May 25, 2024  
College Catalog 2018-2019 
College Catalog 2018-2019 ARCHIVED CATALOG

Whittier Scholars Program

Andrea Rehn, Director of the Whittier Scholars Program and Digital Liberal Arts Program, Associate Academic Dean, and Associate Professor of English

Charles Eastman , Associate Director of the Whittier Scholars Program, Director of College Writing Program, and Senior Lecturer in Writing

The Whittier Scholars Council, consisting of appointed faculty members from across the College and elected student members, governs the Whittier Scholars Program (WSP).

The Whittier Scholars Program (WSP) is a rigorous, individualized program that offers a high quality, innovative path to a liberal arts degree. Working with faculty advisors and their peers, students in the Scholars Program construct curricular paths that support their unique educational goals while also achieving the crucial competencies of well-educated global citizens. Through interdisciplinary seminars, discussions with faculty and peers, and experiential learning opportunities, students explore fundamental questions that connect their educational experiences to their personal goals, and thereby help them define themselves within their various communities. At least one connected learning experience, such as study abroad, an off-campus internship, or a service learning program, helps students integrate their education into their lives beyond college.

Central to the Scholars Program is the Educational Design process. Through an interdisciplinary seminar and with the assistance of a faculty advisor, students design their own course of study. Each design must have coherence and purpose while supporting the goals of the individual student. All designs are presented to, defended before, and approved by faculty members of the Whittier Scholars Council. As they pursue their approved Educational Designs toward the BA degree, students continue to examine their goals, objectives and values through increasingly advanced, interdisciplinary Scholars seminars.

To offer students maximum flexibility in their design of their own course of study, the program has few specific requirements. A total of ten credits of coursework spread across the college years, the connected learning experience described above, and a Senior Project and public presentation of the project, are required to complete the program successfully. In addition, Scholars are required to meet the campus College Writing requirement. See the course descriptions below for detailed descriptions of each Scholars course.

The Senior Project is the culmination of the Whittier Scholars Program, and embodies long-term focused work on a project conceptualized, designed, and executed by the student, with the assistance of a faculty sponsor. The concept must be presented and defended to faculty members of the Whittier Scholars Program in the form of a proposal which frames the Project, places it in a disciplinary context, and provides a bibliography and timetable for completion. Each student works on the Project with a faculty Sponsor selected by the student who serves as a mentor and guide through the process. The Project may be a research paper, an art portfolio, a video game, the production of a play, or anything else that allows the student to demonstrate their scholarship and grows from the student’s approved Educational Design. The Senior Project offers students the opportunity to demonstrate that they can learn on their own, that they have attained a level of mastery appropriate to advanced undergraduate work, and that they are aware of the relationship of their work to others in their own and different disciplines. Students then share their Senior Projects with the larger Whittier College Community as part of a Scholar’s Senior Symposium series.

Admission for First-Year Students: Provisional acceptance to the Whittier Scholars Program requires admission to the College and completion of an application to the program concurrent with enrollment in one of the first two courses in the program. Full acceptance follows successful completion of the first seminar, the Educational Design course, and Whittier Scholars Council approval of the student’s unique Educational Design.

Admission for Advanced and/or Transfer Students: An accelerated path through the program is available for students with Sophomore or Junior standing. Contact the Director of the Program for details.

Whittier Scholars Program Requirements

  • Six credits of College Writing (College Writing Seminar or equivalent and a second 3-credit approved writing course).
  • An approved Educational Design with includes courses in each of the divisions of the college: Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences.
  • Whittier Scholars courses WSP 101  , WSP 201  , WSP 301  and WSP 401 .
  • A Senior Project and Senior Symposium
  • Completion of at least 120 college credits.

If a student transfers from the Whittier Scholars Program to the Liberal Education Program, the student must submit a formal letter signed by his/her advisor and the Director of the Whittier Scholars Program to the Registrar’s Office. The Registrar will then evaluate the student’s academic record as though the student were a transfer student with regard to the Liberal Education requirements.