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Honors Seminars

The Honors Program requires the completion of six (6) one-credit seminars that integrate faith and reason in an on-going "conversation" about the big questions of life.  Students complete one seminar each semester.

Seminars consist entirely of discussion about assigned readings, chosen among classical and/or contemporary texts from a variety of academic disciplines. The seminars meet weekly for one hour during the Fall and Spring semesters and take place under the direction of one or more senior faculty leaders, who will select pertinent readings and guide lively discussions on existential questions.

"They are questions which have their common source in the quest for meaning which has always compelled the human heart. In fact, the answer given to these questions decides the direction which people seek to give to their lives."

John Paul II, Fides et Ratio, no.1


Students who participate in the seminars regularly and actively receive a grade of "A" for the course. Completion of three one-credit seminars fulfills one "free elective" requirement for graduation (with a maximum of six credits = two free electives). Credits received for these seminars do not fulfill any General Education Core requirements. 

Continued participation in the seminars is at the discretion of the faculty leaders and the director of the Honors Program.

The following seminars are offered through the "Liberal Studies" program of the Division of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences at DSU:

  • Spring semester, Freshman year

  • Conversations about The Person ... with ►Thomas Dailey, O.S.F.S., S.T.D. (Professor of Theology, Blessed Louis Brisson Chair of Salesian Spirituality, and Director of the Salesian Center for Faith & Culture)

  • What is the origin and destiny of the human person?  What is distinctive about being human?  Is there such a thing as human "dignity"? How do I become who I am?  (► syllabus Spring 2015

  • Fall semester, Sophomore year

  • Conversations about God ... with ► Peter Leonard, O.S.F.S., Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Biology and Dean of Graduate Studies)

  • Does God exist (classical atheism)? Does the existence of God matter (contemporary atheism)? How can God be "good" with so much "evil" in the world?

  • Spring semester, Sophomore year

  • Conversations about The World ... with ► Andrew Essig, Ph.D. (Professor of Political Science)

  • What drives the history of the world:  politics, economics, culture?  How does seeing the world through the lens of politics affect our global perspective?  What lessons can we learn from international relations for making the world a better place in today's time?

  • Fall semester, Junior year

  • Conversations about Beauty ... with ► Stephen Myers, Ph.D. (Professor of English)

  • What is beauty and how do I recognize it?  What is happiness and can I have it?  Is there more to life than the material world?

  • Spring semester, Junior year

  • Conversations about Truth ... with ► Gregory Kerr, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Philosophy)

  • Does life make sense?  Can I really know anything (skepticism)?  Is there objective truth (vs. relativism) and how do I know it?

  • Fall semester, Senior year

  • Conversations about Goodness ... with ► Jeffrey Focht, Ed.D. (Assistant Professor of Business and the Edward McCabe Chair in Business & Society)

  • How can people in the world relate well to one another?  Can there be a just society?  Does freedom have any obligations?  What is the common good? 

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Salesian Spirituality