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Honors Program

A Unique Approach to Accelerated Learning

TELOS is not like other honors programs. It’s not about harder classes or extra pressure. It’s not about your ACT score or GPA. And it’s not just a fancy line on your future resume.

TELOS is a holistic, customized program for motivated and intellectually curious students to work in and outside the classroom toward their highest purposes.

This program seeks to help you know yourself, your gifts and your potential to serve a world in need, professionally and personally.

How Does it Work?

TELOS is flexible. At Fontbonne, we pride ourselves on knowing our students—and on our students knowing themselves. TELOS allows students to express their individuality and customize the honors program to their needs in a way that benefits them. Most honors programs are difficult to make work with the busy schedules and diverse interests of students today. The flexibility of TELOS means that you don’t need to do these courses every semester; you can do them when it fits into your schedule and overall academic plan—even in the summer, if you choose.

Students may apply at any point up to the completion of 75 hours of college credit or, in the case of transfer students, within two semesters at Fontbonne. You can apply, or your professor or a staff member may nominate you. The application will ask about you, not your scores. What motivates you? What subjects engage you? Where are you seeking to stretch yourself? How do you see your interests serving the common good? We are looking for signs of intellectual curiosity and a willingness to participate in a community of other thinkers and questioners. TELOS is explicitly not a cookie-cutter program. One size does not—and should not—fit all.

Once you’re accepted, you’ll work with your academic advisor and with honors advisors to customize a program of study that excites you.

What Does TELOS Mean?

The TELOS program is focused on the experiences we think represent the best of a Fontbonne education: Transformation, Exploration, Leadership, Occupation, and Service and Social Justice.

Transformation refers to experiences or coursework related to personal, spiritual and/or creative growth (e.g., work with campus ministry or the sisters of St. Joseph, that creative writing class you’ve always wanted to try, crafting a Janus seminar to help incoming students navigate Fontbonne).

Exploration refers to experiences or coursework outside your academic major or general education requirements—experiences that give breadth to your education (e.g., study abroad, completion of a minor or certificate in another field, additional honors interdisciplinary seminars).

Leadership means more than being out in front of a crowd; it means understanding your personal modes of influence and effectiveness. You can fulfill your leadership category in a variety of ways, from participating in the Quest leadership program or the STARS peer listening program to coursework to working with the Enactus organization in business and far beyond.

Occupation allows you to deepen your engagement with your major field, by doing undergraduate research with a faculty member, going a little deeper in a class for your major, or gaining professional experience not required for the major, to name just a few.

Finally, Service and Social Justice allows you to apply your work to a world in need, whether through volunteerism, social activism, or coursework that deepens your understanding of social movements and change.

Opportunities for TELOS Students

  • Participation in a community of scholarship and curiosity
  • Opportunities to do deeper work with faculty in the student’s major, thus better preparing the student for future opportunities
  • Opportunities to complete select general education courses in honors sections
  • Opportunities for off-campus activities and social events
  • Professional networking and career development opportunities reserved for TELOS students
  • Practice applying one’s ideas and work to a wider community of thinkers
  • Access to honors lounge in Ryan 310
  • Opportunities for reflection and growth outside a strict academic sense
  • Recognition as a TELOS Scholar at graduation

Tell Your Story

In addition, you’ll enroll in at least 9 hours of honors coursework, including at least two interdisciplinary seminars—on wide-ranging topics that cut across the lines of typical academic departments and that have broad relevance and appeal. Recent seminars have included courses on the environment and conservation health, the Ferguson conflicts, portrayals of disability in media, and more. In your senior year, you’ll enroll in a 1-credit portfolio course, and your senior capstone experience will meet your academic department’s criteria for awarding of “honors.”

Finally, you’ll participate in the active life of the TELOS program — engaging with cultural and social opportunities as well as important networking opportunities on and off campus. We’ll have mid-term and final exam study halls fueled by donuts, coffee, and pizza in our new honors lounge.  An active student honors council will help to co-create standards for the portfolio as well as generate ideas for activities and events.

We will have yearly showcases in which we share and discuss our work, not only with one another but with wider audiences. Working with our Advancement and Career Counseling offices, TELOS also offers a variety of networking events that will help you make professional connections.

These activities are an important part of getting to know who you are, what matters to you, and how you can communicate those things with confidence and clarity as you move through Fontbonne and beyond — because ultimately, TELOS is about you. Your story matters; we want to help you tell it.

The TELOS Team

Matt Nelson

Director of TELOS Program

Academic Writing Support Coordinator

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