SAC Honors Academy Program

About the Honors Academy Program

English Professor Gilliam “Mike” Burton was the first coordinator of the San Antonio College Presidential Honors Program – later renamed the Raul S, Murguia Presidential Honors Program – and held that position from 1989 to 2011. The foundation of the Program owes much to Professor Burton’s leadership. Graduates of the Program under his supervision were accepted to upper division and graduate institutions such as Amherst College, Boston College, Boston University, Columbia, Cornell, U.C. at Berkeley, SMU, Notre Dame, the College of Santa Fe, NYU, Stanford University, The University of Central Oklahoma, The University of Turabo in Puerto Rico, and most public and private Texas universities. Many of these graduates have acknowledged their indebtedness to the Honors Program, especially Professor Burton. 

In 2011, under the supervision of History Professor Dr. Jon Lee the Program was renamed the Honors Academy Program. Dr. Lee held that position until 2016. Psychology Professor Dehlia Wallis served as coordinator from 2016-2018. Professor Wallis and History Professor Dr. Erik Anderson served as co-coordinators from 2018-2019. English Professor Laurie Lopez Coleman serves as the current Director of the Program.

The SAC Honors Academy Program offers college courses in core subjects that every student will need for a bachelor's degree in Texas. Dedicated professors and an embedded advisor work one-on-one with students and guide them through academic, transfer and career goals. Honors Academy Program students receive a first-rate college experience during their first two years at a fraction of the cost of a four-year college or university.


The Honors Academy Program is committed to supporting student success through engagement, completion, and graduation/transfer.


The San Antonio College Honors Academy was selected as a finalist for the 2020 Examples of Excelencia awardan honor bestowed by Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority on efforts accelerating Latino student success in higher education. Every year, Examples of Excelencia begins with a national call for nominations encouraging individuals and programs to share initiatives accelerating Latino student success in higher education. Excelencia in Education reviews all program profiles of those intentionally serving Latino students and, this year, identified 20 finalists using rigorous criteria. Finalists identified in each of four categories—associate, baccalaureate, graduate, and community-based organizations—are presented to a national selection committee composed of higher education leaders, grantmakers, and stakeholders. The committee assesses the strength of innovative, intentional, culturally relevant, and effective high-impact practices tailored to Latino students and their communities to select the four Examples of Excelencia.  


The Honors Academy Program is open to high school graduates, Travis Early College High School sophomores, or college freshmen with less than 21 hours of college credits in the Core. Students must be pursuing an associate's degree requiring at least 12 hours in the Texas Core Curriculum. High school graduates must have a minimum of 3.25 GPA (85/B) and TSIA 2.0 college placement scores at college-level in Writing and Reading with a minimum of 5 on the essay. College freshmen must have a minimum 3.25 GPA. Individual exceptions to these requirements are made on a case-by-case basis. Interested students should apply to have their applications reviewed.

Once admitted, Honors Academy students must maintain at least a 2.75 GPA, pass all attempted courses with a C or better, meet all academic advising benchmarks, and be in good standing with the College. To graduate from the SAC Honors Academy, students must meet the aforementioned requirements and the specific requirements explained below within the "Levels of Your Honors Experience."

Equity Statement

The Honors Academy Program supports and values equitable education by promoting non-discriminatory practices, considering the full range of human diversity with respect for all forms of human difference. 

Honors Academy Program Student Learning Outcomes

1. Students will demonstrate active engagement in the Honors Academy.

2. Students will complete one of the three levels of the Honors Academy experience: Gold, Silver, or Bronze.

3. Students will graduate and/or transfer and earn a degree.

Honors Academy Student Learning Outcomes

Each course in Honors will have the following set of Honors Student Learning Outcomes, measured by the Honors Assignment. 

1.Students will articulate a central message to an audience
a. Clearly developed thesis
b. Appropriate delivery
c. Well-supported position
2.Students will demonstrate engagement in thoughtful self-reflection
a. Portfolio submission
b. Journal Entry
c. Goal Setting
3.Students will plan and organize collaboratively
a. Work together in a group/team
b. Successfully complete tasks in a group/team
4.Students will demonstrate the significance and relevance of ideas and concepts through a cultural lens.
a. Application of theory to practice
b. Explaining issues
c. Problem solving
5.Students will analyze sources and/or evidence at a critical level.
a. Appropriate evidence and / or sources gathered
b. Draw conclusions

We accept applications year-round. Click on the application link below to apply

Honors Academy Application

If you are a 4-year institution with an Honors program/college, please email us to discuss transfer opportunities for our students to your campus.

The Honors Academy Program provides the following student opportunities:

Student Spotlight

Our recent graduate Allis Orzonia was accepted to Yale University for Fall 2021. She received a financial award that covers all tuition for her degree with a housing stipend. She has been admitted into the Eli Whitney Nontraditional Students Program and will be studying in the History of Science, Medicine and Public Health Program with the intention of pursuing a (+1) Master's in Public Health. Read more about her story at .
Congratulations, Allis! We are all so proud of you and the influential leader you are becoming. We know that you have much more success in your future. Remember, it all started at SAC!

Why join the Honors Academy?
  1. The Honors Academy learning environment facilitates, motivates and nurtures a drive for academic challenge through a sense of belonging.

  2. Honors students receive personalized mentorship, experiential learning, undergraduate research, and Capstone assignments similar to a four-year college/university experience for a fraction of the cost of attending such an institution.

  3. Honors Academy courses are not harder, do not include more exams, and are not designed to negatively impact a student's GPA. Our courses provide students enhanced learning of course content.

  4. Honors Academy students who complete our Program at the Silver and Gold levels are recognized as a "SAC Honors Academy Graduate" at SAC Commencement and on their official transcripts.
  5. There is no cost to participate.
Early Registration

Students are eligible for early registration of classes before the course schedule opens. In coordination with our academic advisor, students can select their courses during the course schedule preview days.

Academic Advising

Students can meet and discuss their degree plan, transfer plan, academic progress and scholarship opportunities with academic advisors working closely with the Honors Academy.

Acceptance to University Honors Colleges

Students who complete the SAC Honors Academy Program with distinction are eligible for automatic acceptance to Honors Colleges at UTSA, University of North Texas  and Texas State Honors College. (Pending agreement with Texas A & M San Antonio).   

Recent Graduates

List of Recent Honors Academy Graduates

Access to Honors Academy Center

The Honors Academy Center is open 8 am - 4 pm, Monday through Thursday for student use. Multiple PC and iMac computers are connected to a GoPrint printer. A kitchenette includes a refrigerator, microwave and single-serve coffee maker. A lounge area with comfortable chairs and sofas is also available. Social hour from 12:30-1:30 pm is set aside for games and camaraderie. On select Wednesdays from 2-3 pm, invited guests to lead Relatable Interest Group (RING) sessions on a topic of interest, such as transfer, scholarships, financial literacy, community service, or career exploration. Designated Honors Activities are hosted by the Honors Academy and take place in the Center. 



Levels of Your Honors Experience

Students can experience the Program within the following levels:

Bronze--successfully complete four Honors Academy courses and submit a Student Honors Portfolio through the eLumen system.

Silver--successfully complete five or more Honors Academy courses, submit a Student Honors Portfolio through the eLumen system, complete 10 or more experiential service learning hours to the campus and/or community, and participate in 2 Designated Activities in the Honors Academy. 

Gold--successfully complete five or more Honors Academy courses, a Student Honors Portfolio through the eLumen system, complete 10 or more experiential service learning hours to the campus and/or community, participate in 4 Designated Activities in the Honors Academy and deliver a Capstone Presentation.

Students who experience the Program at the Silver and Gold levels will be recognized at an end-of-semester ceremony, receive blue Honors Academy cords to be worn at SAC Commencement, and will be recognized as a "SAC Honors Academy Graduate" at Commencement and on their official transcripts.

Honors Academy Recognition Ceremony 2019  

Experiential Learning (EL)

Experiential Learning (EL) is hands-on learning that involves a real-world-problem-solving process. EL encourages students to synthesize and analyze information through critical thinking as a result of teamwork, communication and research. Students encounter concrete experiences and develop methods or solutions to difficult problems and/or controversies. Students complete a set number of hours, document participation, and provide a reflection of their experiences in the Student Honors Portfolio. EL hours must be completed to earn Silver or Gold levels of distinction.

Designated Activities

Designated Activities are hosted by the Honors Academy and held in the Center. Transfer / scholarship / financial aid workshops and presentations on topics of interest will be offered throughout the semester to support student success. Most of these activities are scheduled on Wednesdays during the Relatable Interest Groups (RiNG) sessions from 2:00-3:00 pm. For Silver and Gold levels of distinction, students must attend a specific number of designated activities. 

Student Honors Portfolio

Our program uses eLumen ePortfolio for students to electronically collect their work over time, reflect upon their personal and academic growth and share selected content with others, such as professors, advisors, and potential employers. To complete the Program at the Bronze, Silver, or Gold levels of distinction, students must maintain a Student Honors Portfolio.

Honors Assignments

Each Honors Academy faculty designs a specific Honors assignment that aligns to the Honors Student Learning Outcomes. Faculty create a task or combination of tasks for specific content that is measurably broader, deeper, and more complex than what would typically be covered in their course. The Honors Assignment is not an extra assignment in the Honors course but a learning-centered and learner-directed experience for students. The Honors Assignment is reviewed by our Curriculum Committee and Assessment Validation Committee for alignment to our Honors Student Learning Outcomes. Students who wish to complete the Honors Academy Program with Gold Distinction will be required to choose one Honors Assignment to present at the Honors Academy Capstone Presentation in their final semester. The Capstone Presentation Coach contacts students regarding their presentation at the beginning of their final semester. 

Capstone Presentation

If the student is working toward Gold level of distinction, they must complete a Capstone Presentation. During one of the last two semesters before graduation a student will select, develop, and prepare an oral presentation on an Honors assignment from a course taken while in the Honors Academy. The student will deliver the presentation to a group of faculty on a scheduled date during Week 12 or Week 15 of the semester.

Faculty Availability in the Center

Faculty teaching in the Program may schedule office hours in the Center throughout the week, based on safety protocols. 


Writing-Intensive Courses

Faculty develop their course curriculum to incorporate writing practice. Writing activities give students opportunities to both improve their compositional skills and deepen their learning through frequent writing assignments. Meaningful and timely faculty feedback support students’ writing development.

Common Reads

Faculty teaching the English courses select a common read non-fiction text in ENGL 1301 and a fiction text for ENGL 1302 each semester.  

Fall 2021, our ENGL 1301 students will participate in this year's Library Common Read The War for Kindness by Jamil Zaki.

Previous Honors Academy common reads were the following: The Moth Presents Occasional Magic: True Stories About Defying the Impossible, Hot, Flat and Crowded, Between the World and Me, The Case Against Sugar, World without Mind, A Place to Stand, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Merchants of Doubt, The Far Away Brothers and The Handmaid's Tale.

Leadership Development

Through the Student Organization for the Honors Academy Program (SOHAP), students can serve as any of the five officer positions. Students have an opportunity to exercise leadership, effective communication and interpersonal skills essential to their professional growth.

Undergraduate Research
According to the American Association for Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), the "goal of undergraduate research is to involve students with actively contested questions, empirical observation, cutting-edge technologies, and the sense of excitement that comes from working to answer important questions." Faculty in our Program embed research opportunities in their courses, most notably within the Capstone projects.
Service Learning/Community-Based Learning

We coordinate with on and off-campus partners to arrange direct community service experiences for our students. These opportunities expose students to issues they are studying in the curriculum and with agencies doing meaningful work in the community. Some opportunities may include job placement within these agencies. Students develop a commitment to giving back to the community as an important preparation for citizenship, career and life.

Professor-Led Study Sessions

Honors Academy Program faculty schedule specific study sessions in the Center to support student learning.

Guest Speakers

Local and national authors / educators are brought into the Center for presentations as extended opportunities for thought and discussion of important issues.

Off-Campus Excursions

Periodically, faculty will arrange for group outings to local landmarks, such as the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Witte Museum or the Missions National Historical Park. In addition, local university group tours are organized for interested students preparing for transfer.

Learning Communities

Collaborative partnerships through two or more linked classes are led by faculty to encourage integration of the curriculum across multiple disciplines. Faculty partners establish academic and social support networks while exploring a common topic and / or common readings through discipline-specific integrated assignments.

Why considering EQUITY in our Program is important

Our Program takes into consideration the AAC&U recommendations on Equity-Mindedness:

“Equity-minded practices are created through a
1. willingness to look at student outcomes and disparities at all educational levels disaggregated by race and ethnicity as well as socioeconomic status.
2. recognition that individual students are not responsible for the unequal outcomes of groups that have historically experienced discrimination and marginalization in the United States.
3. respect for the aspirations and struggles of students who are not well served by the current educational system.
4. belief in the fairness of allocating additional college and community resources to students who have greater needs due to the systemic shortcomings of our educational system in providing for them.
5. recognition that the elimination of entrenched biases, stereotypes, and discrimination in institutions of higher education requires intentional critical deconstruction of structures, policies, practices, norms, and values assumed to be race neutral.”

Source: AAC&U. Step Up and Lead for Equity: What Higher Education Can Do to Reverse Our Deepening Divides. 15 Apr. 2015.

Course Schedule

Spring 2022 Honors Academy Class Schedule
Last updated 10/18/21
All course offerings are subject to change during the enrollment management period.

Spring 2022
All courses 16-week


PHIL 1301 Whitworth

PSYC 2314 Wallis

Face-to-Face On-Campus


Monday / Wednesday

Tuesday / Thursday

9:25 AM - 10:40 AM


ENGL 1302 Portales

10:50 AM - 12:05 PM


GOVT 2306 Martinez

12:15- 1:30 PM


HIST 1301 Serafine


1:40 - 2:55 PM

ENGL 1302 Davis

PSYC 2301 Bunch

NOTE: Courses using IM Direct Instructional Materials: ENGL 1302, PSYC 2301, and PSYC 2314.


Meet with Honors Advisor

Need to meet with the Honors Academy advisor?  

Once you have been accepted into the Program, you can schedule an appointment:
1. Log in to your ACES Account
2. Click on the “Start Here” tab
3. Select the “Alamo NAVIGATE” icon
4. Click “Login”
5. Select the “Appointments” tab on the left hand side
6. Select “Schedule an Appointment”
7. Select the Reason for your appointment and hit Next
8. Select the Location and hit Next
9. Select the Day and Time that works for you and hit Next
10. Review the selection and confirm your appointment
If you send any ACES emails to your advisor, please remember to include your student Banner ID in your correspondences.

Scheduled appointments = 30 minutes 
Walk-ins = 15 minutes



This is a partial list of scholarships we have identified.

  1. Alamo Colleges Foundation Scholarships
    The Alamo Foundation Scholarship is a one-time application that enables you to apply for more than 80 campus-wide scholarships for which you may qualify–including the Honors Academy Program Scholarship. Priority Deadline: April 5, 2021. Final Deadline Sept. 5, 2021.
  1. UTSA Distinguished Transfer Scholarship
    Non-resident and international students are awarded the Distinguished Transfer Scholarship for a minimum of $1,000.00 for the academic year and will be granted a waiver for non-resident tuition if scholarship eligibility is maintained.

  2. UTSA Honors College Scholarships

  3. UT Transfer Scholarships
    If you are process of transferring to UT Austin, complete a scholarship application.

  4. A&M Transfer Scholarships
    If you are in the process of transferring to Texas A&M, College Station, complete a scholarship application.

  5. Terry Foundation Transfer Scholarship
    The Terry Transfer Scholarship is awarded to non-traditional students who are transferring from a Texas community college or university and are working toward their first baccalaureate degree.
  6. Phi Theta Kappa Student Organization Transfer Scholarship
    There are many scholarship options for PTK members.
    Have questions? Ask Dr. Jim Lucchelli, faculty sponsor
  7. Café College
    Many scholarships are identified on its webpage.
  8. San Antonio Area Foundation
    More than 90 funds offer scholarships to students pursuing their educational dreams.

  9. MALDEF Scholarship Resource Guide
    A useful resource, especially for DACA students.

    Additional Scholarship Websites:


Transfer Resources

Transfer Plans to Local Universities
Review this page to stay informed about courses that are part of your degree plan at the university.

Transfer Equivalency Tool
Compare current coursework to coursework at prospective colleges and universities.

Research Majors and Careers

Begin a new ApplyTX to initiate the transfer process.

Professional Opportunities

We have partnered with universities and agencies in the community who want to collaborate with our students through academic research or hands on experiences. Some academic conference participation can lead to transfer scholarships. Some community service positions can lead to internships (paid and unpaid), full-time positions or career exploration. 

UTSA Mellon Research Conference

Good Samaritan Community Services

    1. Once you receive an email that you qualify for the Honors Academy Program, we will send you information on your next steps.
    2. You will have an opportunity to learn more about our Program, complete your final admission requirements, and ask questions.
    3. Space is limited. Once Honors fall classes fill, you will have to wait until the next regular semester to officially join the program.

    Last Updated: 10/18/2021