|Dr. Tom Mosca III, Professor of Mathematics|
The Honors Program at Rappahannock Community College provides a challenging and rigorous environment for students who are looking to get the most from their educational experience. Thanks to the advanced level of learning, the students who take part in this course will earn special recognition.
Students can convert their standard class into an honors class by creating a project, which must be agreed to by both student an instructor. These projects can cover a variety of subjects, and all are closely monitored by program director, Dr. Tom Mosca III.
Taking part in the Honors Program can pay big dividends — just ask RCC graduate Yohana Flores. The 2010 alumna took part in the Honors Program and participated in a scholarly paper on warming trends in the Chesapeake Bay. She eventually went on to the University of Richmond, but credits her rigorous RCC experience to helping her find her way.
“RCC was a very satisfying outlet for my energies,” she says. “I grew into a mature adult with the ability not only to set her mind on a task but to complete it in due time, while enjoying the experience of gaining knowledge.”
What is the RCC Honors Program?
The RCC Honors Program is designed to provide an enriched academic experience that will enhance a student’s individual development. Through this program, a student will be able to earn special recognition for achievement based on an advanced level of learning. Courses in which the student is regularly enrolled may be converted to an Honors-designated course upon the successful completion of a project for that course. A student may also graduate with an Honors diploma by successfully completing three Honors-designated courses with a grade of B or better, and two Honors Seminars (MTH 195 and BIO 195) with a grade of B or better, while maintaining a 3.4 cumulative grade point average for all RCC courses.
Am I eligible to participate in the Honors Program?
Eligibility criteria for the Honors Program are based on the student’s past academic experiences as follows:
Newly Enrolled from High School: Fulfillment of one of these requirements:
1. Top 10% of graduating class
2. SAT scores of 1650 or greater
3. 3.2 cumulative grade point average on a minimum of 12 dual enrollment credits
Currently Enrolled RCC Students: Fulfillment of these three requirements:
1. Minimum of 12 hours college credit (or Honors Program Director approval)
2. Cumulative grade point average of 3.2
3. Recommendations from two RCC instructors.
Newly Enrolled Non-Traditional Students and Students with “Special Circumstances”
Upon receiving the student’s Honors Program Application the Program’s Director will consider past academic performance, life experiences, and the student’s readiness for Honors-designated courses. A student’s acceptance is at the discretion of the Honors Program Director and will be a probationary acceptance until the student may enter the Program through one of the methods described above.
What courses are eligible to be Honors Courses?
Any transfer-level course may be converted to an Honors Course. An Honors Program student may designate certain courses for Honors credit if and only if the professor is willing to participate in the Program and in the particular project.
How do I enroll in an Honors Course?
The instructor for a course in which you are regularly enrolled may have previously agreed to offer an Honors component for that course. If that’s the case, Honors work will take place through a contract made in consultation with, and approved by, that faculty member. If you are interested in converting a regularly enrolled course into an Honors course, you must ask the instructor about the possibility of earning Honors credit for that course no later than the second week of the semester.
How will my Honors Course be different?
The Honors Course distinction will be defined through the satisfactory completion of the project established in the Honors Contract. Your first step in creating an Honors Contract is to review the course assignment schedule. A good strategy is to identify a topic that is of special interest to you and then ask to develop, with the instructor’s assistance, an Honors Project related to that topic. However, an Honors Project related to the course materials but not listed on the assignment schedule may also be arranged with the instructor’s approval. The key to deciding on a project is that it should be of special interest to you because Honors Projects involve more time and effort than normal course requirements. While many Honors Projects involve writing an essay, such a practice is not always required. For example, fieldwork in a specific course is often an appropriate basis for a project.
What is an Honors Seminar?
The Honors Seminar is two, one credit-hour courses that are available to Honors students as MTH 195 and BIO 195. The Seminars will typically be conducted each Fall and Spring semesters. The Seminars will be based on topics determined by the Honors Program director. A persuasive, research-based essay will be required for each student in each class.
I’m not a “Math Wiz.” Do I have to take MTH 195?
MTH 195 is an Honors Seminar and is required of all Honors students. Students will not be required to do math, but will be learning about math. Typically, an essay about some facet of mathematics in society will be required. Students who enjoy math may be given an opportunity to do certain projects instead of writing the essay.
Do I have to take BIO 195?
BIO 195 is an Honors Seminar and is required of all Honors students. Students will not be required to dissect any frogs. Students will be required to produce an essay about some aspect of biology, either written or some other form (such as perhaps, a photo essay), at the instructor’s discretion.
How will I be recognized for my Honors Courses?
All courses for which you have successfully completed an Honors Project (and earned a minimum grade of “B” for the course) will be noted as Honors Courses on your permanent transcript. If you choose to graduate as an Honors student (three Honors Contract courses, both Honors Seminars, and a minimum 3.4 cumulative GPA), you will receive a special notation on your diploma and recognition at graduation. It is required to submit the Honors Diploma application on or before the Graduation application deadline.
What is an Honors Diploma, and how do I qualify for one?
A student in the Honors Program may choose to earn an Honors diploma at RCC. Once a student successfully completes three Honors courses with a grade of B or better, both one-credit Honors seminars with a grade of B or better, and maintains a 3.4 GPA, the college will award an Honors diploma to that student. An Honors Diploma Application must be submitted to Dr. Tom Mosca III by the Graduation Application deadline for the semester the student wishes to graduate.
What if I have more questions?
Contact Dr. Tom Mosca III, the Honors Program Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an appointment. Most questions can be answered via email.