The Paterno Liberal Arts Undergraduate Fellows Program
The College of the Liberal Arts and the Schreyer Honors College (SHC) have formed an innovative, landmark partnership that will invigorate undergraduate education in Liberal Arts for hundreds of students. This partnership—the Paterno Fellows Program—is a unique melding of the Liberal Arts identity and the Schreyer reputation for academic achievement.
By selecting themselves into this program (it is available to all Liberal Arts first-year students beginning with the class of 2012), Paterno Fellows agree to distinguish themselves in areas traditionally associated with the liberal arts: ethics, service, and leadership; excellence in communication; and international and intercultural awareness. So that they make best use of elective and general education credits, Fellows will be expected to finish a second major or a 24-credit minor.
The Paterno Fellows experience offers “an education for leadership” in the best tradition of the liberal arts. It molds well-rounded students who are ready for the world and prepares students for citizenship, for lifetime learning, and for the pleasures associated with the educated person. Fellows will typically be admitted to the Schreyer Honors College after the freshman or sophomore year, their accomplishment will be acknowledged at graduation and on the diploma, and their achievements will be valuable features of their post-graduate résumés and application materials. In short, Fellows will aspire to the kind of high achievement, values, and integrity associated with the Paterno family name and the Schreyer Honors College.
Benefits of the Fellows Program
Transformative academic development in the liberal arts tradition is the hallmark benefit of the program: Fellows will graduate with in-depth academic credentials in at least two fields; develop ethical principles and leadership ability; and gain the ability to think critically, do independent research, communicate effectively, and demonstrate global and intercultural sophistication. While all Liberal Arts students gain such an education at Penn State, Fellows achieve an education of special ambition, depth, and distinction.
- Paterno Fellows are admitted to the Schreyer Honors College after they prove themselves in their first and second year. When they graduate, they will be acknowledged as Honors and Fellows graduates.
All Liberal Arts students not admitted to the SHC upon admission are eligible to perform their way into the SHC by virtue of their accomplishments inside and outside the classroom. Those who meet the challenge are admitted to the prestigious Schreyer Honors College after the freshman or sophomore year, depending on when they qualify. (Some students may be able to be admitted in the junior year if they are on schedule to meet Fellows expectations.)
- Financial support for enrichment activities
Paterno Fellows will receive $1,500–$5,000 from the College of the Liberal Arts toward meeting their research, study abroad, and internship aspirations; and build a portfolio of experiences that will influence employers, professional schools, and graduate schools. These are the types of experiences that prepare students for leadership and that students and alumni describe as the most defining and unforgettable moments in their college careers. To learn more about Liberal Arts Enrichment Funds and fill out an application, visit the Career Enrichment Network.
- Special advising
Under the guidance of a small advisory board, Liberal Arts will provide academic advising to Paterno Fellows; ensure that students are meeting expectations in a timely way; administer applications for enrichment funds; and work with departments, Centers, and other university agencies to locate and create academic and co-curricular opportunities for students. When it is appropriate, Fellows can participate in the College mentor program, which provides one-on-one alumni guidance.
- Participation in a special academic community
Fellows will have opportunities to participate in special seminars and presentations by visiting lecturers, arts activities, off-campus expeditions, even social events that promote group identity and a sense of esprit de corps.
The Specific Responsibilities of Fellows
- Maintain at least a 3.4 GPA: This expected GPA, in keeping with guidelines for the Schreyer Honors College, reflects the consistent academic excellence to which Fellows must aspire.
- Complete a specified number of Liberal Arts honors courses (or certified honors equivalents) each year, within the major(s) or minor(s) or through general education: Fellows should complete at least *21 honors credits in the freshman and sophomore years (four honors courses in the freshman year, and three honors courses in the sophomore year are recommended), and at least fourteen credits in the final two years. (Note that students entering Liberal Arts in the spring semester of freshman year must normally complete the 21 credits in just three semesters, not four.) In general agreement with Schreyer Honors College guidelines, Fellows may satisfy their honors credit requirements through honors courses, advanced courses (defined as 400-level courses taken in the first and second years) or graduate-level courses, and international study or research. (Honors Options courses and Honors independent study are not available to Paterno Fellows, however.) (*Prior to Fall 2012, this was 18 honors credits.)
- Satisfy any requirements for entrance into the Paterno Fellows program stipulated in the intended major and complete the application forms for entrance to the Schreyer Honors College. Many departments, and the majors they oversee, will automatically endorse entrance into the Schreyer Honors College as long as students satisfy the GPA* and honors credit requirements stated above. These departments are African American Studies, African Studies, Anthropology, Asian Studies, Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Jewish Studies, Latin American Studies, Philosophy, Sociology, and Women’s Studies.
There are some departments with additional requirements beyond these stated above; click on each department below to view their requirements:
- Complete a second major, in addition to the primary Liberal Arts major; OR complete a minor with at least 24 credits*: Fellows are expected to make the best use of elective and general education credits so that their achievements include substantial expertise in a second academic area. (Note: some minors already require 24 or more credits—such as the Business and the Liberal Arts Minor. Others require 18 credits—but Fellows would complete an additional 6 credits. Also note that the second major or the minor need not be in the College of the Liberal Arts—though the primary major must be in Liberal Arts. But a concurrent major or minor in International Studies does not satisfy this requirement.) *Students may substitute a second 18-credit minor for one 24-credit minor with the permission of the Director.
- Complete a study abroad experience (brief study abroad experiences embedded in a Penn State course do not qualify) OR a credit-bearing internship (for at least 3 credits). Suitable non-credit internships can be substituted with permission. To document a non-credit internship experience, download the ; complete and submit it using the contact information on the form.
- Complete an , as well as a suitable and substantial leadership or service commitment: Paterno Fellows are expected to make a difference by giving back to the community, whether this is in the Penn State/State College community or elsewhere, either by taking on a leadership role or offering services totaling at least 50-75 hours during your college career. (Participants in the Presidential Leadership Academy automatically meet the leadership requirement.) To document a leadership or service experience, download the ; complete and submit it using the contact information on the form.
- Achieve the Liberal Arts Excellence in Communication Certificate OR complete two additional courses beyond the 12th-credit-level proficiency in one foreign language OR achieve 12th credit proficiency in two foreign languages. This requirement may also be satisfied by an approved study abroad experience in a non-English speaking country, if the courses are taught in the language of the country rather than English. Those students majoring or minoring in a foreign language would automatically meet this requirement.
- Complete a capstone self-sponsored research or creative project (this does not necessarily need to be in the major): Fellows should demonstrate the ability to make use of the special research and critical thinking methods associated with the humanities and social sciences. Paterno Fellows meet this requirement by completing their honors thesis for the Schreyer Honors College.
*Fellows aspirants who have completed 30 or more credits will be welcomed into the Schreyer Honors College if they have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above, meet any department requirements, and are ready to declare a major. Those with a cumulative GPA below 3.5 after the first year will be welcomed when they complete 60 credits with a cumulative GPA of 3.4 and meet department requirements.