Q. What does “Civitas” mean?
A. The word "civitas" is Latin and means “citizenship” — the position of inhabiting a given place and exercising the rights, privileges and responsibilities inherent to that place. Building upon that definition, the Augustana Civitas Honors Program is centered on exploring the nature and characteristics of citizenship at Augustana University, in the United States and as part of a global community.
Q. Will Civitas Honors Program courses increase my general education requirements?
A. No. The religion and English courses during your first year are already part of the general education requirements. The sequenced courses (CIVT 201-204) may be substituted for any four courses in Augustana's core curriculum. The Vocation Project (CIVT 395) may be done as part of your major; in a number of majors, it can also serve as a departmental honors thesis.
Q. Will Civitas Honors Program courses count toward my major?
A. As noted above, a Vocation Project (CIVT 395) can count toward the major in certain departments. Some CIVT 202-204 courses are cross-listed with individual departmental offerings and can count toward that departmental major for Civitas students. Recent examples include Biology 180/Civitas 202: Introduction to Environmental Science, and Journalism 290/History 290/Civitas 203: History of the American Press.
Q. Can I major in any discipline and be part of Civitas?
A. Typically, yes. With careful planning, even students in pre-professional majors with heavy course loads have completed the Civitas Honors Program.
Q. Will the Civitas Honors Program overwhelm me with extra work?
A. No. Civitas Honors Program classes are not simply standard courses with extra books and extra writing. The courses are stand-alone courses that emphasize quality over quantity. While Civitas courses are rigorous and challenging, they also allow time for careful reflection and meaningful discussion. They are designed to include innovative content, creative teaching strategies, critical thinking, generous faculty/student interaction and interdisciplinary foci.
Q. What courses will I take in the Civitas Honors Program?
A. Civitas Honors Program students begin in their first year by taking honors sections (labeled CV in the course catalog) of two required freshman courses — Religion 110 Exploring Christian Faith and English 200 The Literary Experience. They then take a sequence of four courses (CIVT 201-204) that speak to concepts drawn from theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s essay “The Structure of Responsible Life”: deputyship, pertinence, justice, and freedom. In their junior year, Civitas students begin planning an individual learning experience (their Vocation Project (CIVT 395)), which is usually completed late in their junior or early in their senior year.
Q: Is there a particular order in which I need to take the Civitas Honors Program sequence courses?
A: Ideally, CIVT 110, 200, and 201 (Reading Augustana) should be taken during the first year or first semester sophomore year. Beyond that, students may take CIVT 202, 203 and 204 in any order. If scheduling demands it, students may also take CIVT 201 later than one or some of the others in the sequence.
Q: What are the grade point requirements for the Civitas Honors Program?
A: Civitas Honors Program students are required to maintain an overall GPA of 3.0. If at the end of his/her first year a Civitas student has a GPA less than 3.0, he/she will be given a semester to improve their GPA. A GPA less than 3.0 any semester thereafter will constitute grounds for dismissal from the program.
Q: Are there other requirements for the program?
A: Civitas is an honors program based on the notion of citizenship. As such, we encourage students to be involved in as many aspects of college life as possible, whether in student organizations, residence hall leadership, volunteer activities on or off campus or other venues. We also expect students to be a good citizen of the Civitas Honors Program by participating in Civitas activities such as social events, meetings and presentations by outside speakers or fellow students.
Q: Who teaches Civitas Honors Program classes?
A: It is our belief that the best students deserve the best instructors. Many of the professors who teach Civitas Honors Program classes have received or been nominated for the college’s highest teaching awards. A number of those professors have also written books that are highly respected in their academic discipline. All Civitas courses are designed either to be team taught by professors from different disciplines or be augmented through guest lectures that can provide interdisciplinary topical expertise.
Q: Who runs the Civitas Honors Program?
A. The Civitas Honors Program is administered by a director and committee that includes three professors from the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as representatives from the offices of academic affairs and admission, library, registrar, and Chair of Moral Values.
Q: Whom do I contact if I have questions?
A. Dr. William Swart, professor of sociology and Civitas Honors Program director, can be reached via email or at 605.274.5329.