Honors Program
(440) 826-2242


The honors program at Baldwin Wallace helps motivated and talented students make the most of their college experience by joining a community of scholars dedicated to academic excellence, leadership development and community engagement.

The Liberal Arts — Redefined

Interdisciplinary and experiential, the honors program offers unique courses and an enhanced core curriculum that blend the theoretical and the practical. Encouraging academic exploration and independent thinking, the honors program can augment any program of study and expand the opportunities available to students.

A Path of Leadership

From a student's first experiences at the honors retreat to acting as a mentor to other honors students to planning University-wide events, the honors program offers countless opportunities for students to grow and be challenged as campus leaders. Developing the skills and self-awareness necessary for leadership is one of the central commitments of the program.

Engaging the Whole Student

More than just an academic course of study, the honors program strives to develop the whole student. We work to build lasting relationships among students and between students, faculty and staff. Committed to giving back to our community, the program encourages students to make use of their talents through service opportunities like tutoring refugees in English, organizing a campus coat-drive and working with local nonprofit organizations.


At the heart of the honors program, honors courses offer unique opportunities to enhance your skills as an independent and critical thinker. Honors courses are small, seminar-style courses taught by the very best of BW's faculty.

Interdisciplinary and Experiential

The honors program offers a new set of courses each year that help students engage in thinking across subject areas and between the theoretical and the practical. Often involving hands-on work in the classroom, community or laboratory, honors classes provide a setting for experimentation and rich engagement with the liberal arts.

Not More Difficult, but More Deeply Engaged

Intended to be exciting, distinctive and skill-building, honors courses do not require more work than non-honors classes and should not be thought of as “harder” than non-honors classes. Our courses provide special opportunities for enriching your education regardless of your area of study.

Recent and Upcoming Honors Courses

Invisible Americans
With a focus on philosophies of social justice and marginalization, this service-learning course helps students bring theories to life through service placements like tutoring refugees in English or working with teens in the justice system.

Problem Solving I and II
Designed to develop experience and skills in tackling new, unstructured problems, these courses ask students to work in teams to uncover and optimize possible solutions to problems from the fields of risk management, operations research, logic, pattern recognition and more.

The Science and Culture of Food
An interactive course involving cooking and tasting, this course explores the science behind food preparation as well as the cultural and geographical constraints on what we eat and why.

Classroom to Kitchen: Culinary delights created by a group of BW honors students unite fun and experiential learning as part of a Science and Culture of Food course. The students, who learned about chemistry by cooking various foods, dished out a tasty final exam meal at the home of BW President Bob Helmer for renowned guests. 

Reacting to the Past: The Hutchinson Trial
In this Reacting to the Past class, students will study the literary and cultural history of 17th century America and then create their own versions of colonial characters as they decide whether or not to banish the radical Anne Hutchinson.

Honors Options

With flexibility and self-direction in mind, honors options allow a student to turn any non-honors course into an honors experience by adding an additional project.

Aubrie Powell '15, music composition: For an Acting Shakespeare course, Aubrie wrote a new musical score to accompany the class production of All's Well that Ends Well and directed her fellow students in the musical production.

Amanda Koberling '15, theatre and arts management: As an addition to an internship with the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee, Amanda wrote a manual for managing the festival's online database.

Jenn Lenart '15 and BW biology professor Chris Stanton researched the effects of dam removal in Baldwin Creek in a student-faculty research project through BW's summer scholars program.

Service-Learning Classes
Honors service-learning classes give students an opportunity to connect their classroom learning to the lives and organizations of the surrounding community. Students in a service-learning section of honors English write grants for local nonprofits, and students in a course on social justice serve meals at an area shelter and conduct historical research for a Native American organization.

Business Honors Track

With a focus on sustainability, ethical business practices and leadership development, the business honors track allows students to complete courses in their business major or minor while building honors credits. The senior sequence of BUS 461H and 462H consists of a year-long consulting project where students work with a business partner and consult on a real topic as desired by the business partner. This is a rigorous, unscripted, hands-on project that will vary from year to year in its exact content. Students can apply for the business honors track during their sophomore and junior years.


Student-Directed Research

As one of three pillars of the honors program, our focus on student-directed research is about empowering students to learn to ask their own questions and seek sophisticated answers. With numerous options available, honors students pursue research in every discipline with the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Honors Senior Thesis

Every honors program student will culminate his/her college experience with a thesis project tailored to each student's needs and interests. While many projects take the form of a traditional thesis focused either on laboratory or text-based research, other students choose creative or technical projects.

Heather Biernacki '15, "Classic and Contemporary Literature: From Reviews to the Classroom"

Courtney Fraley '15, "The Importance of Self-Awareness in Effective Leadership"

Harmonie Grosso '15, "The Effects of Music vs. Competition on Running Performance"

A Wealth of Opportunities

Additional opportunities to pursue research and produce original creative work abound at BW, many of which can generate honors credit. Honors students frequently participate in summer scholars, a competitive, funded, summer research program. Others work during the school year on collaborative research or creative projects through faculty/student collaborative research courses. Students who have completed research projects are able to get support from the honors program to present their research at academic conferences in their areas of study, or can go with the honors program to present at the Mid-East Honors Association conference each spring.

Aspiring OB/GYN physician Sarah Cunningham '16 united her passion for women's health issues with research relating to her public health major. With partial funding from the BW honors program, she traveled to Uganda to conduct field research — an opportunity she described as a dream come true. 

Working under the tutelage of a leading medical school professor, honors student Benjamin Brown '15 is listed as a co-author for a groundbreaking research study published in a renowned journal.

Community Engagement

Dedicated to holistic education, the honors program sees community engagement as an essential element of student growth and development. As one of the pillars of the honors program, service to our communities helps students develop transferable skills as well as deepening their awareness of the wider world around them.

Leadership through Mentoring

Each fall, the honors leadership through mentoring program teams our upperclassmen with our incoming first-year students for a mentoring experience that revolves around service. Mentors and mentees develop lasting relationships by making meaningful contributions to the lives of others together.

Community Outreach Opportunities

BW's Office of Community Outreach offers a wide variety of opportunities to get involved in service, some of which can generate honors credit hours or can be financially supported by honors. Honors students attend alternative break programs, traveling around the country to serve over University breaks. Project Affinity is a summer service program that counts as an honors experience by placing students in nonprofit internships.

This past spring, the Honors Leadership Board led a campus-wide drive that collected nearly 3,000 personal care items for Trials for Hope, a local nonprofit outreach program.

Honors Retreat

The honors program first-year student retreat offers an empowering beginning to your honors experience.

Two Days and Nights of Fun

Before the academic year commences, the honors program hosts an off-campus overnight retreat for incoming first-year students. Designed to initiate new students into the honors community, the retreat packs in exciting, team-building activities such as a climbing wall, a high ropes course, archery and canoeing as well as book discussions, a talent show and a workshop on the transition to college.

Begin Building Friendships Immediately

The retreat provides an opportunity for new students to start developing friendships that will last for a lifetime. Sharing this experience means that honors students have something in common right away and can build on that foundation as their relationships develop in the coming months and years at BW.

Mentoring and the Honors Community

First-year students are not the only students we take to the retreat — we also bring along a group of upperclass honors peer mentors who act as leaders, friends and advisors through the experience. These mentors will work with the first-year class beyond the retreat helping our new students adjust to college life and get engaged with our local communities.

Honors retreat: Building friendships before classes begin - produced by Elise Bigley '16.

Honorable Mention Newsletter

A true insider-perspective of the honors program, the newsletter connects you to what is currently happening in the program with articles written by the students themselves. If you'd like to be on the distribution list, e-mail honors@bw.edu.


Honors offers vibrant residential experiences for first-year students and upperclassmen in three unique residence halls:

  • 21 Beech is a vibrant, close-knit residential community where lasting friendships are formed. This residence hall is all honors first-year students.
  • First-year honors students can choose to live in a suite-style residence hall with other honors students. Saylor Hall is a part of the Davidson Commons.
  • Honors upperclassmen can continue to live together in the centrally-located, Carmel Living/Learning Center.

Academically Supportive Environment

Join a community of ambitious, intelligent and passionate students. You will be able to live and work in a quiet environment where other students respect your goals and share your commitment to excellence.

Learning Outside the Classroom

Living together will encourage you to attend campus events and join student organizations with your honors peers. You will enjoy the stimulating intellectual and social atmosphere of living with other engaged students and together take advantage of programming sponsored by the honors program, honors leadership board and residence life.

Feels Like Home!

Being a part of a supportive, close-knit environment with other dedicated honors students helps you form friendships that last all four years and beyond. Each residence hall is air-conditioned, carpeted and equipped with a kitchen and multiple student lounges.


Dr. Amy E. Story
Honors Program Director and Associate Professor of Philosophy
B.A., Emory University, Philosophy and Religion
M.A., University of Oregon, Philosophy
Graduate Certificate in Women's and Gender Studies, University of Oregon
Ph.D., University of Oregon, Philosophy
(440) 826-2266

Dr. Amy E. Story has been the honors program director since 2012 and has been teaching philosophy at BW since 2007. Her interests in philosophy are related to ethics, social justice for marginalized groups, gender and sexuality. She loves working with the honors program because it gives her the opportunity to help amazing students develop their passions and grow into skilled, reflective and articulate young adults who are ready for the challenges and opportunities of the world beyond college.

Katie Adkins
Program Coordinator
B.A., Ohio Wesleyan University, Sociology/Anthropology, Politics and Government
(440) 826-2242

Katie has been with the honors Program since August 2012 and will most likely be the first person you talk to in honors. She is passionate about lifelong learning and serving others, which makes the honors program a perfect fit for her. Katie enjoys getting to know the students and seeing them grow through their college experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions