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 award, an 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 a SAC 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."
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
c. Problem solving
We accept applications year-round. Click on the application link below to apply
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:
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 alamo.edu/sac/allis-ozornia .
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!
DONATE TO THE HONORS ACADEMY
Every dollar donated goes directly to serve students.
Go online to giving.alamo.edu/sac
Or, make your check payable to Alamo Colleges Foundation. Write SAC Honors Academy in the memo line and mail it to
2222 N. Alamo St.
San Antonio, TX 78215
For questions, call 210-485-0044.
The SAC Honors Outstanding Alumni Award is given to an alumnus whose achievements in their profession or chosen field and/or in service to the community set a standard of excellence worthy of recognition. Nominees must have graduated from San Antonio College with SAC Honors Academy Distinction.
- A SAC Honors Graduate can nominate themselves for this award.
- All nominees will be asked to submit a personal biography (150-200 words) explaining how their experience in the Honors Academy influenced or inspired their chosen field or endeavor.
- All nominees will be asked to submit a recent headshot that will be used in publicizing the SAC Honors Academy.
- The SAC Honors Academy Outstanding Alumni awardee will be asked to sign a statement stating their willingness to participate in virtual and/or socially distant SAC Honors Academy recruiting projects that promote the program.
The deadline to submit for this year's recipient is Friday, April 15th.
Click on the link to apply or nominate someone. Or, scan the QR code below.
Because our Program is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), students in our Program can experience opportunities sponsored by the NCHC. One opportunity is to serve as a student leader on the NCHC Board. Another opportunity is to participate in summer Partners in the Park travel opportunities. Visit the Students page on the NCHC website for all the benefits of this membership for students in our Program.
Our current SOHAP President Robert Gasperson, AA in Political Science, is an NCHC Board of Directors Student Representative for 2022.
The Honors Academy learning environment facilitates, motivates and nurtures a drive for academic challenge through a sense of belonging.
Honors students receive personalized mentorship, experiential learning, undergraduate research, and Honors assignments similar to a four-year college/university experience for a fraction of the cost of attending such an institution.
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 with enhanced learning of course content.
- Honors Academy students who complete our Program at the Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels are recognized as a "SAC Honors Academy Graduate" at SAC Commencement and on their official transcripts.
- There is no cost to participate.
"The Honors Academy is full of friendly professors who instill confidence in their students and staff who are knowledgeable and helpful. A major perk is the Honors Center that provides a comfortable environment where we can study and relax before, after, or in between classes and meet other students. It is a convenient place to meet professors during office hours. My favorite part of the center is having access to a kitchen that makes staying on campus all day much more tolerable." – Samantha
“The Honors Academy classes are more engaging and the professors are more understanding and helpful. The fact that we also have an Honors Academy Lounge area on campus makes it easier to ask for help and meet like-minded peers.”-- Okhai
“The Honors Academy has been the best part of my academic and personal experience at SAC. I have taken classes with the most passionate, dedicated, and caring professors who creatively teach the course curriculum while promoting experiential learning and projects that build marketable skills. The program provides excellent one-on-one advising. My advisor helped me navigate my career options and degree plan that fit my life goals. She updated me on important events and registration deadlines. Workshops, field trips, and other activities also give us the opportunity to establish meaningful relationships. I am proud and grateful to be a part of the Honors Academy at SAC.”-- Carmen
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.
Students can meet and discuss their degree plan, transfer plan, academic progress and scholarship opportunities with academic advisors working closely with the Honors Academy.
Students who complete the SAC Honors Academy Program with distinction are eligible for automatic acceptance to Honors Colleges at the University of Texas at San Antonio, University of North Texas, and Texas State Honors College. (Pending agreement with Texas A & M San Antonio). Students still need to apply to the 4-year school through Apply Texas.
The University of Texas at San Antonio--Lydia Bueno, Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management and Student Life
Information on scholarships for transfer honors students.
UTSA Honors College website.
Texas State University--Dr. Heather Galloway, Dean Honors College
Information provided for transfer honors students.
Texas State application website for honors transfer students.
TSU Honors College website.
University of North Texas--Kelli Butler, Admissions Coordinator Honors College
Information on UNT scholarships.
UNT Honors College website.
The Honors Academy Center is open 8 am - 4 pm, Monday through Thursday for student use. Multiple Dell 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 BOOST 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.
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.
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 are hosted by the Honors Academy and held in the Center. These activities promote our goal to build our Academy community. Transfer / scholarship / financial aid workshops, health and wellness presentations, and guest speakers will be offered throughout the semester to support student success. In addition, volunteer opportunities are arranged to elevate student experiences. Most of these activities are scheduled on Wednesdays during the Boost sessions from 2:00-3:00 pm. For Silver and Gold levels of distinction, students must attend a specific number of designated activities.
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.
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.
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 teaching in the Program may schedule office hours in the Center throughout the week, based on safety protocols.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Honors Academy Program faculty schedule specific study sessions in the Center to support student learning.
Local and national authors / educators are brought into the Center for presentations as extended opportunities for thought and discussion of important issues.
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.
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.
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. https://www.aacu.org/sites/default/files/StepUpLeadEquity.pdf
Summer/Fall 2022 Honors Academy Class Schedule
Last updated 6/21/22
All course offerings are subject to change during the enrollment management period.
5-week Summer I
Summer Registration opens on March 21, 2022.
Fall Registration opens on April 11, 2022.
HIST 1302.086 Serafine
You can search the Course Schedule in ACES for Honors Courses.
Monday / Wednesday
Tuesday / Thursday
8:00 -9:15 AM
ENGL 1301.030 Davis
9:25 AM - 10:40 AM
HIST 1301.022 ross
PSYC 2301.014 Wallis
HUMA 1305.004 Bueno
ENGL 1301.176 Portales
10:00 - 10:25 AM
MATH 0114.004 Chavera
10:30 - 11:45 AM
MATH 1314 Chavera
10:50 AM - 12:05 PM
PSYC 2314.043 Wallis
SPCH 1321.010 Hunt
12:15- 1:30 PM
PHIL 2306.012 Herrick
SOCI 1301.032 Slonaker
|EDUC 1300.267 Bunch
SPCH 1315.068 Hunt
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
Academy students who submit an application with the Alamo Colleges Foundational Scholarship (see below) are eligible for two Honors Academy-specific scholarships: (1) Raul Murgia Presidential Honors Scholarship and (2) Robert Zeigler Presidential Honors Scholarship.
This is a partial list of additional scholarships we have identified.
- 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 two Honors Academy Program-related scholarships.
The Scholarship awards are for the Fall 2022, Spring 2023, and/or Summer 2023 semesters.Application Opens: Jan. 10, 2022
Application Closes: May 1, 2022http://www.alamo.edu/sac/scholarships/
- 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.
- UTSA Honors College Scholarships
- UT Transfer Scholarships
If you are in the process of transferring to UT Austin, complete a scholarship application.
- A&M Transfer Scholarships
If you are in the process of transferring to Texas A&M, College Station, complete a scholarship application.
- UNT Transfer Scholarships
- 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.
- Phi Theta Kappa Student Organization Transfer Scholarship
There are many scholarship options for PTK members.
Have questions? Ask Dr. Jim Lucchelli, faculty sponsor
- Café College
Many scholarships are identified on its webpage.
- San Antonio Area Foundation
More than 90 funds offer scholarships to students pursuing their educational dreams.
- MALDEF Scholarship Resource Guide
A useful resource, especially for DACA students.
Additional Scholarship Websites:
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.
Begin a new ApplyTX to initiate the transfer process.
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.
- Once you receive an email that you qualify for the Honors Academy Program, we will send you information on your next steps.
- You will have an opportunity to learn more about our Program, complete your final admission requirements, and ask questions.
- 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: 6/21/2022
Laurie Lopez Coleman, M.A.
Professor of English
Chance Academic Center 122
Phone: (210) 486-1100
Norma L. Ramirez
Certified Academic Advisor
Moody Learning Center Basement Level
Phone: (210) 486-0349
Chance Academic Center 122C
General SAC information is available to assist students at the Call Center (210-212-5266), LiveChat (In the bottom right-hand side on any SAC webpage), and Zoom room (https://alamo.zoom.us/j/96204747346).