Honors at Houghton: Scholastica

Every year, excellent students transfer to Houghton College after a year or two of college elsewhere. Others come to Houghton right away but for various reasons do not participate in one of our first-year tracks. Houghton now has an honors experience tailored for these students: Scholastica.

Like our tracks for first-year students, Scholastica is intense and interdisciplinary, taught by a team of dedicated faculty. Comprising six credit hours—smaller than our first-year tracks—Scholastica is perfect for students who have only two or three years of coursework remaining. It satisfies graduation requirements in Bible and Theology that most transfer students have not yet completed when they arrive, and it does so in one course, not two. Students who participate enrich their Houghton experience not only by taking on the challenge of honors coursework and seeing how scripture, theology, and history interact, but also by forming close connections with professors and a cohort of students they see every day.

Course highlights:

  • Study different approaches to scripture that God’s people have followed over time, and set them in their historical context.
  • Develop a richer understanding of the Bible and its relationship to theology. 
  • Satisfy general education coursework in an advanced, interdisciplinary setting. 
  • Experience small classes taught by dedicated, Christ-centered professors. 
  • Build a solid foundation for future study in any discipline.

Sample course questions:

  • How do we understand the larger story of scripture and Christian history in the 21st century?
  • How have theology and scriptural interpretation been affected by history?
  • How can we engage openly and civilly with those who have divergent theological views?

Selection of texts, in addition to the Bible:

  • Karlfried Froelich, Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church
  • William Yarchin, A History of Biblical Interpretation
  • Robert W. Jenson, Canon and Creed

Eligibility and qualifications:

  • A minimum of 28 credit hours earned by the beginning of the fall term.
    • For transfer students: credits must be transferrable and earned prior to the start of the course.
    • For current Houghton students: those who have not participated in a first-year honors experience are eligible for consideration.
  • Evidence of strong academic potential and a commitment to academic excellence.
  • Completion of Scholastica application, including a professor’s recommendation, writing sample, and personal statement.

Scholastica faculty:

Sarah B.C. Derck, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Old Testament

Sarah Derck joined the Houghton faculty in 2013, after completing her Ph.D. thesis on the topic, 'Barrenness Beyond the Narratives: An Examination of Barrenness as a Symbol of God's (Dis)Favour in Hebrew Scripture'. In addition to revising her thesis for publication, she is writing two commentaries for the New Beacon Bible Commentary series, on Ruth and Song of Songs. Derck is also an adjunct faculty member at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City. She loves to preach and has served as both a college chaplain and an associate pastor in an urban church plant in Manchester, England. Her particular areas of research and teaching interest include wisdom literature and the Megillot.


Jonathan Case, Ph.D.
Professor of Theology

Jonathan Case came to Houghton College in 2005 after serving for several years as Lecturer in Theological Studies at Kingsley College, Melbourne (Australia). He also has taught intensives in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and the Russian Federation.  Prior to his appointment in Australia, Case taught at Augsburg College (Minneapolis), worked as a research associate at Church Innovations Institute (St. Paul) and served as a pastor in Oklahoma. His teaching and research focuses on Christian theology, world religions, and contemporary culture. He has published in Crucible, Word and World, Dialog, Journal of Christian Theological Research and Aldersgate Papers, and he speaks frequently at conferences throughout the country. His forthcoming book is titled Around the Table: Talking Graciously About God.

After Scholastica:

  • Students are eligible to participate in continued honors seminars in subsequent semesters.
  • Students have the option to propose an honors thesis in their major.

Feedback from Students:

“I learned so much about the Bible and about theology, and had to wrestle with questions I’d never considered before.” 

“I loved the NYC trip; it was a great bonding experience for the class.” 

“I really enjoyed going to the museums with our professors, especially because of the wealth of knowledge they imparted as we looked at different exhibits.  They were the best built-in tour guides.  I also appreciated the free time that was built in as well as our trip to Broadway.” 

“I thought I was reasonably familiar with the Bible, but I know so much more now about the Bible and its context, and about the early church and its growth into the modern church.”

More information:

For incoming transfer students:

Rebekah Smith
Transfer Admission Counselor
rebekah.smith@houghton.edu

For current Houghton students:

Prof. Benjamin Lipscomb
Director, Honors at Houghton
honors@houghton.edu

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