Dean’s Corner

Messages from the Dean

March 29th, 2020

Hello to the Honors Community,

I know this has been a tough few weeks as we have all adjusted to a new reality and grieve over the loss of many gatherings, events, milestones and celebrations that we had looked forward to this spring. I hope that you are all doing well in your transition to learning at a distance. Please know that the faculty and staff in the Honors College miss you terribly and want to encourage you to reach out to us with any concerns that you have or support that you need.

On the eve of Honors priority registration, I would like to call your attention to two new classes that we have added to the fall schedule. I would also like to give you some details about one of the colloquia and one of the Advanced Topics that have some prerequisites. Descriptions of these classes can be found on the Honors Hub under the Student Resources Honors Courses tab.

HONS 225-03 Identity, Conflict, and Cultural Exchange in the Early Modern Atlantic World (Professor Jennifer Cavalli)
MWF 12:00-12:50

HONS 230-01 Banned Books that Shape(d) the World (Professor Marjory Wentworth)
TR 1:40-2:55

Please note the change in time for the following course:
HONS 225-01 Designing Women: Perceptions, Reflections, and Self-Representation of the Western Female (Professor Jennifer Cavalli)
MW 2:00-3:15

COURSES WITH PREREQUISITES: Contact or to request enrollment
HONS 260-02 Algorithmic Music and Interaction  (Professor Bill Manaris)
MWF 12:30-1:20
Prerequisite(s): CSCI 220, or permission of instructor.

HONS 390-02 Honors Molecular Biology (Professor Renaud Geslain)
MWF 9:00-9:50
Prerequisite(s): BIOL 111/BIOL 111L or HONS 151/HONS 151L, BIOL 112/BIOL 112L or HONS 152/HONS 152L, BIOL 211/BIOL 211D and BIOL 305; one year of chemistry. CHEM 232 or HONS 293 can be substituted for BIOL 211 and BIOL 305.
Co-requisite(s) or Prerequisite(s): MATH 250 or equivalent course in statistics or permission of instructor. You can register for a non-honors lab to take concurrently. In that case, email Ms. Damaris Jones ( and let her know your student ID# and preferred lab section.

The Colloquia and Advanced Topics have a maximum enrollment of 15 students each – Dr. Ganaway will release seats gradually across the day.

If you have your eye on a 100-level Foundations class, you need to know that seats in these classes are reserved for our incoming students since they are not eligible for colloquia or advanced topics. If you have a strong case for needing to take one of them, contact Dr. Ganaway and he will let you know your chances.

Good luck with registration!

Dr. FB

November 11th, 2019

Dear Honors Students,

I’m writing to share some bittersweet news with you. After a great deal of soul searching, I have accepted an offer to become the next provost and vice-chancellor of academic affairs at the University of Virginia’s campus in Wise, Virginia. The thought of leaving the work that I love so dearly at CofC Honors is difficult to bear. However, as I often counsel honors students, sometimes you have to take tremendous risks to reach higher plains. I have experienced what many of you are in the midst of – intentional reflection to gain a deeper sense of self-awareness, attention to practical matters such as building a powerful resume and cover letter, and preparing for the interview process. Just as I have taught and guided so many of you, you have taught and guided me!

My appointment at UVa-Wise is effective July 1, 2020, which means that I will be with you as the Honors College Dean through June 2020. I’m grateful for this time to complete several important projects and to work on a plan for a smooth transition. In particular, I know that those of you have me as an advisor or mentor may be concerned about who will fill those roles when I am gone. Please be assured that I will be highly attentive to those details. For those of you who were hoping to seek my support in the form of letters of recommendation or advice about post-graduate plans, I will be available, even after I depart CofC, to support you toward those purposes.

It’s hard to believe that I came to the College of Charleston in 1990 as a member of the Psychology Department and that I started my work in the Honors College thirteen years ago. – that’s a long time in one spot! I have loved every minute of my time as your dean. You inspire me with your passion for learning, your creativity, your work ethic, and your concern for others. In my new role, I will have the opportunity to work with many first-generation college students from rural areas, particularly in the Appalachian region. Here, at CofC Honors, I have experienced the power of a diverse and engaged learning community. Our model of interdisciplinary, integrative and experiential learning is relevant in any context, and I will be proud to share our best practices with my colleagues and students at UVa-Wise.

I am grateful for eight more months at CofC, during which I look forward to spending quality time with students and faculty. We still have a lot of great work to do together! I’m proud of all of you and the impact you have on campus and in the community. Even after my departure, I will continue to celebrate your remarkable impact and impressive achievements.

I love the College of Charleston as if it were my alma mater and will always be a Cougar at heart!

Dr. Folds-Bennett

November 1st, 2019

Dear Honors College Students,

As we enter a new month and approach the final part of the fall semester, I have some important information to share with you.

PF Recruitment

Today (Friday) at noon is the deadline to apply to become a Beyond George Street Peer Facilitator for Fall 2020. Each year, the Honors College employs approximately 20 Honors students to serve as BGS PFs. I hope you’ll consider applying if you would like to contribute meaningfully to shaping the BGS curriculum and to making an impact on the experience of our first-year students. More details on the role and application process are available here.

Content and Community Manager Intern

We are currently seeking a CofC Honors student for our Content and Community manager internship for Spring 2020. The Content and Community Manager plays an essential role in maintaining the Honors Hub, sustaining engagement across all Honors College social platforms, and supporting various Honors College events and strategic initiatives. A complete job description can be found here. Interested students must fill out the application digitally and submit it to Chris Bailey via email at no later than noon on Monday, November 11th.

Cougar Scholarship Award System (CSAS)

Earlier this week you should have received an email introducing you to the Cougar Scholarship Award System (CSAS). I have pasted the email text below in case you missed it. Please read this information carefully to ensure that you are considered for donor-funded scholarships and/or to ensure that any donor-funded scholarships you may already have are renewed.

I encourage every CofC Honors student to log in to the system, ensure that their information is listed correctly, and to start applying for scholarship opportunities starting today.

If you are currently the recipient of a renewable Honors College named merit scholarship, you must have a current CSAS profile for your scholarship to renew for the next term or academic year.

The Honors College, like all other departments and schools, will start to use CSAS to collect scholarship applications and award scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year. If the Honors College has new scholarship funds to award to returning students (i.e. not incoming freshmen) for the 2020-2021 academic year, we will use CSAS in lieu of collecting the applications via email and OAKS dropbox submission as we have done in the past.

If you have general questions about CSAS, please contact If you have specific questions about Honors College named merit scholarships, please contact Chris Bailey at

Email sent on 10/29/19 from Office of Financial Assistance and Veterans Affairs:

We are excited to announce that the College of Charleston has improved the process by which you can apply for departmental scholarships!!

The College of Charleston has switched to an online scholarship awarding system called the Cougar Scholarship Awarding System (CSAS). CSAS will serve as the platform that you will use to apply for all privately funded scholarships. CSAS gives you access to all scholarships that are available to you through one easy application! To submit an application for scholarships from your particular department, you will need to log on to

Below, we have listed a few important tips for you to remember:

  • CSAS is how all departmental scholarships will be awarded for the 2020/2021 academic year.
  • Applications will open on November 1, 2019.
  • The CSAS portal can be accessed here:
  • You will need to make sure your student information is updated and that you have submitted your FAFSA (if applicable) for the 2020-2021 academic year. Student information can be accessed via MyCharleston under the Academic Services Tab and the Banner Self Service link.
  • This application is only for departmental and foundation-awarded scholarships.
  • If you are a current recipient of a renewable scholarship through your department, you will need to submit an application through the CSAS portal in order to renew that scholarship.

All best,

Dr. Folds-Bennett

October 11th, 2019

Dear Honors College Students,

It feels as if Fall has finally arrived. Academic advising is in full swing, and registration for spring courses is just around the corner. By now you should have met with your Honors Advisor, or at least made plans to do so. If you have not yet scheduled an advising appointment, please make arrangements as soon as possible. Remember that you cannot register for classes without having first met with your Honors Advisor and turned in your signed Honors advising form to the Honors Center main office. folds-bennett

Registration entry dates for Honors students can be found on the HUB.

Also on the HUB you’ll find descriptions of all of the Honors courses we plan to offer in the spring, broken down by category. I have heard from many of you that you are excited about the diversity of courses we are offering in the spring and that you want to take them ALL. That’s great, but please be aware that we have enough seats in courses for everyone to take at least one honors course. If you would like to take more than one, please wait until after Oct 31st to register for the second one. I’d like to make sure that everyone has a chance to enroll in an honors course of their choosing before we open the door to students taking multiple honors classes.

For freshmen, please note that you must have completed both HONS 110 and at least one Foundations course to register for an Exploring Complexity and Diversity course.

For students in the “old” curriculum, please note that the interdisciplinary courses are in the Colloquia category – any HONS 380, 381, or 382 will fulfill your interdisciplinary requirement.

We have several honors courses that have special feature, such as travel components or a  unique structure.  I have included a brief description of these courses below so you have all the information you need to prepare for registration in them.

HONS 301-01 Principles of Leadership (Professor Lee Higdon)
Professor Higdon is the former President of the College of Charleston, and has decades of leadership experience in both academia and the finance industry. This 2-credit course focuses on developing and applying effective leadership skills—students will complete guided personal reflections that integrate theory into an analysis of their own potential as effective leaders.
What to know: The course is categorized as a professional enrichment course, and the 2-credits count towards the 25 HONS credit hour requirement. Students must be sophomores or above and must be enrolled by the Honors College—anyone interested should contact for additional information.

HONS 380-01 Genetics and the Good Society (Professor Christopher Korey)
While the ability to store large amounts of genetic information in databases presents an opportunity for significant human health research discoveries, it should also make us pause to consider the implications of this technology in the context of how the information is used. This course will take an interdisciplinary look at all these issues, through the combined disciplinary lenses of Human Genetic Research and Disability Studies, to help us envision the place of genetic information and technology in a “good” society.

What to know: Students enrolled in this course will be eligible to participate in an optional sping break trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. For additional travel information, including cost, email Professor Korey at Please note: signing up for the travel component is not required to enroll in the course.

HONS 380-04/08 Philosophy Without Borders (Professors Sheridan Hough and Christian Coseru)
This course will focus on the metaphysical, moral, and social questions of what it means to be a person in our globalized world. What is the nature of reality? Is there a persistent soul or self at the heart of human nature? What is right or good, and what is the best way to live? By exploring questions like these and the philosophers who have addressed them (as well as their methods of inquiry and proposed solutions), the course will provide students with a variety of perspectives on the human situation.
What to know: The course is unique in that it consists of two sections of 15-students each. Both sections will meet together with both instructors on Monday and Wednesday. On Friday, the sections will meet separately for a more intimate group discussion. Because the sections will meet at separate times on Friday, pay attention to which section you enroll in. HONS 380-04 will meet Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 9:00 – 9:50 a.m., while HONS 380-08 will meet Monday/Wednesday from 9:00 – 9:50 a.m. and Friday from 10:00 – 10:50 a.m.

HONS 390-01 Honors Impact-X: Entrepreneurship (Professor David Wyman)
HONS 390-03 Honors Impact-X: Technology (Professor Christopher Starr)
These two courses are taught together as part of our first-ever Honors Impact-X coursework, designed to incubate technological, entrepreneurial, and creative activities. Professor Wyman’s Entrepreneurship course focuses on opportunity recognition, business model generation and lean startup, with students researching and developing a repeatable, scalable business model. In Professor Starr’s Technology course, students learn fundamental information technology concepts, processes, and tools that drive business innovations for startup and growth companies. Together, the courses expose students to experiential learning opportunities and provide foundational knowledge in technological entrepreneurship.
What to know: The courses are co-requisites, meaning students must enroll in both courses concurrently. You will not be able to enroll in one course without the other. Students who are interested should contact professor Lancie Affonso at for more information.

HONS 392-01 Voice and Memory: Exploring the Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement (Professors Marjory Wentworth and Trisha Folds-Bennett)
Individual and collective memory for specific events is the foundation for the telling and re-telling of those events. Why do some people remember events in one way and others in a completely different way? This class will explore the ways in which perspective, bias, beliefs, and values have shaped our nation’s understanding and memory of the civil rights movement and its impact on individual lives and society as a whole. Studying the theory and scope of social justice, students will learn through the voices of both historical and contemporary authors who have told the story of the civil rights movement. The class will also journey to Atlanta, Selma, Birmingham, and Montgomery in order to gain a new perspective on the experiences of the individuals who were at the epicenter of the movement.
What to know: All students enrolled in the course will participate in a spring break trip to several important civil rights landmarks in the southeast. Interested students are asked to contact Dr. Folds-Bennett ( for additional details, including travel information and projected costs.

All best,
Dr. FB

July 17th, 2019

Greetings from the Honors College!

We are excited that all of you will be in Charleston in just a few short weeks and especially look forward to welcoming 268 new students to the Honors community. We wish you a safe journey back to campus.

I want to make you aware now as you plan your schedules that the mandatory Honors Plenary will occur on Monday, August 19th. A plenary, by definition, is a “meeting of the whole.” The word derives from the Latin root plenarius,” which means “full” or “absolute”.  Often at academic or professional conferences, the opening session is called a plenary session.

At the Honors Plenary, we celebrate the beginning of the new year. More importantly, I will provide all essential information about our plans for the year, about Honors policies and requirements, and about a range of opportunities and activities that have been designed with your interests and needs in mind.

Freshmen and Sophomores (i.e., 1st and 2nd year honors students) will attend from 4-5pm
Juniors and Seniors (i.e., 3rd, 4th, 5th year honors students) will attend from 5-6pm

Both sessions will take place in the Silcox Gym (Corner of George and Meeting; entrance off George Street). The sessions are tailored to the needs of Freshmen-Sophomores and Juniors-Seniors, accordingly. Therefore, you must attend the session designated for your class.

This is a mandatory event for all Honors Students to stay in good standing and retain priority registration status and access to opportunities set aside exclusively for honors students. Furthermore, we will expect all honors students to be fully aware of the information we provide in the sessions, information essential to your navigation through the honors requirements and opportunities.

Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before your assigned time so that you may sign in and find a seat. With nearly 500 students in each session, we will have a packed house! Each session will last no longer than an hour.

I look forward to seeing you on campus and to working with you throughout this upcoming academic year.

Dr. Folds-Bennett


TFBGreetings from the Dean’s Office!

Welcome back to campus after the break. I hope you had a restful holiday and spent quality time with family and friends. I was glad to catch up on a little sleep!

As always, life is busy in the Honors College.  We have several particularly important new initiatives and critical deadlines that I wanted to call to your attention.

Curriculum Review – The Honors College Faculty Committee will undergo a thorough review of the Honors Curricular Requirements this spring. We need input from YOU! Please join us this Thursday, January 22, 7-9pm in Berry 104 for a Student “Fishbowl.” With Zach Sturman and Ryan Spraker as facilitators, students will brainstorm ideas for the Honors Curriculum and faculty will eavesdrop – we promise not to intervene, just to listen!  Food will be served!

Berry Residence Hall – We have had a successful first year in Berry Hall and look forward to building on this success next year.

**For those of you currently in Berry Hall, I hope you will choose to live with us again next year. You may choose to live in your same room/suite (even if on 3rd floor). The deadline for “re-upping” is January 30th.

**If you have lived elsewhere this year, as an honors student, you will have priority placement in Berry if you would like to live there next year. Please email if you would like to switch to Berry so I can make sure that Residence Life knows you have priority. The deadline to sign up for on-campus housing is February 28th.

**Live in Berry this summer! Our community is now year-round. If you would like to stay in Charleston this summer to do research, complete an internship, or work, you can live in Berry. The rate is $28 per day (double) or $32 per day (single).  This rate is much cheaper (and much more convenient) than subletting on the peninsula. Plus, we’re going to have fun! Cookouts, movie nights, puzzle contests, trips to the beach, etc. are just a few of the activities we have planned.

**I encourage all of you to consider being an RA in Berry next year. We have several openings. There will be an information meeting today (Jan 20) at 4pm in Berry 103. The application deadline for RAs is Feb 6th. Go to Residence Life’s website for application instructions.

Entrepreneurship Living-Learning Cohort – We have a new entrepreneurship initiative in our community! Starting in the fall, a group of upperclassmen and first year students to live together in an entrepreneurship cohort. Everyone will take a new Honors Entrepreneurship class, will have access to “idea lab” space, and will receive mentors. We are looking for students from all majors – computer science, business, science, humanities, social sciences. We need coders, business planners and IDEAS for new products and services!  If you are interested, please email

Summer Institute –  This summer we are very excited to announce that we will offer two interdisciplinary courses. The first, in Summer I, will be Public Health Law, taught by Professor James Hodge, Sandra Day O’Conner School of Law (and Honors College grad). The second, in Summer II, will be co-taught by Honors Alums Dr. Stephanie Wheeler (professor of Public Health, UNC-Chapel Hill) and Dr. Melissa Siegel (professor of Migration Studies, U Maastricht, The Netherlands). The course will be entitled “Global Perspectives on Poverty, Inequality and Vulnerability.”  We will also offer 1-2 basic honors in Summer II, although we have not decided yet what they will be.

Summer Enrichment Grants – The Honors College offers Summer Enrichment Grants on a competitive basis to students who are seeking academically challenging summer programs that align with their long-term goals. The grants range from $500-1000. We will release the applications for these grants on February 9th so stay tuned.

Honors College Scholarships – The Honors College offers scholarships to go toward the cost of attendance on a competitive basis. The call for applications will go out on February 9th.  The scholarship amounts range from $500-$2500/yr.


Trisha Folds-Bennett, PhD
Dean of the Honors College


As the fall semester gets under way in earnest, we welcome 215 new honors students to our “family” and the return of nearly 500 honors upper-level students. Compared to the relative quiet of summer, I always love the energy and sense of renewal that the fall semester brings. As always, honors students are abuzz with stories about their summer research, internships, study abroad, public service, and coursework. I wish there were more hours in the day to devote to hearing about all they have accomplished in such a short period. This time of year is always a reminder of why I love being a part of the Honors community.

Our new class of students is remarkable. They have travelled all over the globe, have accumulated impressive academic credentials, have served communities both near and far, and have displayed a wide range of talents and interests. I’m grateful that they have chosen to make CofC Honors their home for the next four years and look forward to working with each of them to realize their full potential.

We begin fall 2014 with great anticipation about several new initiatives. First and foremost, we have a new home! After the untimely demise of Rutledge-Rivers in fall 2013, we were given the option of moving to a new residence hall. We chose the Joe E. Berry Residence Hall, and it is beginning to feel like home. Thanks to the support of offices across campus – Offices of the President, Student Affairs, Business Affairs, Academic Affairs, Academic Experience, Admissions, and Physical Plant – Berry was refurbished this summer. The residential floors have wonderful gathering spaces, including fully stocked kitchens and TV lounges with 55-inch flatscreens. The 1st floor has an open floor plan with many areas for teams of students to study together and work together on creative and entrepreneurial projects. We also have a classroom and faculty/staff offices on the 1st floor and, for the first time, a student-managed art gallery.

Besides our new digs, we have many other exciting changes:

  • We welcome Beth Meyer-Bernstein, Associate Professor of Biology, as our Associate Dean. Dr. Meyer-Bernstein will bring to the Honors College her experience directing the Neuroscience Program and as a Principle Investigator on several federal grants. She will direct the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities program for the entire campus and specifically for Honors will oversee internships and other high-impact programs, the Medical Humanities program, and assessment. She will also serve as an honors faculty advisor for a cohort of honors students. Dr. Bernstein has already become an important and integral part of our team!
  • We are pleased to announce the continued growth of our mentorship program with several mentoring and leadership programs in development, including Pre-Law, SPECTRA, Medical Humanities, Social Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship, and Equipping Leaders. Current students should stay tuned via the HUB for announcements about these programs and how they might apply to participate.
  • We have spent a good bit of time this summer revamping our honors advising program. I’m happy to report that all honors students will be assigned to a specific faculty advisor related to honors who will offer comprehensive, 4-year support and mentorship to supplement departmental advising.
  • We have reframed and expanded our community engagement program, formerly known as the Literacy Outreach Initiative. The new program—“Honors Engaged”—is designed to provide current students with the tools and connections to have a positive and lasting impact on the Charleston community. All of our freshmen participate in the program and many of our upper level students continue to participate through leadership roles and ongoing commitments to the organizations with whom we partner. Nothing is more energizing than to witness our students working alongside members of the broader community to ensure that the long-term goals of effective programs and projects are actualized.
  • One of the most gratifying aspects of my job in the Honors College is to witness the success of our students. This year, we had honors students who received Goldwater, Udall, Fulbright, Fulbright Summer Institute, JET, DAAD, and Rotary awards. Over 90% of the students in our 2014 graduating class had completed an internship, nearly 60% had studied abroad, and more than half had either presented at a professional conference or published their research. Thirty-eight of our 107 seniors applied to graduate or professional school, and 87% were admitted. These students are headed to Emory, University of Virginia, Wake Forest, Duke, Utah State, Virginia Commonwealth, and MUSC.  We continue to hear from alumni who are currently in graduate or professional school at Yale, Oxford, UNC-CH, WFU, Victoria, Duke, and Johns Hopkins. CofC is a great place to be, and it is an excellent launching pad to future success as well.
  • We look forward to the launch of the Comprehensive Fundraising Campaign this fall. To date, the Honors College has had considerable success in securing funds for new scholarship programs thanks to the generosity of alumni, parents, and friends – the Swansons, the Huges, the Culhanes, the Hays, the DeWolfs, the Howells, the Permenters, the Pinckneys, the Webbs, and the Boykins have helped us to establish scholarships that have contributed to the recruitment of highly talented students and to the support of academic excellence for current students. I’m deeply grateful to these wonderful partners in our efforts to engage our very motivated, bright, and creative students.


For those of you who are reading this overview and thinking that you would like to be a student in the Honors College, a supporter of our scholarship, leadership, and mentoring programs, or a community partner, please do not hesitate to contact us by sending an email to We would be happy to talk with you about joining the “Honors Family!”


Trisha Folds-Bennett

Dean of the Honors College


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