The Media James Scholar Experience

Media’s program is structured to enhance students’ academic learning and utilize their talents regardless of career trajectory. The Honors experiences offered encourage our James Scholars to develop skills in:

  • Leadership
  • Research or Honors coursework
  • Service learning and global studies
  • Professional development

Why these skills? Quite simply, the College of Media has a strong commitment to these areas. They address universal competencies for society and the workplace and adopt challenges and needs associated with the career world. The options within each area include existing programs and resources available on campus and in the community. You may learn more about becoming a James Scholar, requirements for remaining in the program, and our Honors activities by exploring the Student Procedures and Honors Credit Learning Agreement forms. Current Media students should consult with their academic advisor if questions remain.

Eligibility

Media does not have a self-nomination process for becoming a James Scholar. Rather, eligible students will be contacted directly regarding an invitation to join the program. Students must notify the Honors Dean of acceptance or denial of the offer by the date specified in the notification letter.

Those eligible to join the program include:

  • Current Media students who have been recertified as James Scholar
  • Current Media students who make a spring term Dean’s List, have at least a 3.5 overall GPA, and who are not entering their senior year
  • Students transferring into Media from another college on campus who were certified as James Scholar by their previous college
  • Approximately the top 20% of Media’s incoming freshmen class
    • The top 20% is based on an evaluation of the admissions application including a student’s ACT/SAT scores, high school GPA, application essay, and involvement related to the student's major
    • All admitted freshmen are automatically considered
  • Off-campus transfers into Media with at least a 3.75 transfer GPA may request to join the program upon admission
Student Procedures

Please download and review the complete James Scholar Procedures manual to better understand requirements for Media’s James Scholar program. More specific information on remaining a James Scholar, studying abroad as a James Scholar, graduating as a James Scholar, choosing an Honors option, etc. is explained within the manual.

Students have been made aware of all requirements for remaining in the James Scholar program by nature of their publication. It is each student’s responsibility to read and understand all requirements for remaining in the program. Citing ignorance of the rules will not be considered sufficient justification for an appeal of being dropped from the program. Students should contact their academic advisor if questions remain after reviewing the procedures.

Honors Credit Form

Regardless of the Honors option a student is completing during a fall or spring term, all students must submit an Honors Credit Learning Agreement (HCLA) form to 18 Gregory Hall indicating the chosen option for the term. Deadlines are listed for each option on the HCLA form and should be reviewed at the start of each term as deadlines are firm and extensions are rarely granted. Each option listed on the form also includes: space for additional information and/or paperwork, if any, that is required; notation as to if the option is repeatable for Honors credit; and which options are noted on a student’s transcript.

Faculty Procedures

One of the most common Honors options for College of Media James Scholars is the ability to turn a traditional course into an Honors course via completing an additional project within the confines of a course. While James Scholars may complete Honors projects within any of their three credit hour classes, many may choose to pursue a project within one of their major courses. If a student approaches you about completing an Honors project in one of your courses, here are some points to keep in mind. In addition, you may wish to review the full Faculty Procedures for additional guidelines

  • Students are asking to work with you in order to build a more individual relationship with and to learn from you; be prepared to put in extra one-on-one time with this student
  • Students must be completing extraordinary work in your course in order for it to qualify as an Honors course; please encourage them to do so
  • Help them think “outside the box” when writing an honors proposal with your student
    • Expect work fitting of an Honors student
    • Consider their skill sets and help them build upon them
    • Choose a project that will help a student add to a portfolio or resume
  • Consider an Honors group project if several students in your class are interested in completing a project with you
  • Students are expected to bring a project idea to you as the professor. However, work with the student to mold the project into something that is meaningful and appropriate to your course. Write up the official proposal together.
    • A student should spend about 15 hours throughout the semester on this project 
  • If a student successfully completes the project, you will need to assign an “H” grade along with their traditional letter grade at the time of grade entry (ex. “AH”, “B+H”)
    • It is solely the professor’s judgement as to whether or not honors credit has been earned
    • A student must earn at least a “B-“ in your course in order to be eligible for the additional “H” grade

Honors Credit Form

Regardless of the Honors option a student is completing during a fall or spring term, all students must submit an Honors Credit Learning Agreement (HCLA) form to 18 Gregory Hall indicating the chosen option for the term. Deadlines are listed for each option on the HCLA form and should be reviewed at the start of each term as deadlines are firm and extensions are rarely granted. Each option listed on the form also includes: additional information and/or paperwork, if any, that is required; notation as to if the option is repeatable for Honors credit; and which options are noted on a student’s transcript.

Honors Options

Media is committed to helping our students develop both academically and professionally utilizing campus resources revolving around professional development, service learning, leadership, and research. As such, a list of Honors options has been created to allow each Media James Scholar the opportunity to work toward these attributes. Options include programs and resources available on campus and in the local community while taking into consideration James Scholar principles of academic supervision, one-on-one interaction with an Illinois professor or staff member, and a minimum of 15 hours of project work.

Media James Scholars must complete at least one Honors option each academic year. Some available options include:

Participating in the Undergrad Research Symposium upon completing research with a University professor Completing an Honors project within a traditional semester-long course
  • All options are explained in more detail within the Student Procedures. When reviewing options, note the stated deadlines as these are strictly enforced. In addition, only options listed as “repeatable” within the procedures may be taken for Honors credit more than once.
  • Attending Media’s James Scholar Spring Break trip abroad
  • Taking an academic leadership course
  • Completing a semester-long internship (during the fall or spring semesters only)
Remaining a James Scholar

James Scholar reviews take place only once a year in the College of Media. Each summer, James Scholars are reviewed to make sure they are meeting the current program requirements. In order to remain in the program and be certified for the upcoming school year, students must:

  • Maintain on-campus semester and Illinois cumulative GPAs of 3.5 or higher
  • Complete a minimum of 14 graded credit hours each fall and spring on the Illinois campus
    • Winter term and Summer courses do not count in this total
  • Complete at least one Honors option/project each academic year (see "Honors Options" section above)
    • A minimum of  four must be completed by the fall term of a student's graduation year in order to graduate as a James Scholar

Please note: Coursework taken at Parkland College or another institution during the fall or spring does NOT count toward either the GPA or the 14 graded hour requirement.

All requirements must be completed in order to continue in the James Scholar program for the next academic year. Students who do not meet these requirements will be notified at the conclusion of the summer review period that their status has been lost.