SAU Honors College

The SAU Honors College was founded in 2003 by Dr. David Rankin, president of SAU. Dr. Lynne Belcher served as founding director and recently retired from SAU. The Honors College seeks and admits qualified students who seek to pursue a serious academic program with equally gifted peers and committed teachers. Honors classes are small and provide academically enriching opportunities for students and the faculty who teach them. Currently, SAU enrolls over 175 honors students and graduates about 66% of admitees in four years or less. Anyone interested in applying to the Honors College or seeking further information should contact the director, Dr. Edward P. Kardas at or at 870 904-8897.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Faculty Information Fall 2015

SAU Honors College / 21 August 2015

How we recruit honors students:
From HC Web page (
We admit first-year and transfer students based upon a global assessment of academic potential. We examine ACT scores, high school GPA, required submitted essays, letters of recommendation and other relevant information. Current SAU students who have earned at least a 3.5 GPA may petition the Honors College for admission. Students transferring from affiliated Honors 2+2 programs (SAU Tech, SACC, and College of the Ouachitas, at present) must hold a minimum college GPA of 3.25. Also, they too must submit an online application, required essays, and letters of recommendation.
Honors Demographics
Honors students (N = 175) study in all four of SAU's Colleges. Most, however, will be found in Sci&Eng, followed closely by LPA, and more distantly by CoB, and CoE.
Honors FAQ
Are there separate honors courses?
Yes. Honors courses are either full honors or contract honors. In full honors, only honors students may enroll. Those classes are smaller and are taught differently. Please think about offering full honors classes in your department.
In contract courses, students contract with the instructor to elevate a regular class to honors level. For example, genetics students receive 23 and Me kits to analyze their own genome. Later, they report on their results to the class orally and in writing. Simply adding a research paper should be avoided. Projects that are interesting and engaging are best. Contracts for Spring 2016 must be finalized by Monday 7 December 2015
Do faculty get paid to teach honors courses?
No, but faculty will be allowed up to $300 per course to purchase materials or supplement travel expenses. On a case-by-case basis and by written request additional funds may be provided. (Note: faculty who taught honors prior to July 2009 may request a $300 stipend in lieu of expense money. Such funds are subject to normal payroll deductions.)
How many honors credits are required?
Honors students must take a minimum of 24 honors hours in order to graduate. A few students have taken over 50 honors hours. Nearly all graduate in four years or less.
What GPA is required to remain in the Honors College?
The minimum GPA to remain in the Honors College is 3.25. Students are given one semester to regain that GPA. They retain their honors status while on probation.
What about travel?
Thanks to recent SAU Foundation funding honors students have been able to travel in the US (Denver, New Orleans) and overseas (London, South Africa, and New Zealand).
What is the graduation rate?
About 66% of those admitted graduate with honors in four years or less. Nearly all admitted graduate eventually. A few transfer, fewer still fail to graduate.
May I donate to the Honors College?
Yes, through payroll deduction. Also, a major donor is sought to name the College.
Contact Information
Ed Kardas ( at Peace 109 or Nelson 200  x4231 (anytime)
David Wingfield ( Nelson 200, x4375 (afternoons 1 to 5)
Web page:           Blog:

The honorable Parnell Vann, mayor of Magnolia will be this year's speaker at the annual matriculation ceremony on Sep. 20 at 2 pm in Foundation Hall.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 2015 Honors College Graduates

Here are our graduates for May 2015

I was in a hurry and failed to compose the photo properly, but I did get everybody with two shots.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wingfield is Finalist for NCHC Award

David Wingfield and Deborah Wilson in the SAU Honors Office

Congratulations to David Wingfield for being named a finalist in the first annual NCHC Award for Administrative Excellence.

Here is the citation that accompanied his nomination:

David Wingfield, Southern Arkansas University – Finalist
“The SAU Honors College was founded in 2003 and David Wingfield has been its administrative assistant since the beginning. He has seen the Honors College grow from a small handful of students to a cohort that now exceeds six percent of our overall student body. David eased my transition as the second director by gentle suggestion and totally competent administration. It would be difficult to run the Honors College without him and impossible to replace him. Students call him "Dr. David" and he is always quick to respond to their requests and problems. He especially has a soft spot in his heart for international students whether they are in honors or not. On his own time, he has driven them to the airport, opened his home to them, and learned and prepared some of their own cuisine. We are only a two-person shop but he carries well more than his share. He is more than my right-hand man, he is the soul of our program.” –Edward Kardas, Southern Arkansas University

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Austin Taylor Earns Terry Award

Austin Taylor accepts the award for the Bob Terry Supplemental Instruction Scholarship from Mrs. Terry

Honors student Austin Taylor was recently awarded the Bob Terry Supplemental Instruction Scholarship.

According to the SAU Web page, this award is:

  • awarded to an outstanding SI leader each semester in honor of Dr. Bob Terry, retired professor of English, who started the SAU SI program in the early 1990s.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Early Registration for Honors Students

One of the advantages to joining the SAU Honors College is early registration.

Last week, Honors College staff registered most of its honors students for courses for the two Summer semesters and the Fall semester.

Honors students are invited to link to a Web page and to sign up for a five-minute appointment AFTER they consult their PACT-8 schedules and meet with advisors from their major field.

The Honors College does not advise students, but it does place them in the courses after they have consulted with their academic advisors.

Honors students complete the process quickly IF they remember to bring the Short ID for each  course. Honors staff, using the command-line version of POISE can then enter their courses quickly, in some cases in less than a minute.

The early registration process also serves another important function. It allows honors students the opportunity to meet with honors staff twice a year and to catch up with each other.

Friday, February 6, 2015

December Honors Grads

First row (L to R): Kody Kasper, Siye Lu, Taryn Sorsby; Second Row (L to R): Keifer Cooley, Emily Bowling, Sawyer Sams, President Rankin. Not pictured: Zachary Pinson

The Honors College graduated seven students in December. Six of them are pictured above, however Zachary Pinson left campus early to join the United States Air Force and could not be in the photo.

The students above never actually posed for the picture. Instead, they were individually photographed and later PhotoShopped into a composite by Lera Black. Dr. Rankin was also photographed and agreed to let us include him in the group shot as well.

Congratulations to our recent graduates! Good luck in the future and don't forget to support your dear old Honors College in the future.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Honors College Report

Honors College Report
3 December 2014

Activities and News:
  • The Honors College will graduate nine students in December
  • Three students, Casey O'Hara, Addison Ochs, and Kara O'Neal attended the annual meeting of the National Collegiate Honors Council in November. They presented their honors project: Building a Saltwater Aquarium.
  • Dr. Kardas also attended the meeting and presented a poster on the partnership with 
  • Last week Dr. Rankin paid his last visit as president to the Honors Seminar class. He spoke about the serendipitous moments in his career including his decision to found the Honors College. 
  • Honors College t-shirts are now available at $12 each. See or call David Wingfield, Nelson 200/x4375. 
  • The SAU Research Committee funded an Honors College proposal: Database for Honors Research. That project will collect published research in honors and store them on a database, served from the Honors College office, enabling scholars to more easily access research on honors education.
  • SAU enrollment in honors this fall was 213 students.