedicated to the cultivation of intellectual, moral, and spiritual virtues. The college’s name suggests its compatibility with Valparaiso University’s definition of itself as a university in the Christian intellectual tradition, comprised of people of many faiths and beliefs.
Christ College endeavors to develop among its members a sense of community: a community of seekers of knowledge and truth, a community within which free inquiry is encouraged and principled commitment is fostered, a community of scholars engaged in preparing themselves for active participation in the larger human community. Much of the curricular structure of Christ College and many of its co-curricular activities are devoted to developing this sense of community.
Its attractive facilities also encourage community-building. Christ College is located in Mueller Hall, a modern building in the heart of campus where students and faculty interact in seminar-sized classrooms, a 60-seat multimedia lecture hall, a comfortable lounge/ art gallery, a landscaped courtyard, a multipurpose refectory, and faculty offices.
By developing an academic community that gathers outside as well as inside the classroom, Christ College promotes a particular set of educational virtues and ideals among its members. Among these are direct and personal relationships between students and faculty, a spirit of cooperation and mutual growth through free exchange of ideas, a willingness to challenge and scrutinize ideas and beliefs (including one’s own), and a concern for the integration of academic learning into a responsible and meaningful life.
While stressing intellectual excellence and the fullest use of one’s own mental gifts, the college also attempts to develop within its members the virtues of modesty and civility, a humble awareness of limitations and failures, and a sense that the more knowledge is gained, the more it is to be used wisely in the service of others. To the extent that these values are actually realized in its members, Christ College considers them prepared for responsible vocations in society and for leadership and service in their faith communities.
Admission and Membership in Christ College
To be considered for membership in Christ College beginning in their first year, students must first be admitted to Valparaiso University. Admitted students with superior academic records, strong SAT or ACT scores (optional), proven leadership in extracurricular activities, and a measure of curiosity and creativity are invited by the dean of Christ College to apply for the honors program. Approximately 90 first-year students are accepted into the Christ College First-Year Program each fall.
The Christ College First-Year Program includes a two-semester course in the great traditions of humankind with readings in history, literature, philosophy, and religion from the earliest recorded thought to the present day. Coursework emphasizes close reading, thoughtful discussion, and critical writing. Other activities include producing an original musical and participating in the Oxford debates.
After the first year of undergraduate coursework, students with strong records of academic achievement may be invited to join Christ College later than the start of the first year at the dean’s discretion. For example, some sophomores are admitted to Christ College each fall. These students enroll in sophomore-level Christ College courses and begin the pursuit of Christ College Scholar graduation distinction. Students who have fulfilled the two-semester CORE at Valpo prior to joining Christ College may earn Christ College Scholar honors by completing a minimum of 16 credit hours of CC courses numbered 200 and above, plus one additional 3 credit seminar (CC 300 or CC 325).
Still other students enroll in one or more courses offered by the college but do not pursue honors program designations. Such enrollment is subject to the approval of the dean and limited only by class size.
Any Valparaiso University student-whether or not he or she is a member of Christ College-may pursue a complementary major or a minor in humanities through Christ College coursework.
Christ College welcomes students transferring to Valparaiso University from other colleges and universities, especially if students have taken honors courses at their previous institutions, including at junior colleges. A transfer student should discuss interest in Christ College with the transfer admission coordinator and speak with the dean of Christ College.
The student must submit the Application to Christ College. If approved, an academic advisor from Christ College will determine, in consultation with the student and the major advisor, which Christ College courses would best fit the student’s needs and interests.
Typically, a transfer student who has fulfilled the general education requirement of the two-semester CORE may earn Christ College Scholar honors by completing a minimum of 16 credit hours of CC courses numbered 200 and above.
For transfer students who bring in at least 70 credits or plan to graduate in four semesters or less, Christ College will review their academic record to determine an individualized path in honors.
Membership in Christ College
A student formally admitted to Christ College, either as a first-year or upper-class student, is designated a member of Christ College. Once admitted to membership, a student’s status is regularly reviewed by the dean and faculty to determine whether the student is satisfying the standards appropriate to membership in the Honors College. These requirements include contribution to the common life of the college, satisfactory academic progress toward a degree in one of the undergraduate colleges, and continuing academic achievement consonant with the mission and standards of Christ College.
Even when students are not directly registered in Christ College courses during a given semester, they are expected to contribute to the College’s common life. This includes attendance at the Christ College Symposium and regular consultation with a Christ College advisor.
Continuing academic achievement at the honors level includes 1) a cumulative grade point average of 3.300 in all coursework completed at the University and 2) a cumulative grade point average of 3.300 in all coursework completed in Christ College. Students who fall below these standards at the end of a semester or academic year will be notified by the dean and reminded that Christ College Scholar distinction requires a 3.300 cumulative average for work in both Christ College and Valparaiso University. In some cases, students will be asked to meet with their advisor and/ or the dean to discuss their status and may be counseled not to continue in Christ College.
However, continuing membership in Christ College is not determined solely by particular criteria such as cumulative grade point average or the student’s academic record for a particular semester or year. The dean and faculty consider the complete circumstances and direction of each student’s total academic career and role in Christ College and retain the right to maintain or terminate a student’s membership in Christ College in light of these conditions. The final approval for those who graduate with the designation of Christ College Scholar is made by the dean upon recommendation of the faculty.
The dean and faculty take an interest in the total program of every member of Christ College, and seek to enhance the quality of educational experience for each individual student. Accordingly, the dean may authorize certain variations in the normal academic requirements of a student if such variations seem desirable in the best interests of the student. For example, the dean may permit a student to carry extra credit hours and to waive certain University requirements if such waivers are justified. Members of the college are normally expected to meet all University requirements for graduation except where such modifications have been explicitly authorized by the dean. In general, the faculty may tailor a program to meet a student’s interests and needs within the general framework and spirit of the University’s requirements.
Academic Advising and Approval of Course Schedules
The assistant dean serves as the academic advisor for all Christ College students. Students are encouraged to confer regularly with their Christ College advisor to select courses, to meet University and college graduation requirements, to assure orderly progress in their chosen programs, and to assist in career planning and related matters.
In addition to a Christ College advisor, students have an advisor in the other college in which they are simultaneously enrolled and are expected to confer regularly with that advisor.
Each student is responsible for knowing curriculum requirements, academic policies, deadlines for academic actions, and Christ College membership criteria.
Programs of Study
Completion of the degree requirements of the college in which the Christ College student is concurrently enrolled leads to the bachelor’s degree appropriate to that college. In addition, a member of Christ College, by meeting the appropriate requirements, may graduate as a Christ College Scholar . The transcript carries the notation along with an explanation of its meaning.
Christ College students, as well as students who are not members of Christ College, may pursue a complementary major in humanities or a minor in humanities through the college.