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Engaged Scholars

Understanding the Program

What is it?

The Engaged Scholars Program encourages and supports participation in forms of academic development, active learning, and leadership development that extends beyond the traditional classroom. Engaged Scholars are recognized for completing a series of curricular and co-curricular experiences that expand these scholars’ educational foundation and connect their experiences to future goals.

What are the program benefits?

In addition to a scholarship of up to $2000 per year ($1000 per semester), each Engaged Scholar will create an educational and professional portfolio, which documents each student’s personal and professional journey. This portfolio will be developed through participation in a variety of academic, community, and university experiences. By successfully completing the program, Engaged Scholars enhance their employment opportunities, and distinguish themselves as competitive applicants for post-graduate studies. Additionally, these students will be awarded the distinction of graduating as a “University Engaged Scholar” and will be recognized at commencement. This award cannot be combined with other programmatic scholarships. Federal, state and Lenoir-Rhyne financial aid cannot be combined to exceed the cost of tuition.

Program Overview

Over the course of eight semesters, scholars complete at least six learning experiences with accompanying reflective essays. Additionally, scholars attend one seminar class each semester.

The six learning experiences are drawn from a possible eleven categories as follows:

  1. Independent Research, accompanied by a campus or community presentation or publication.
  2. Independent Creative Project, accompanied by a campus or community performance, presentation or publication.
  3. Service Learning
  4. Internship
  5. Study Abroad
  6. Off-Campus Community Learning and/or Research
  7. Peer Tutoring
  8. Co-Curricular Activity
  9. Co-Curricular Leadership
  10. Leadership Development
  11. Career Preparation
  • Each documented experience, along with the reflective essays, will be used to create a professional portfolio.
  • In the scholar's senior year, he/she submits a longer, more holistic essay examining the benefits and lessons learned from these special activities as they relate to his/her growth as an undergraduate student.
  • The Scholar defends their portfolio before the Engaged Scholars Committee in their final semester.
  • Continuation in the Engaged Scholars Program requires that each student meet all requirements semester-to-semester, based upon the program time table. In addition, students must maintain a 2.90 GPA in order to remain in the program.

How do I apply?

Incoming first-year students can compete for this award at the University’s invitation-only Scholarship Day. If spaces remain, incoming first-year students may apply to the program prior to their first fall semester through an online application process. First-year students already enrolled at the university may apply prior to their first spring semester.


Janet Painter

Janet Painter

Professor of Education, Director of Engaged Scholars Program
Hickory Campus