Thrive Together

Grow intellectually and spiritually with honors college faculty and students

July 9-29, 2017

The John Wesley Honors College (JWHC) invites rising high school juniors and seniors who aspire to Christ-centered academic excellence to join us on campus for a three-week immersion in a Christian liberal learning community. The 2017 Summer Scholars Program in Liberal Arts & Leadership gives students a glimpse into the special kind of academic experience the JWHC offers. Through coursework and enriching co-curricular opportunities, Summer Honors Scholars will explore and grapple with the big questions of human existence and develop a vision for servant leadership in community with Honors College faculty, staff, and students. Summer Honors Scholars will grow intellectually and spiritually in the midst of their holistic learning experiences. And ultimately, graduates of this intensive program will leave with an intimate understanding of the nature and purpose of a collegiate honors education and will be well-prepared to embrace their eventual college career as an expression of their kingdom-of-God calling.

The 2017 Summer Scholars Program in Liberal Arts and Leadership will be held on the Marion campus of Indiana Wesleyan University from July 9-29. Scholars who complete the program will earn four units of college credit (transferrable to any university) and are guaranteed an invitation to participate in the JWHC Interview Day and Scholarship Competition if they decide to apply for admission into the John Wesley Scholars Program.

Full-Tuition Scholarship
Scholars accepted into the program are only charged for room, board, and activities: $1,200. The cost of their honors coursework is covered by a full-tuition scholarship of $2,052 that is awarded to each accepted Scholar.

Exploring the "Big Questions"

Participants in the Summer Scholars Program in Liberal Arts and Leadership choose from a variety of academic options. Each Summer Honors Scholar could enroll in a 3 credit honors course based on his or her interests like these courses we have offered in the past:

Surprised by Joy: A Portrait of the Life, Thought, and Legacy of C.S. Lewis (3 credits)
One of the most beloved and influential Christian writers of the 20th century, C.S. Lewis continues to instruct, inspire, and enrich many, over half a century after his death. In this course, we will examine the life, thought, and legacy of this extraordinary “Mere Christian.” We will read a variety of texts, including biography, letters, sermons, apologetic works, and creative fiction, as we study Lewis in his historical context, and experience together how Lewis captures God's grandeur, grace, and love in his writings.

The Other Gospels: Orthodoxy and Heresy in Ancient Christianity (3 credits)
The historic Christian tradition settled on four canonical gospels as the authoritative witness to the Christian faith. But what should we make of the dozens of other "Christian" texts that circulated in the centuries immediately following the life of Christ such as the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Judas? This course will introduce students to the numerous extra-canonical texts as part of an exploration of how the Christian canon of Scripture developed and early Christians grappled with questions of heresy and orthodoxy (correct belief).

Psychology of the Exceptional Learner (3 credits)
Do you feel drawn to helping people – even if you’re not sure yet exactly what that will look like for you? In any work with people, we are forced to reckon with the concept of difference. What differences are simply the diversity that God intended among his people? Who gets to decide what is “normal” and what is “disordered”? How are we called to interact when what is simple and obvious to one is mysterious to another? In this course, students will learn about the characteristics and implications of thirteen categories of disability that may impact a person’s learning. More significantly, they will wrestle with questions of disability, neurodiversity, and justice in a world designed for the typical.

Summer Honors Scholars also enroll in a special course, Liberal Arts & Leadership Seminar (1 credit), that introduces them to the nature and significance of a Christian liberal education and the patterns of servant leadership such learning should inspire. Among other activities, this course will include dinner conversations with IWU's president, Dr. David Wright, about his book, How God Makes the World a Better Place; opportunities to interact with key community leaders about servant leadership; cultural events off campus; and mentoring in servant leadership and life calling by student leaders from the John Wesley Honors College and staff from IWU's School of Life Calling and Integrative Learning.

Summer Scholars Faculty
A distinguished group of honors professors, staff, and student leaders will lead Summer Scholars through their intensive coursework educational experiences both in the classroom and beyond. Honors faculty will engage students as master teachers and guide them on creative and integrative paths of learning. Honors College staff and student leaders will facilitate a dynamic and collaborative residential community that will challenge Summer Scholars to grow and develop as Christian thinkers and servant leaders.

Annastasia Bonczyk, Director of Summer Scholars (M.Div. Western Theological Seminary)
Ken Schenck, Professor of New Testament & Christian Ministry (Ph.D., University of Durham)
Mark Smith, Professor of History (Ph.D., University of Kentucky)
Sarah Jones, Assistant Professor of Special Education (Ph.D., Ball State University)
Julia VanderMolen, Coordinator of the Liberal Arts & Leadership Seminar (M.A. in Higher Education, Taylor University)

Summer Scholars Staff
Natalie Davis, Director of Summer Scholars (M.A. in Anthropology, Ball State University)
Brian Clark, Coordinator of the Liberal Arts & Leadership Seminar (M.Div., Princeton)

Summer Scholars' Testimonials

"Summer Scholars allowed me to engage in learning with many other eager students. It gave me the chance to explore the college environment and discover what I valued most in a college community. With its excellent professors and rigorous but enjoyable learning experiences, this program was a memorable opportunity to keep learning and discovering during the summer months.”
-Phillip Quinn, Summer Scholar 2013

"I absolutely loved the community that was created among the students in Summer Scholars. I came away from the program with several really close friends and a pretty solid idea that I was going to attend IWU the next fall. The practical experiences of living in a residence hall and taking a class were wonderful and really helped me to understand what college would be like. I learned a lot about my own learning style and how I needed to adapt to college life. I also discovered the Honors College and quickly realized that it was a learning community tailored to fit me! I would definitely recommend Summer Scholars to anyone who wants a taste of the college experience."
-Emily Stout, Summer Scholar 2013

"Despite being wary of going to a strange place full of strange people without any idea of how hard the classes would be, I had one of the best summers of my life. I thoroughly enjoyed the professors . . . they were fun and inviting, encouraging me to explore different points of view . . . I got to know what Indiana Wesleyan and their people believed in, and it solidified one of the best decisions I've ever made: returning to IWU as an honors college student. I wouldn't trade my experience in Summer Scholars for anything.”
-Olivia Anderson, Summer Scholar 2012

"Summer Scholars provided me with a wonderful example of college life in an environment that allowed for both spiritual and academic cultivation. During those weeks, I learned a great deal about what IWU has to offer, was able to practice the time management skill necessary for college life and develop lasting friendships that carried into my college career. Summer Scholars was truly a memorable experience.”
-Shiloh Hines, Summer Scholar 2012

Qualifications and Application Requirements

  • GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • Summer Scholars application and community values contract, including a letter of recommendation from a teacher.
  • An official high school transcript.
  • An essay of approximately 400 words answering the question, "How should Christians participate in God's work to make the world a better place?"
  • $50 application fee (applied to room and board cost or refunded to those not accepted).

Complete and submit an application by email to or by postal mail to the address given on the application.
E-mail or call 765-677-1441 for any questions.

Last updated: 10/21/2016