Honors Program

Thrive on challenge? Apply to our Honors Program.

Designed for students who love to push themselves, our Honors Program groups talented students in special sections of our Autumn Term and first-year Human Experience courses.

Honors students continue meeting weekly throughout their second year in an Honors Colloquium, including field trips, writing assignments, career planning activities and discussions of interest to their particular group. 

Honors Program description

The Eckerd College Honors Program is a liberal arts enhancement program designed to foster and nurture intellectual creativity and community among Eckerd’s high-achieving students. The purpose of the Honors Program is to attract and retain excellent students to study at Eckerd College by providing them enhanced opportunities for learning and community-building. Since the Honors Program is not tied to any discipline or concentration, Honors students are free to major in any discipline and still complete the Honors Program.

All Honors students must meet the General Education requirements, the Honors Program coursework outlined below and the requirements of a stated major or concentration. Completion of the Eckerd College Honors Program will be indicated on the official transcript.

Program Format

The Honors Program is closely tied to the Eckerd College General Education Program and includes the following coursework requirements:

Freshman Year

First-year Honors Program students are placed in Honors sections of Autumn Term and the first-year foundation course “Human Experience.” Autumn Term course descriptions and professor bios are on the following page.

Sophomore Year

During their second year, Honors Program students participate in a two-semester Honors seminar. Herein students will meet together weekly for discussion, field trips, and other opportunities for intellectual, social, and creative stimulation. Activities and discussion will focus on topics of unique interest to the cohort. In addition, special mentoring, curriculum and career planning, and other enrichment activities will be scheduled. A variety of written assignments provide opportunities for personal and intellectual exploration that may not easily fit within the confines of a usual college course.

Junior Year

There are no formal expectations from Honors Program students during their third year as they are encouraged to study abroad, participate in internships, and conduct undergraduate research.

Senior Year

During their senior year, Honors Program students are placed in Honors sections of the senior capstone general education course called, “Imagining Justice.” These sections are designed to reflect the intellectual rigor and depth characteristic of the Honors program. Senior Honors students will also receive special career mentoring as they prepare for their lives beyond Eckerd College.

In addition to the coursework outlined above, Honors Program students have the opportunity to regularly attend funded cultural events, network across cohorts, receive enhanced mentoring from their Honors mentors, and participate in other intellectually stimulating activities together.

In summary, the Eckerd College Honors Program brings together some of the College’s best students and offers them special opportunities and challenges that are philosophically and theoretically designed with their academic profile in mind.

Honors Autumn Term Courses and Professors

Section I: Unsp*k@ble Acts: Myth & Meaning in Greek Tragedy

Aristotle once wrote that tragedy described not the thing that has been, but the kind of thing that might be.  Upon reflection we might wonder how Aristotle’s statement could possibly be construed as true.  Were the Greeks actually preoccupied with the danger of killing one’s father and marrying one’s mother? Did straying husbands often meet their demise in the bathtub at the hands of an axe-wielding wife?  The answer is, of course, that the real dangers of the tragic stage are often metaphorical rather than literal, psychological rather than physical. For these reasons ancient Greek drama continues to thrive in the modern imagination. Far from the austere and staid performances we often associate with the classics, modern reconceptualizations of tragedy can be just as horrifying, grotesque, and relevant as they were in fifth century Greece. In this course we shall explore the ways in which Greek tragedy survives and is recreated in modern film, theatre, and literature as we investigate the implications of ancient tragic motifs in our contemporary social and political context.  Discover what ancient literature can teach us not only about the past but about ourselves in the 21st century.

Dr. Heather Vincent is Associate Professor of Classics and has served at Eckerd College since 2006.  She holds the Ph.D. in Classics from Brown University, an M.A. in Latin and Greek from the University of Maryland, and the B.S. from Vanderbilt University, with a double major in Biology and Classics.  Dr. Vincent is the coordinator for the Ancient Studies major, an interdisciplinary program that brings together several fields in the humanities and social sciences, to include: Classics, Religious Studies, History, and Philosophy.  Dr. Vincent’s research concerns Greek and Roman comedy, Roman satire, ancient and modern humor theory, and literary criticism.  Although she teaches a wide range of courses at Eckerd College covering many aspects of the ancient Mediterranean world, Dr. Vincent is especially passionate about the first-year freshman program and about the role of general education in the small liberal arts environment.

Section II: Saint Petersburg: Building the Sunshine City

Rich and poor, blight and beauty, sweeping expanses of mangroves abutting urban sprawl. Our city has been shaped in part by the same broad social forces that have affected all American cities, but it has also been formed by the choices of its individual residents and visionaries. We will explore how the city is shaped by its physical environment, like its geography, parks, buildings, and roads. But we will also consider how people have built communities in St. Petersburg, from pre-Columbian indigenous peoples, to Gilded Age entrepreneurs, 20th Century snowbirds, and the artists and entrepreneurs of today’s bustling city. We will pay particular attention to the contemporary issues of development facing the Sunshine City, such as building a new baseball stadium for the Rays, redeveloping the pier, and confronting issues of homelessness. In so doing, we will explore the question of how your new home town can attain its greatest potential in the future.

Dr. Nick Dempsey grew up in New York’s Catskill Mountains, but was chiseled into an urbanite over 15 years in Chicago, where he earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Chicago. Currently, Professor Dempsey is investigating the role of the arts in Saint Petersburg—how arts act as both an economic driver and an attraction to potential residents, as well as the way that the city may facilitate the production of works of art. His past research focused on the interactions that take place between jazz musicians during performances. He has written several articles published in sociology journals and books, and recently completed the revised third edition of Being Urban: A Sociology of City Life. Professor Dempsey has taught several times in the freshman program and the honors program, and is an enthusiastic exponent of the liberal arts curriculum.

Students who qualify based on their admission application will be invited to apply to our Honors Program.
As a senior, you’ll all take an honors section of the senior capstone course.
For more information, contact the Director of the Honors Program at vincenhl@eckerd.edu.